Zine Union Catalog Planning Project Proposal for ITP Core II

Zines – self­-published literature that often features countercultural, political, and artistic content – are a primary resource for humanities scholars and others. Due to diverse standards and practices among zine libraries, archives, and community organizations that collect and maintain them, there is no easy one-search for zines, making it challenging for researchers to find all of the zines available in their subject area.

Since September 2014, the Zine Union Catalog (ZUC) planning team, a nationally­ distributed group of zine librarians, metadata specialists, and web developers, has held regular virtual meetings and undertaken preparatory work for the development of a an online platform that aims to be a fully inclusive metadata aggregation and discovery interface to enhance free access to information about zine holdings across the United States.

In the spring of 2017 a quartet of students in a digital praxis class at the CUNY Graduate Center built a catalog prototype with limited fields from sample records from three zine libraries, thereby laying the foundation for this project. Before further implementation can proceed, we need to more thoroughly scope and articulate the development of the ZUC. The team, currently comprised of Jenna Freedman and Lauren Kehoe both students in ITP Core II, would like to continue to identify, and apply for, various grant opportunities including, but not limited to an ITP micro-grant (due to Julie Fuller March 1), a Provost’s Digital Innovation Grant, a NYCDH grant, and a NEH Digital Humanities Advancement Grant.

Jenna and Lauren hope to use their time in ITP Core II to not only identify and apply for grants, but to articulate the ZUC project vision and organizational structure, develop a timeline for project growth and phase rollouts in addition to further developing relationships with stakeholders, identify and select tools to continue development of the ZUC prototype, and develop workflows and policies that ensure the sustainability of the ZUC.

More considerations:

  • Set up our schedules to meet regularly throughout the semester (Saturdays?)
  • Maintaining the zinecat website, social media, (follow us here too), email account
  • Project management tools (Slack, Google Docs),
  • Budget,
  • GC Project Advisor for NEH Grant,
  • In person and virtual summits with zine librarians, researchers, and creators,
  • MA in DH transfer

LK Personal Goals: continue to work on Collective Access proficiency, programming, mapping, data mining and cleanup, metadata standardization, work out how libraries can contribute to ZUC, Zine UnConference attendance July, outreach / promotion on social media.

JF Personal goals: increase Collective Access proficiency and all of the metadata and data hygiene issues on Lauren’s list. I also hope to focus on project management–breaking the project down into modules, that may or may not be sequential, and perhaps can be shared out to the wider zine union catalog development team.

Thoughts on working collaboratively: we have a demonstrated ability to collaborate through our previous work on the ZUC project. As we’ve moved through our graduate program together, we’ve maintained a commitment to the development of this project and are excited by the opportunity to use our time in ITP Core II to this end. As librarians, we are both aware of the positive effects collaboration has on the work.

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