Does anyone else find it difficult to blog about work? For me, it’s not for lack of things to write about or lack of interest in what I am working on. It has more to do with the fact that the excitement I feel for the projects I’m working on, the people I work with and the growth I’ve seen in my department doesn’t translate well in writing. At least not for me and my writing style. Maybe I need to take a writing course? Maybe I need to find my voice in blogging? Maybe I just need to get on with it?
As is true for many of us, the things that interest or occupy us at work bleed into our lives at home and vice versa, whether or not we want them to. Personally, I find that some, but not all of the things I am focused on at work have a place in my life at home.
Below is a list of things I am creating, reading, watching, wanting and learning both at work and at home. I hope you enjoy!
I recently finished work on a donor request for slides from the Morris and Dorothy Margolin film collection. Right now I am digitizing the Duke Gardens Accession Cards , a planting card catalog from the Sarah P. Duke Gardens records collection. These particular requests are not for public consumption but support curatorial research at Duke. The Digital Production Center fulfills many requests of this nature that never show up on the Digital Collections website but are none the less interesting and useful.
At home I create digital content of my own using similar cameras, lights and software. I really enjoy studio shooting because I can control the lighting environment to suit my needs. My training as a photographer has translated well to my work at Duke. I have also applied things I use at work to my photography at home such as managing larger numbers of files and working in a calibrated environment.
Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Cultural Heritage Materials: Creation of Raster Image Master Files written by the Federal Agencies Digitization Initiative (FADGI) – Still Image Working Group. This standard outlines digital imaging standards related to DPI, bit depth and color profiles and is an updated version of the NARA Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials which the Digital Production Center has been following since its creation. Exciting reading!
At home I’m reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. A complex book about the happenings of the gold rush town of Hokitika, in the southwest of New Zealand circa 1866 where a crime has just been committed. Super long (848 pages) but worth the read.
Color Management and Quality Output by Tom Ashe. This webinar is offered by Xrite, a leader in professional grade color profiling hardware and software. As described in a previous blog post, color management is a critical part of the work we do in the Digital Production Center.
At home I just watched Tiny, a documentary on the Tiny House movement that chronicles the building of a tiny house. These houses range from 60 – 100 square feet and are usually built on trailers to avoid problems with state ordinances that require an in ground home be no less than 600 square feet. Whoa!
A DT RG3040 Reprographic System by Phase One. This model has a foot operated book cradle with a 90 degree platen and two P65 R-cams that shoot opposing pages simultaneously. This would really speed up and simplify digitization of fragile bound volumes that can only be opened 90 degrees during digitization. I would also take an oversize map scanner.
At home I really I want to setup a traditional wet darkroom, but we do not have the space. I’m thinking about building a single car garage just to accommodate a darkroom but will probably have to settle for setting up in the bathroom.
The Python programming language. I have completed a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) through Coursera and am now in the middle of my second course. While I haven’t built anything (at work) from scratch yet, I have been able to troubleshoot a few broken scripts and get them up and running again. The Digital Production Center is, as the name states, a production environment that lends itself to automation. While taking these classes I have developed many ideas on how to automate parts of our workflow and I am excited to start programming.
At home I continue to learn the Python programming language. The more I learn about Python the more I want to learn. While learning has been frustrating at times it has also been rewarding when I finally develop a solution that works. The IT staff in the Library has also been very supportive which keeps me moving forward when I get stuck on a problem that takes some time to figure out.
When I started putting this post together I didn’t realize it was about work/life balance but I believe that is what it became. It seems my work/life balance is a very fluid thing. I feel lucky to work at a place where my personal interests dovetail nicely with my work interest. While this is not always the case, most of the time I enjoy coming to work and I also enjoy going home at the end of the day.
BACK TO SCHOOL SPECIAL!
This week find out what Jim’s superpower would be and David’s love of his life is plus lots more! We hope you enjoy reading our blog.
Information Technology Services
Duke University Libraries
Meet our staff
Digital Repository Services
Digital Repository Services provides software and services to support the preservation, management, and dissemination of Duke’s digital assets.
