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A Dilemma?

In the last post we mentioned that we do not have the resources and equipment to be able to digitize the tapes in our vault (for preservation).  A Dilemma… of finding a business to outsources the tapes to who will correctly convert for later digitization.

Over the past few weeks, I have been researching different companies to transfer our enormous amount of cassette tapes (1, 583 to be exact) to CD. In my research I have found that this is quite a costly process. With that in mind, the team has decided to send out fifteen tapes (five to each of the three companies selected) to review the playback quality of the transfers. Most of the tapes in this collection are considerably aged but important for historical documentation. There might be issues with the tapes sticking and possibly breaking.

After the quality review, the final decision will be made on which company will get the whole collection to transfer for the Tribe. We tried to keep the companies local, and two out of the three selected are. We got some help from Troy Reeves who is head of the Oral History Program within Archives & Records Management Services at the Steenbock Memorial Library located at UW Madison. We were also considering purchasing a cassette combo deck to do the job ourselves, but that does not seem to be a cost effective option at this time.



Our Digitiaztion Project happens to include more then just boxes documents,

maps,  and photos.

One of the other media we are working with includes cassette tapes.

We do not have the resources and equipment to be able to digitize the tapes on our own. Measure to taken to for the tapes are strictly for preservation measures.

Jessica is currently in the process of finding a business to outsources the tapes

to correctly convert for later digitization.

For now, Amy created a database for inital information for records

including what might be on the tape and the year.

We are also using the database to inventory and for future cataloging of the tapes.

In the first box that I inventoried, there was little of interest,

until I reached the final file.

I opened the file, with thoughts of doubt that it might contain anything of value, when, alas, PICTURES!

Exhilarated by the feeling of finding a treasure, I put on my cute little white gloves and slowly inspected each of the photos up close. My wonder at where the photos originated was fleeting, as along with the photos, was a letter from the photographer, Steven L. Raymer, of National Geographic!

The photos were black and white proofs of pictures which were used in an

article of National Geographic in 1974.

They are beautiful depictions of the Menominee people, showing the soul and character of the Menominee Reservation. Unsure of how to proceed, as I am learning as I go here on our project, I brought the pictures to my supervisor, Monique, and the response I received brought on even more excitement.

She said that we had copies of that issue of the magazine in which the pictures were used. The puzzle was complete.

The National Geographic published in August 1974 (Vol. 146, No 2) is where some of the pictures can be located in the article “Wisconsin’s Menominees:  Indians on a Seesaw” by Patricia Raymer.

An excerpt from a section within the article:

“Freedom” Take Its Toll

Lured by the promise of independence, the Menominees had surrendered their official status as Indians, and since 1961 had been struggling to survive without the economic support of the Federal Government.  Now, deep in poverty, their culture eroding, they were fighting for a return to their old status.  Neither they nor I realized last August that victory was only months away.



During an emergency, the team has to be on their game when it comes to making sure the essential documents are quickly moved to saftey if needed.  In that reguard we had to figure out which sort of documents were more essential to our particualar archive.

Priority 1: Within the first 12 hours

  • Maps
  • Photos
  • Laws
  • Ordinances

Priority 2: First 12-72 hours

  • Databases
  • Equipment
  • Manuals

Priority 3: After 72 hours

  • Essential records needed to function off site
  • Records for long term recovery

Continuity of Operations Plan – (COOP)

Our COOP plan consists of an emergency hierarchy of who to contact in case of a disastrous event.

Spring is upon us and with the melting of snow we had to quickly assert ourselves when a surprise leak showed up in our laboratory.  Thankfully none of our essential documents were in immediate danger.  However, our preparedness from the training had our supervisors and maintenance contacted within minutes.  The leak lasted for about 10 minutes, thank our lucky stars, and it was quickly cleaned up.  The following day staff assessed the reason for the small leak and contractors were called in to amend it.

This job is not one that is to be taken lightly.  We know we have a responsibility on our hands when it comes to the history of the Menominee People.

Webinars are just one specific way we have utilized  outside programs to help equip us with more skills.

On-line training consisted of Essential Records Webinar, as well as, Records Emergency Planning and Response Training.

The webinar, hosted by FEMA and the US Department of Homeland Security, lasted for two hours on every Wednesday in February and March. During which we would discuss and learn about various topics concerning the importance of essential documents, creating emergency plans in case of disaster, and guidelines to keep consistent operations within the archive.

The Chieftones

During our initial searches for documents, photos, and maps for our digitization project we came across a unique program from 1969.

The program was for “Lakes of the Menominees Day” which happened at Legend Lake.

Picture from the Brochure.

The brochure lists the event line up for the day.

One of the events  included a concert by The Chieftones.

Since we found the brochure our team has had the Cheiftones on the brain.

Luck would have it that we were able to acquire a record of the above band.

How wonderful!

Monique has a record converter and we were able to put the music on to itunes.

Here is a YouTube video for your enjoyment.

However, we by any means are not saying the music is good or not.  Just sharing.

Amy’s Desk

On Tuesday, April 26th, a shipment of tables and desks that had been ordered arrived.

It only seemed like it took forever!

For sometime, we worked in the vault while we paged through boxes looking for Ordinances and Laws.

Sitting across the wall looking through hundred’s of papers while talking about our lives made the hours move quickly.

Once that task was complete we moved ourselves back into the laboratory work space.

Here Amy can be found at a drawer-less desk.  Ah, quandries.

A desk was ordered for her, which has now come in!

Here is Amy’s new workspace!





Currently in our archives we have a contact sheet of photos.  We are looking for away to blow up the small images without loosing resolution or distorting the picture.

Test 1

We have been working with several contacts at the Wisconsin Historical Society to try and find away around this problem.  One suggestion was adjust the lightness and/or darkness.

In trying to scan them in this way we could not get the images in a high enough resolution, enlarge them enough to be clearly visible without loss of detail.

Our next step was scanning the contact sheet into a TIFF file.  It was cropped down to just one image from the contact sheet in Adobe Photoshop.  The single image was 848 x 896 pixels which was increased to 3000 x 3170 pixels.

Andy Kraushaar, Curator of Special Materials at the Wisconsin Historical Society says that contact sheets are difficult to get good scans of.  He suggests that we could get a good quality scan if we have sent out to be scanned at over 4000 ppi or above.

Emily Pfotenhauer, WHO contact, also suggested to use cardboard to block of areas so only a section would be selected, one image.

Test 4

The scanner in our lab was refusing to scan TIFF in grayscale.  Scanning a single image from the contact sheet at 600 dpi it was then saved in TIFF in Adobe Photoshop.  It appears to have helped compared to the prior test image.

1.  Pull a box from the original vault location.
2.  Enter receiving slip information in MITW files inventory spreadsheet.

3.  Pull file folder from box & determine if refoldering is needed.

4.  Look through document & remove rusted staples & paperclips.  Replace document in paper files if anything was removed.

5.  Determine the author & summary of the majority of the documents in the file folder & enter information into spreadsheet.

6.  Decide if any document should be digitized.  Tab any documents selected for digitization.  In spreadsheet, enter the number of document selected, the titles, & justification.

7.  Any information should be changed in spreadsheet to reflect what is actually in box if it differs from what is noted on receiving slip.

8.  Separate reviewed files into new boxes.  Place original receiving slip on box & label.

9.  Replace box in new bay location in vault.  Note new vault location on spreadsheet.