Jacob Spitz Button Museum Internship: Week 10

Research Techniques

This week I did a button called “ Coca Cola Best Value”. It was one of the first times, if not the first time I was able to obtain information by linking from Google images. It was also the first time I used a wiki as a source. Today I did an interesting Button known as “Classics in Context. The aforementioned Button commemorated a festival sponsored by the Brown-Forman company invovlinvig theater based on literature, and videos, lectures, and panel discussion based on the political, historical, and social factors that influenced the writing of the piece of literature or play script. I also used playbill for the first time, as the venue for the play is a theater in Louisville Kentucky known as the Actors Theater. The theater is know for an annual event known as the Human festival which has debuted many successful plays over the years.

Cataloging Input and Evaluation of Information Quality

This week I also added a subcategory on my own without copying it from the database for I believe the very first time. The Button in question with regard to cataloging was an advertisement for a coffee company called Brim. I had seen that one of the subcategories in the database and spreadsheet was called food.Since it involved a beverage company, I added it to the  food subcategory.

Digital Exhibit

This week the Button Museum website was supposed to be upgraded to a newer addition of Drupal. Then, The site supervisor, Christy Karpinski, was supposed to add a Drupal module that would allow the display of my exhibit on Wednesday, albeit in the form of an article and not a web-base PowerPoint style presentation. However, since the person who the Button Museum had contracted with did not do the upgrade  and migrate the information on the website on Monday as planned, my presentation will have to wait to be put on the web until this weekend at the earliest.

Button Museum Internship: Summary of activities accomplished over the last three weeks

Digital Exhibit

Over the course of the last several weeks, I have gotten feedback on my article for a space exhibit on the Button Museum website. What my site supervisor is probably going to do is use a web-based PowerPoint style presentation tool that uses an HTML and jQuery JavaScript based library to present the an exhibit related to NASA buttons. This was originally to be presented using a timeline or alternatively in the form of an article. In the end I was told by site supervisor that  using my text and pictures for the NASA digital exhibit in timeline format is not necessary as the PowerPoint slides she is making using my text and pictures work similar to a timeline format.The only question that remains is on what date the exhibit will be put up on the Button Museum website.I do not know however if the presentation will be ready before the end of the internship or not.

Also, I looked for more space buttons for the digital exhibit as per my site supervisor Christy Karpinski’s request. I looked them up on mostly on eBay as they have an amazing collection of NASA buttons, something like 150 that I could find based upon a simple search for NASA buttons. My supervisor wanted access to additional images and perhaps buttons which the Button Museum could purchase or obtain as a gift or at least procure images of the buttons. Perhaps surprisingly, I found button’s that commemorate the Challenger disaster, Alan Shepard and the first American spaceflight among others. I then recommended these buttons to the site supervisor based on the fact that I thought they commemorated important milestones in the history of NASA.

Research Techniques

This week I worked on a button known as” I Love Nebraska”. I found information related to the button a cool website called loriferber.com. They specialize in selling presidential memorabilia including pinback buttons. However, unlike many eBay sellers and other people who specialize in selling buttons, they seem to do significant research on buttons. So, I think that this website could prove useful to future research on the background of buttons, because the Ferber’s seem to be able to trace the origin of many of the buttons they are selling.

Of late I am learning new skills with regards to button research. For example, while researching a button which was titled “Shriner’s he’s the Man” in the physical description part of the database, I had no idea how the person who cataloged the original button knew it was related to an organization known as the Shriner’s. So I Googled the word Shriner’s and found that the logo on the fez in the picture matched the Shriner’s logo.

Similarly, I used a trademark symbol, also known as a wordmark successfully for the first time. I did a button related to the name “Storz”, but I wasn’t sure if it was a beer or a company that manufacture’s hoses. So I did a keyword search for trademarks/wordmarks and found the wordmark matched a beer company that was based in Omaha, Nebraska.

Recently I worked on a button called “S.H.V.”. S.H.V. stands for Steenkolen Handels-Vereeniging, a multinational Dutch Corporation. I identified it using a combination of Google Images, reliable Wikipedia Images that were sourced using Dutch government databases, the corporation’s website, and a coat of arms website. It was probably the most sophisticated research I have done using various free tolls at my disposal since I started my internship. Completing my research on the aforementioned button was a most gratifying experience. Also, I recently did a button which was part of a giveaway in Kellogg’s Pep cereal. Growing up in the 1990’s, I never even saw a pinback button inside a cereal package, so I guess button collections haven’t been available in cereal boxes etc., for a number of years.