Name: Jim Tuttle
Position: Head, Digital Repository Services
Years at Duke: 4
What I do at Duke: I’m the Head of Digital Repository Services. We work on providing the tools others need to preserve, manage, and allow access to our digital assets. That means I spend a lot of time staring at Outlook, which isn’t so bad. I mean, have you ever used Groupwise?!
If I had $5 million, I would: Feel extremely guilty, which would make my mother proud.
My first ever job: I grew up in rural West Central Illinois where opportunities are, um, limited. So, I picked strawberries, detasseled corn, and other agriculture duties as assigned. This is one of the reasons I paid so much attention in college.
My dream job: I’m not sure I dream about work.
If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about:Well, you could ask me how awesome my kid is. (Pretty awesome, as it happens.) Or, privacy in the digital age, Middle East politics, Magnum PI, digital preservation of personal stuff (you do backup offsite, right?), Hawai’i (where I lived for several years), Central America, Illinois, single malt whisky, Karate, or work, if necessary.
The best advice I ever received: Don’t worry, be happy. Or anything from that sunscreen song.
What I love about Duke: I love that a fox runs by our suite windows now and again. I love that Duke is family friendly. I love the campus in spring when everything is just green and exploding with life. I love that I work with smart, funny, dedicated people. Honestly, I love everything but my parking lot. Anyone want to sell an Allen Lot permit?
When I’m not at work, I like to: I adore spending time with my 5 year old son. I do like to make time, however, to make silly and sometimes completely fabricated status updates on social media in hopes that the noise will disrupt the signal and, perhaps, someone might get a laugh. Laughing seems pretty important.
If I could have one superpower, it would be: Time travel. I’d love to save every day like a treasure with my son just to enjoy them again. Also, I’d prevent the abomination that was the Star Wars Prequel (Arggh!) Trilogy and forever erase Jar Jar Binks, shameless ploy at marketing toys to children. I mean, I played with rocks and sticks and snakes and I turned out alright. Mostly.
Something most people don’t know about me: I can’t prevent myself from joking. Well, most people probably already know that but others may just think I’m a little off. I guess both could be true.
A unique thing in my office: I am known locally as The Enforcer. When one enters the ITS suite in the morning I’m likely to be found standing outside my cube directly down the hall from the door looking (I’m told) imposing. At 5’6”, imposing is pretty hard to pull off so I usually have to take a short break after.
An interesting/memorable day at work for me: My days are usually interesting. I like problem solving and am fortuitously awash with problems.
Name: David Chandek-Stark
Position: Digital Repository Developer
Years at Duke: 24
What I do at Duke: Develop and support digital repository services for the Library.
If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: My kids
My wife and I had twins (girl and boy) a year ago, so life is very different now. J Being a parent is joyous, rewarding, educational – and exhausting! When I’m not busy with Grace and Patrick, I like listening to and playing music, gardening, photography, sleeping … zzz!
Name: Jim Coble
Position: Digital Repository Developer
Years at Duke: 29
What I do at Duke:I develop applications that enable access to and management of the items in the library’s digital preservation repository. I also provide technical support for the library’s DukeSpace application.
My first ever job: Bagging groceries at my home town supermarket.
If someone wanted to start a conversation with me they should ask me about: Flying
What I love about Duke: I’ve been working in library IT here at Duke for 29 years and have been able periodically re-invent my role so that I’ve always had new and interesting things to work on, as well as smart and supportive colleagues to work with.
When I’m not at work, I like to: Fly. I’m a private pilot and enjoy boring holes in the sky around central North Carolina as well as taking trips with my wife to visit her family in Florida.
If I could have one superpower, it would be: Flying (without the need of an airplane), what else?
A Movie I like: A Million Ways to Die in the West (I’m embarrassed to admit)
Something most people don’t know about me: While in high school, I served as an in-studio announcer and roving reporter for a local educational TV program titled “Mathematics in the News.” I remember doing a story at a local Mazda dealership about Wankel rotary engines.
A unique thing in my office: A copy of Volume 1, Number 1, of Duke University Libraries magazine from Fall 1987 featuring a photograph of the entire staff of Library Systems (all three of us) on its cover.
An interesting/memorable day at work for me: Winning the first Florence Blakely Award in 1995. At the time, the names of the nominees were not released in advance and I remember being stunned speechless when I was announced as the winner.
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