Digital Story Archiving

VISTA Name: 
Patrick Castrenze
Program Start: 
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Project Description: 

CDS has on archive over 6000 digital stories, the largest archive of digital stories in the world representing 16 years of work, and we continue to capture as a national/international organization more than 800 stories per year. The archival system has evolved slowly over the last decade, we can identify the location of the vast majority of stories by the workshop name and date, but we lack a robust system of managing the stories based on meta-data tags and client name. To secure the archive for future generations we need to maintain a robust system, and enhance its capabilities. The capacity to fully integrate effective archival practices into all of our workshops and post-production processes is an invaluable contribution to the field.

We are seeking a CTCVISTA member to help develop our Archive and Post Production Technical Support systems. This work would include:
Reviewing existing archive project and systems, research comparable systems in other organizations: enhancing and developing database systems for our movie archive; enhancing and developing post-production systems for managing participant data, update materials for post production process and software tutorials, DVD and Website templates for publication; developing model research/curatorial projects for each initiative process using archive as basis for examining relevant issues in connection to poverty.

The CTC Vista will work with the Supervisor/Technical Director to further develop and enhance two major systems of our organization, the CDS story archive and CDS Post-Production system

The tasks will include:
1. Review existing archive project and systems, research comparable systems in other organizations
2. Enhance and develop database systems for our movie archive.
3. Enhance and develop post-production systems for managing participant data
4. Develop model research/curatorial projects for each initiative process using archive as basis for examining relevant issues in connection to poverty.

Project Outcome: 

Principal Task: Archive.
Accomplishments: Research best/appropriate RAID system for CDS archive of story data. Arranged for purchase of system. Migrated data onto new system. Met all deadlines. Research and purchasing assistance from Apple Certified Support Professional, Clinton Gilbert. Migration assistance from Jennifer Nazzal, CDS Post Production Supervisor. Needs analysis and design of custom organizational system to accommodate over 8TB of story data covering over 10 years of various types of Digital Storytelling workshops and projects conducted around the world. Set-up, installation and troubleshooting of dedicated computer station to operate the RAID. Review and organization of over 8TB of story data into custom system. Collection and integration of additional data from 4 Field office staff members. Creation of record of files for review purposes. Creation of multi-chapter guide for institutional use of the RAID system and data management. Training of staff and interns for continuation of RAID maintenance. Archive intern selection and management overseeing data entry by archive interns during May-July.

Additional Archive Task: CDS Online Story Theater.
Accomplishments: Organized existing data and back-end of Theater. Compiled new submission form for CDS Staff to submit entries to Theater. Compiled new stories and associated data and added to Theater. Participated in promoting new stories in CDS quarterly newsletter. Creation of mulit-chapter guide for institutional use of the Online Story Theater platform and back-end data management. Training of staff and interns for continuation of Story Theater.

Patrick also undertook a complete proof-reading of our book entitled Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community. This task included revisions on nearly every page of the book as well as considerable copy-editing of our new revised curriculum chapter: The Seven Steps of Digital Storytelling.

eLearning Project Developer

VISTA Name: 
Colin Pizarek
Program Start: 
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Project Description: 

The VISTA will develop and manage Idealware’s eLearning Training Initiative. The eLearning Training Initiative will help Idealware to transform their current on-line training programs into an on-demand training library which takes advantage of current eLearning best practices. The VISTA will work with the Idealware team to define an eLearning strategy to deliver training to help non-profits choose software. They will then package curriculum materials that Idealware has already developed to be optimally viewed as screencasts, software demos and more, as well as create new modules to fill content gaps and expand Idealware’s scope of offerings. The VISTA will also work with staff and consultants to develop the technology to appropriately sell packages and individual online trainings, help to facilitate and administrate Idealware’s current live training, and train Idealware staff in the skills to continue to maintain the training library and create new vidoes after the VISTA term expires.

Project Outcome: 

Colin fulfilled much of the work towards our eLearning initiative. He began with preliminary research to survey the scope of the field of eLearning, and provided recommendations for Idealware’s approach. He then co-authored an article based on this research which outlined several eLearning styles and their possible applications for nonprofit organizations. Colin developed potential sales models for the eLearning course library, and created pilot courses to test the concept. This involved developing the curriculum, writing the scripts, interviewing other organizations for content, and producing and designing the visuals. After launching the courses, he conducted a feedback survey to gauge reaction to the courses and test their viability as a business model for Idealware.

As a result of the shift in eLearning’s role at Idealware, Colin took on the development of six software demonstration videos that evaluate donor management systems. These have been commissioned by the Pew Foundation to support a live training session. They will help nonprofit organizations make a more informed decision when choosing a donor management software system. Colin has also headed a research project that tests the effectiveness of broadcast email software in avoiding spam filters. He has been responsible for desiging the research, implementing the process, and reporting the results. Colin has supported Idealware in many other ways. He has provided diagrams and visualizations to our online trainings. He has also worked on diagrams to be published in the NTEN Journal, and taken staff photographs for our website. He also sometimes brings cake to the office.