Cataloging Input

A couple of weeks ago I did a button related to a group of buttons known as the “Breezy Button” series. This button I believe was the first button that I ever had to change the button category from the original category that was chosen by an intern that was located at the physical location of the Button Museum to a different category. What happened was that button was originally categorized as a general category known as “Social Lubricators”, however information surfaced that the buttons were given away in packages of hot dogs and therefore belonged in the advertising category. So, I had to change the category on the website and spreadsheet.

Also, I had a button that was marked on the spreadsheet as physically described on the website and really was not. I wrote earlier in the semester about the work that interns that work on location at the museum do and I am going to elaborate a little bit more on that point in order to explain what happened. As the Button Museum deals primarily if not exclusively with museum artifacts, their shape, size, image description and other important details are supposed to be written in a web-based database as well as a spreadsheet. If these details are not recorded, then it is supposed to be written in as not described on the spreadsheet. Either me or another intern must have mistakenly written it is not described and therefore  I have to be more careful about paying attention to whether an artifact is physically described or not in the future.

This week I changed the color of a row on the cataloging spreadsheet for the very first time. As I referenced on at least one occasion, the Google cataloging spreadsheet works using a color-coded system. If a row is orange that means the cataloging ID or artifact number, which in this case obviously refers to buttons is available to use. If the button should not have been added to the catalog the row is shaded green etc. The button in question which said “what’s buzzin cousin” was part of a giveaway inside Armour Franks packages. It was part of a series of buttons entitled “Breezy Buttons” which contained slang expressions dating back to the 1920’s.

Evaluation of Information Quality

During the course of the last several weeks, an incident occurred where my research seemed to be inaccurate, a rarity since I started the internship. I researched an “I Love New York” button, without the heart symbol and thought it was related to the I love New York campaign of the late 1970’s to attract tourist and restore New York civic pride. Instead, after consultation with the curators of the museum who are experts in the history and origin of pinback buttons, my supervisor decided it might be a bit of a sarcastic take on that campaign, so my origin for the button may be in correct. Nevertheless, I don’t feel bad about my possible mistake, because even the museum brain trust was unsure of the button’s origin. Also, I found during the cataloging process on the spreadsheet duplicate entries for the first time, so I had to change them to orange and add a third row under the advertising category.

Recently, I had my busiest day ever with regard to changing categories in the database and catalog. First, I had to change two rows in the catalog to open in order that I could transfer the information regarding buttons from the Humorous and Club category to the advertising category. I then had to use two open rows to make two more cataloging ID’s and changed them in the cataloging database on the museum website as well of course. After changing the information and row colors in the Excel sheet, I then had to add a second main category known as humorous in the database and spreadsheet related to one button featuring the bakery slogan “The Freshest Thing in Town. Suffice to say, all of these activities took a while, but were rewarding in the end.

Closing Thoughts

I accomplished so much during the course of this internship. I really learned how to conduct effective research using such tools as Google News and other free and proprietary newspaper and magazine databases, corporate websites, Google Books, trademark and other types of business databases publicly available on the web, and blogs. I also learned how to write concise, yet reasonably detailed museum styled captions, proofread previous interns spelling errors in addition to my own, and to catalog effectively using a database and spreadsheet. All of these skills are related to my learning outcomes and should prove very useful in both my personal and professional lives.

Below is a picture of one of the aforementioned “Breezy Buttons”:

AD-whats-buzzin-cousin-button-busy-beaver-button-museum

Jacob Spitz Button Museum Internship: Week 9

Digital Exhibit

This week I looked for more space buttons for the digital exhibit as per, my site supervisor Christy Karpinski’s request. I looked them up on mostly on eBay as they have an amazing collection of NASA buttons, something like 150 that I could find based upon a simple search for NASA buttons. My supervisor wanted access to additional images and perhaps buttons which the Button Museum could purchase or obtain as a gift or at least procure images of the buttons. Perhaps surprisingly, I found button’s that commemorate the Challenger disaster, Alan Shepard and the first American spaceflight among others. I then recommended these buttons to the site supervisor based on the fact that I thought they commemorated important milestones in the history of NASA. Also, I was told by site supervisor that in the end using my text and pictures for the NASA digital exhibit in timeline format is not necessary as the PowerPoint slides she is making using my text and pictures work similar to a timeline format. I don’t feel bad about this however, because I now know about timeline tools that could prove to be of future use and also know how the digital space exhibit will look in its final form. The only question that remains is what date will the exhibit be put up on the Button Museum website.

