Thursday, October 02, 2014
That Takes Ovaries: Bold Females and Their Brazen Acts book jacket, 2004. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryThat Takes Ovaries: Bold Females and Their Brazen Acts book jacket, 2004. Courtesy of Schlesinger Library

That Takes Ovaries: Bold Women and Their Brazen Acts, founded by Rivka Solomon in 2002, is a book, a play, an "open-mic" movement, and a nonprofit organization dedicated to issues of women’s equality and empowerment. This relatively small collection consists primarily of materials generated to promote That Takes Ovaries events, including programs, posters, flyers, and reviews. It also contains significant amounts of news clippings, as well as correspondence, notes, and photographs.

Golden Ovary Award, 2004. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryGolden Ovary Award, 2004. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryAfter the book was published in 2002, Solomon and Bobbi Ausubel produced a play with two versions; one for adults and one for teens. The open-mic nights proved to be the most popular incarnation, however, with over 500 events held around the world. The open-mic format consists of readings from the book, followed by participants sharing their personal stories; every person who participated received the Golden Ovary Award.

That Takes Ovaries open mic night flyer, 2006. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryThat Takes Ovaries open mic night flyer, 2006. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryThis collection was processed by one of the Experimental Archives Team's project assistants, Jaimie Fritz, by using a direct-to-digital approach. We wanted to recreate the experience of traditional arrangement and description with digital alternatives (tagging) to allow for richer, more multifaceted searching and browsing. As we prepared to digitize this collection, we knew that we wanted to take a very hands-off approach with the initial processing steps. Given that the collection was relatively small but contained a wide variety of materials and subjects, it seemed like an ideal candidate for experimentation. Our goal was to take the unprocessed collection and completely digitize it without stopping to impose any organizational system or collect any metadata.

That Takes Ovaries flyer. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryThat Takes Ovaries flyer. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryAll items in the collection were photographed with no order imposed, and then digitally sorted into rough series and subseries using desktop folders. Once sorted, series or sets were uploaded as a new collection page within the Experimental Archives page in Flickr and tagged with relevant metadata and subject headings using a self-designed controlled vocabulary. Physical sorting was replaced with digital imaging and folder reorganization, while metadata and container lists were replaced with Flickr sets and tags. The collection was arranged into series by format, such as event materials, press clippings, correspondence, etc., with subseries appearing as nested folders.

That Takes Ovaries play flyer. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryThat Takes Ovaries play flyer. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryDelivery, which is currently via the use of Flickr, involved simply uploading the content we had already photographed and edited, and using Flickr’s batch editing tools to sort content into sets and tag images with relevant metadata. Sets can be browsed individually, and all images are available at multiple resolutions. In all, we found Flickr to be an extremely useful tool in facilitating quick, simple access to digital collections. Working with a site that is so widely used, and whose structure is becoming ubiquitous for digital presentation of images, also allowed us to capitalize on user familiarity. While many less-seasoned researchers have difficulty navigating traditional archival descriptive aids, Flickr’s interface is relatively familiar to the average internet user.

Screen capture of Flickr geo-tagging, December 2013. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryScreen capture of Flickr geo-tagging, December 2013. Courtesy of Schlesinger LibraryWe were also able to utilize Flickr’s mapping feature, which presents tagged items from the collection on a searchable map, showing users the global impact of That Takes Ovaries. Tags can be searched using a typed query, or by clicking on one of the tags on an image in the collection.

Our team continues to brainstorm about how to protect and deliver our content in the future. Having high-quality image files in multiple formats provides security and ensures that we will be able to move our content to different platforms in the future. The collection can be found at http://hollis.harvard.edu/?itemid=|library/m/aleph|012731135.

 

Author: 
By Catherine Lea Holbrook