The results of our feedback survey for the eLearning courses revealed that our plan to deploy eLearning as a revenue-generating product would not be as successful as we would have liked. While the media content created by Colin was valuable, this particular format would not be a sustainable enterprise. We decided to shift the role of media content to support our live training seminars.

Having Colin on staff has enabled our organization to expand the types of training we can offer. He will be creating courses that document his processes and enable others to pick up where he leaves off.

Impact Quote: 

We’re disappointed that the VISTA program will no longer be supported. Colin is a valuable member of our staff and we would have liked to have had another VISTA.”

- Andrea Berry, supervisor

Outreach & DIY Media Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Tiffany Otoya
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Raise the visibility and capacity of the DISKovery Center in Little Tokyo and to help launch DIY Media (Digital Institute for Youth Media) and other youth technology classes at the Angelina Apartments.

Project Outcome: 

Since arriving, Tiffany has worked to recruit new volunteers for the DISKovery Center and has created a Volunteer Packet, which we give to all potential volunteers. The packet includes information about DISKovery, a volunteer registration form, information about the Little Tokyo community, and a list of possible volunteer positions. Additionally, she has created several fliers for various DISKovery Center classes and events. When we launched DIY Media in February, Tiffany outreached to dozens of Los Angeles high schools, churches, and communities centers to find students for our class. She has also worked with her supervisor Gena Hamamoto and our other VISTA, Melissa Niiya, in developing a curriculum for our documentary filmmaking class. Tiffany is currently developing curriculum for a Digital Photography class and a Photoshop class which will be taught for youth at our Angelina Apartments in June/ July.

She greatly increased the visibility of our social media presence and recruited a committed volunteer who has developed an ongoing social media plan for us and will continue to maintain our pages once Tiffany leaves. She has also participated in the effort to revamp our Diskovery website. Both the website and social media plan will be critical to raising our visibility and bringing new populations of seniors and youth to our programs, and Tiffany was key to getting both of these processes off the ground.

One of our original objectives was for Tiffany to implement a volunteer-run public access program, where DISKovery members could use our computer lab at certain scheduled hours and volunteers would be available to assist them, if needed. However, we quickly realized that even though it would be volunteer run, we would still need staff members at DISKovery to watch over the lab and open/close it. We do not currently have enough staff members to do this, or to help train and guide our regular volunteers. Although we have had to reexamine this goal, we are still working on building a more sustainable public access and volunteer program.

Curricula Development and Program Building

VISTA Name: 
Molly Higgins
Program Start: 
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Project Description: 

While being involved with some of CAPAY’s youth/community/media programming plans, our proposed 2009-2010 VISTA member, will primarily be responsible for enhancing CAPAY’s current and future organizational capacity

Goal 1: Activate and mobilize CAPAY’s alumni network to provide increased/ongoing resources
Goal 2: Using Web 2.0 tools to support and streamline organizational communications, mapping of organizational assets (including alumni networking), and outreach/promotion.
Goal 3: Initiate and nurture long-term organizational partnerships in addition to shorter-term project-based collaborations.
Goal 4: Develop assessment and reflection tools with which to document short-and long-term impact of CAPAY program and project participation on youth participants, community members/organizations, and CAPAY alumni
Goal 5: Expand CAPAY’s financial base, including earned income, donations, and grant development.

Molly’s main role in the 2010-2011 service year will be to collect and organize pre-existing content, produce some original content, and produce/package training materials for staff and volunteers to take over the project. This includes archiving CAPAY’s collections of resources and workshops and digitizing them for the CAPAY website and also developing a training curricula that could potentially be used as a revenue stream for CAPAY in the future. The VISTA will also partake in fundraising and grant writing for the program.

Project Outcome: 

Molly was successful in implementing Web 2.0 tools to support and streamline organizational communications. She took over the management of CAPAY’s communications, including CAPAY’s Facebooks and listserve. She worked closely with the CAPAY coordinator Tri Quach to integrate Web 2.0 tools into the new CAPAY website. This includes the development of CAPAY’s media portal, designed to gather Asian American media such as digital stories, blogs, and artist websites (including original CAPAY content). She also worked with one of the CAPAY youth to develop a city-wide blog for youth organizing. Molly made progress in initiating and nurturing long and short term partnerships with other organizations. This includes the promotional video she made with other UMass Boston students for MASAE, a local basketball team. She successfully planned and administered all of the CAPAY YouthLearn internships at other organizations, including UMass Boston’s Asian American Studies Program, BCNC, AACA, ATASK, AFH, and Close to Home. Molly re-established connections with CAPAY alumni, the Alumni Network, which has been meeting actively since June to develop fundraising initiatives and to provide planning assistance and support for the November 2010 CAPAY youth symposium. Molly developed several grant proposals that are pending review.