Research Techniques

This week I did a button called “S.H.V.”.  S.H.V. stands for  Steenkolen Handels-Vereeniging, a multinational Dutch Corporation. I identified it using a combination of Google Images, reliable Wikipedia Images that were sourced using Dutch government databases, the corporation’s website, and a cot of arms website. It was probably the most sophisticated research I have done using various free tolls at my disposal since I started my internship. Completing my research on the aforementioned button was a most gratifying  experience. Also, I recently did a button which was part of a giveaway in Kellogg’s Pep cereal. This is the second time in several weeks that I have researched a button that was part of a series of buttons that were given away in packages. Several weeks ago, I found out about a collection that was given in away in Armors Franks packages. Growing up in the 1990’s, I never even saw a pinback button inside a cereal package, so I guess button collections haven’t been available in cereal boxes etc., for a number of years.

Cataloging Input and Evaluation of Information Quality

This week I had my busiest day ever with regard to changing categories in the database and catalog. First, I had to change two rows in the catalog to open in order that I could transfer the information regarding buttons from the Humorous and Club category to the advertising category. I then had to use two open rows to make two more cataloging ID’s and changed them in the cataloging database on the museum website as well of course. After changing the information and row colors in the Excel sheet, I then had to add a second main category known as humorous in the database and spreadsheet related to one button featuring the bakery slogan “The Freshest Thing in Town. Suffice to say, all of these activities took a while, but were rewarding in the end.  

Also this week, I researched a button that was actually manufactured by the Busy Beaver Button Company, the sponsors of the Busy Beaver Button Museum for the first time. The button in question commemorated the “Golden Button Awards” which are given to the most creative button designs that are submitted by the Busy Beaver Button Museum’s clientele for manufacture. It was really cool to obtain all my information for the button at hand from the Busy Beaver blog. I had to go and interpret the words of the blog in order to understand the processes behind being nominated for the award, because working remotely I have a somewhat limited understanding o the inner workings of the museum. It was an honor and a privilege to research a button manufactured by the sponsor of my internship site.

Jacob Spitz Button Museum Internship: Week 8

Cataloging Input and Evaluation of Information Quality

This week I changed the color of a row on the cataloging spreadsheet for the very first time. As I referenced last week and perhaps on other occasions, the Google cataloging spreadsheet works using a color-coded system. If a row is orange that means the cataloging ID or artifact number, which in this case obviously refers to buttons is available to use. If the button should not have been added to the catalog the row is shaded green etc. The button in question which said “what’s buzzin cousin” was part of a giveaway inside Armour Franks packages. It was part of a series of buttons entitled “Breezy Buttons” which contained slang expressions dating back to the 1920’s. Also, I found during the cataloging process on the spreadsheet duplicate entries for the first time, so I had to change them to orange and add a third row under the advertising category.

Research Techniques

This week I learnt new skill with regard to researching a button. The button at hand was called “Shriner’s he’s the Man” in the physical description part of the database, but I no Idea how the person who cataloged the original button knew it was related to an organization known as the Shriner’s. So I Googled the word Shriner’s and found that the logo on the fez in the picture matched the Shriner’s logo.

This week I used a trademark symbol, also known as a wordmark successfully for the first time. I did a button related to the name “Storz”, but I wasn’t sure if it was a beer or a company that manufacture’s hoses. So I did a keyword search for trademarks/wordmarks and found the wordmark matched a beer company that was based in Omaha, Nebraska. This was a similar technique to what I had done previously by googling a company to try to match its logo to the picture on a button.

Digital Exhibit

This week I started doing my space project in a timeline format in addition to the text format I had done previously The hard part was to find a free and user-friendly timeline tool to create a timeline. I first used a Powerpoint plugin to try to create a timeline, but it didn’t seem to work well with a historical timeline. I then used a tool called Preceden but although it was  great tool it was a free trial version which didn’t suit my purposes. Other tools I tried out were not user-friendly or I couldn’t share privately, and one of them that was really good was  only students below the graduate level. I finally think I found a useful timeline tool for my space project called Timetoast.

Jacob Spitz Button Museum Internship: Week 7

Digital Exhibit

At the end of last week, I got feedback on my article for a space exhibit on the Button Museum website. What my site supervisor is probably going to do is use a web-based PowerPoint style presentation tool that uses an HTML and jQuery JavaScript based library to present the an exhibit related to NASA buttons. This will be presented using a timeline. Alternatively, it will be presented in the form of an article. This week I found out that NASA gave out buttons to its employees to promote significant space events and my supervisor found out from a Facebook contact that many buttons were given out during the actual space launches. I do not know however if the presentation will be ready before the end of the internship or not.

Research Techniques

This week I worked on a button known as ” I Love Nebraska”. I found information related to the button a cool website called loriferber.com. They specialize in selling presidential memorabilia including pinback buttons. However, unlike many eBay sellers and other people who specialize in selling buttons, they seem to do significant research on buttons. So, for example I found out that based on the fact that the seller of the button was a member of the Nebraska delegation to the Republican National Convention and Nixon’s inauguration in 1969, the button was probably worn by the aforementioned Nebraska representatives during these events. So, I think that this website could prove useful to future research on the background of buttons, because the Ferber’s seem to be able to trace the origin of many of the buttons they are selling.

Cataloging Input and Evaluation of Information Quality
This week I did a button related to a group of buttons known as the “Breezy Button” series. This button I believe was the first button that I ever had to change the button category from the original category that was chosen by an intern that was located at the physical location of the Button Museum to a different category. What happened was that button was originally categorized as a general category known as “Social Lubricators”, however information surfaced that the buttons were given away in packages of hot dogs and therefore belonged in the advertising category. So, I had to change the category on the website and spreadsheet.
This week I had a button that was marked on the spreadsheet as physically described on the  website and really was not. I wrote earlier in the semester about the work that interns that work on location at the museum do and I am going to elaborate a little bit more on that point in order to explain what happened. As the Button Museum deals primarily if not exclusively with museum artifacts, their shape, size, image description  and other important details are supposed to be written in a web-based database as well as a spreadsheet. If these details are not recorded, then it is supposed to be written in as not described on the spreadsheet. Either me or another intern must have mistakenly written it is not described and therefore  I have to be more careful about paying attention to whether an artifact is physically described or not in the future.
This week was one of the few times that my research seemed to be inaccurate since I started the internship. I researched an “I Love New York” button, without the heart symbol and thought it was related to the I love New York campaign of the late 1970’sto attract tourist and restore New York civic pride. Instead, after consultation with the curators of the museum who experts in the history and origin of pinback buttons, therefore My supervisor decided it might be a bit of a sarcastic take on that campaign, so my origin for the button may be in correct. Nevertheless, I don’t feel bad about my possible mistake, because even the museum brain trust was unsure of the button’s origin. Also, I found a duplicate catalog entry on the Google spreadsheet for the first time as well as learned how to go and turn a whole row orange as well as from some color white.