Molly’s organizing and facilitation with these other Asian American youth programs led to the creation of a Steering Committee (SC) representing the Asian American Civic Association’s Youth Center, the Asian Community Development Corporation’s A-VOYCE, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center’s YouLead, and the Chinese Progressive Association’s Chinese Youth Initiative, along with CAPAY. This is an unprecedented accomplishment in terms of Boston Asian American community youth capacity-building and provides an organizational framework to foster programmatic collaboration and coordination, shared research and advocacy, and joint grant submissions.

Thanks to Molly’s efforts in her second year of service, CAPAY was able to generate several new funding proposals to sources that had not been approached in the past; some are still pending; some are interested in further discussion and the potential for future support. With Molly’s help, CAPAY’s Asian American Studies history curriculum and youth video training program are well established; the CAPAY Filmposium established a precedent for showcasing local Asian American youth media during Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (annually in May), which can continue and expand in future years. Finally, CAPAY’s leadership in the regional coalition (Steering Committee) of Asian American youth organizations/programs is well-established.

Impact Quote: 

CAPAY thanks Molly for all her support. What a great contribution she has made to the field.”

- Peter Kiang, Supervisor

Archiving Local History Online

VISTA Name: 
Nora Lollar
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

The broad goal of Nora’s VISTA assignment was to develop local historical content for our online community history archive “Inland Northwest Memories” (, to link the Memories project to other TINCAN community efforts, and to create a base of volunteers to collect information and maintain the site. Nora has taken a somewhat moribund project, where the site/database had been created but content was not being entered, and created a vibrant resource that captures local history.

Project Outcome: 

The first focus for the site was to capture the history of World War II veterans because they are subject of a great deal of local interest and are quickly passing away. TINCAN is a contributing member of the Library of Congress Veterans’ History project. Nora’s accomplishments on the veteran’s aspect of the project include:

• Collecting, transcribing, and uploading (with volunteer assistance) 25 WWII veterans’ and civilians’ oral histories. Several WWI veterans have been identified as well.
• Scanning hundreds of photos from WWII, often from veterans’ scrapbooks, and photographing memorabilia, including medals and souvenirs brought back from the various locations in which the veterans were stationed.
• Reorganizing the handful of veteran’s histories and photos that were online, which included creating consistent archiving processes for the materials, correcting annotations, and in some cases, re-contacting the veteran or civilian to check data.
• Developing a cadre of 30 volunteers, primarily from Gonzaga University, to carry out interviews and scan photos.
• Putting on events to bring attention to veterans’ history. Perhaps the most memorable was a gathering on Veteran’s Day at a neighborhood coffee house, where veterans of all wars were invited to come, bring materials to be scanned, and make appointments for oral histories. The café owner loaned the back room to set up computers and scanners, and a local grocery store provided a large cake decorated like an American flag.

The next focus of the project was to engage local historical organizations in uploading historical materials to the Memories site. Nora’s accomplishments to date are:

• Identifying local museums and historical associations in the Inland Northwest. Four organizations are now actively working with the project.
• Working with the Valley Museum, a small community museum, that is planning to upload documents and photographs to the site. Working with a local school, they will develop an exhibit on the founders of the Valley community, and upload the materials to the site as well as having an exhibit.
• Working with the Hillyard Museum, which does not yet have a physical location, to explore putting materials online as a means of raising interest in the development of their neighborhood museum.
• Working with the local Railroad Society to consider putting their extensive collection of materials online. We will also look for a means of collecting railroad-related oral histories, since the railroads were pivotal in Spokane’s settlement and development.
• Scanning and documenting materials for the Masonic Temple, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
• Helping to develop a rationale for organizations to put their materials online. For example, since every item in the Memories archive contains the URL of the contributing organization (if available), viewers of online materials may select the contributor’s web site for further information, and perhaps donations.
• Beginning to develop formal training materials for volunteers to put materials online. Formal training procedures for uploading and using the archiving tool will greatly streamline the process, and take the burden off staff trying to develop a full and interesting site. The project also has goals that include working with K-12 schools and TINCAN’s other projects to make use of the Memories site. Accomplishments to date include:
• Assisting teachers who took prior oral history workshops in uploading student interviews and other veteran’s memorabilia.
• Developing a project with a local K-8 school to work with the Valley museum on an exhibit.
• Planning a summer teacher workshop for summer 2005.
• Developing a proposal with the Garland neighborhood to engage at risk teens in TINCAN’s Virtual Online Teen Center in a project that will use oral histories to create the basis for business district murals and a video project.

Transmission Project