Button Museum Internship: Summary of the next three weeks

I am happy to say that now that I am close to two-thirds done with my internship, I feel confident that it will provide useful skills when it comes to working at future jobs. Working at a digital museum featuring catalog ID’s, descriptions, and a museum database may help me in the future if I choose to work in a museum environment. I have seen a number of jobs seeking library science graduates for museum positions, including one that was seeking someone with cataloging skills. Many museums in New York where I live, such as the museum of Natural History, also house extensive libraries.
Digital Exhibit
Several weeks ago, I started working on my fourth Student Learning outcome, curating a digital exhibit of buttons related to space, specifically the U.S. Space program and NASA. Also, I decided with the supervisor’s approval and even encouragement to add public domain pictures to my article. I am doing research for a sort of article related to NASA commissioned or themed buttons tentatively titled “The History of NASA in Buttons”. I asked the site supervisor if I need to do any simple Drupal tasks related to the project and she said quite possibly after the website is updated.
After I finished researching the NASA-related buttons digitized on the Button Museum website, I looked through 24 pages of buttons which hadn’t yet been research by interns, just to make sure there weren’t any other NASA related buttons, and not surprisingly there weren’t any others. I then downloaded like 10 eBooks related to the History of NASA, related to topics such as the Space Race, the history of the space shuttle, NASA administrators etc. I found many excellent sources on the history of NASA and space exploration such as space.com, air and space magazine (published by the Smithsonian), The National Space Society, and of course last but least, NASA itself. So, I had plenty of material to use for writing my article which should be at the heart of the digitally curated exhibit featuring my article, research, and pictures.
I then was ready to start tying up my article. My method of writing my article on NASA was to first use the information I had on the Buttons themselves (i.e. the button commemorating the first lunar landing), and then to supplement it with material on related space-based topics. I found out last week that NASA pictures are in public domain and are free for non-commercial use, but may need permission for commercial use such as when the picture involves a famous astronaut. So I used NASA photographs for my project.
I first went and copied and pasted what I wrote regarding background information on NASA Buttons. I then added public domain photographs from NASA related to the events and personalities that were celebrated through the issuing of buttons. Afterwards, I synthesized some the information that was based upon multiple buttons commemorating a single person or event and made it into a single paragraph. I also edited and added information to the background information I had copied and pasted earlier. I then went and added about ten sentences in order to connect the information written about each individual button and to place the buttons within the context of NASA History.
Once finished writing the actual text of the article, a few additional steps were necessary before I could hand in the article. I first checked the spelling and grammar within the article. I also added APA reference list to my article. It took a while, because I had to find the article titles, the URL’s, the authors, and the date published. I used the last updated date for determining the date of the reference, not the original date it was posted online. As far as determining the author was concerned, when it came to NASA buttons sometimes the author was listed, while other times it was vague or anonymous, so I used NASA as the author. There were a few mistakes regarding URL’s I had to fix as well. Finally, determining a few articles weren’t as simple as I had to figure out what was the article title, the web page title, etc. I now had synthesized the button research into a single, congruous article. I then sent in the article for feedback from my site supervisor, Christy Karpinski who said she would look at it over the weekend. I am not sure what is the next step regarding my article, but I am hoping it will be part of a digitally curated section of the museum website, a digital exhibit that kind of parallels what a physical museum exhibit should look like.
Below is a sample of how my article is formatted:
“Soon after Glenn’s historic flight, Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth. On May 24, 1962 Carpenter was launched into space aboard the Aurora 7 space capsule. He was the first person to eat solid food in space and after orbiting the Earth several times, his spacecraft reentered the atmosphere. His spacecraft went off course and he ended up being picked up by a U.S. naval vessel aboard a life raft 40 minutes after his vessel landed in the Atlantic. Carpenter later became an aquanaut (or person who lives, swims, and works underwater) for the United States Navy SEALAB program.”
carpenter_launch-2
“Lift-off was unmistakable,” said Scott Carpenter who was boosted to space atop an Atlas rocket for his three orbits of the Earth.
Credits: NASA
Evaluation of Information Quality
My site supervisor uploaded several new buttons images for me to work on. I worked on one of them but I couldn’t find any direct space related information on it. This happens sometimes as many times nobody knows which entity ordered a pinback button and it is impossible to find as much information as one would like. I also proofread and changed somebody else’s buttons due to them making a typo for the first time today.
Cataloging Input
Recently, I did 4 buttons for the second time in three days. My philosophy is that describing additional or background information in this internship is kind of like MPLP, you don’t want to write paragraphs and paragraphs on a button, otherwise one will never get to the next button. This approach is really relevant to the research aspect of the internship, which is probably the reason for the 1 hour per button rule I mentioned in a previous post. I also added a catalog ID for the first time, which is the main field for cataloging museum artifacts. I added it both to the cataloging spreadsheet and the digital museum database on the website. I was also told to add a subcategory for one of the buttons I did in the last couple weeks, so maybe I should try to add subcategories more often when cataloging buttons that I research. Perhaps I have to see if the site supervisor encourages that, however. This week I did a button that I thought was straightforward, but was not. It was worded “the Honorary Grand Order of the Button Are You Right?” I thought it was related to a seal mentioned in a blog about special collections. Instead, it was the name of a song or pamphlet based upon information provided by site supervisor provided by the Catalog of Copyright Entries. I also had to change the title of the button from “Are You Right” to “Grand Order of the Button Are You Right”, which is something I have never been asked to before in the internship
Research Techniques
This week, I researched an interesting Button about something known as the Reed Club. The Reed Club was a club that was interested in nominating Thomas Brackett Reed, a member of the House of Representatives from Portland, for President in 1896. He eventually lost the Republican nomination to William McKinley. This was the first button related to a politician, and not a political cause I did research on since I started my internship. I had to sift through several newspaper articles from the Chicago Tribune digital archives in order to find the information I needed. I am able to access newer articles from the venerated newspaper using the King Library ProQuest database. I, however am having no luck using other King Library databases such as JSTOR to find information on extremely obscure button-related topics. I have learned so much about politics, advertising, space, and corporations since I started my internship.