Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sushi + Sake = Bliss

Sushi addicts (you know who you are) will achieve bliss at the perfect culinary event for nigiri fans and Japanophiles. Our hugely popular annual Sushi & Sake Fest takes place November 5, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, at the Seattle Westin Hotel. Attendees can savor inventive sushi and appetizers prepared by chefs from eight local restaurants, including Nishino, Mashiko, and Sushi Zen.

It gets better: You can pair your spicy tuna tartar and crunchy tempura roll with premium sake from about a dozen makers, such as Gekkeikan and Takara. Or opt to quaff beer from the likes of Sapporo and Rogue.

This is no boring fundraiser -- this is a big party. Between visits to the sushi stations and sake bars, you can bid on silent auction items (like art by Shimomura, Tsutakawa, Okada), listen to jazz and taiko drumming, and watch the action painting by BOSSHIKO of Osaka.

We're inviting old and new friends, and asking them to bring their friends to the party. Your day-after-the-election evening at the Westin will not only sate your craving for sushi and sake; it will earn you good karma. The $75 general admission ticket ($45 tax deductible) supports Densho's work to prevent historical amnesia and protect civil liberties. Our mission is serious but our event is ... delicious. Don't miss it. Oishii!

For more information

To buy tickets online
(yes, you must be 21)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Interviews in the Densho Digital Archive

We recently added eleven new interviews to the Densho Digital Archive (listed below). This includes a new collection, the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection, which is comprised of interviews Densho is conducting in partnership with the Watsonville - Santa Cruz Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League.

The Densho Digital Archive is password-protected, and registration is free of charge. To view the archive and/or register, please visit

Densho Visual History Collection:
Kazuko Uno Bill
Aya Uenishi Medrud
Lillian Sato

Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection:
Kitako Izumizaki
Tom I. Mine
Jiro Sugidono

Topaz Museum Collection:
Helen Harano Christ
Norman I. Hirose

Manzanar National Historic Site Collection:
Victor Ikeda
James Nishimura
George T. "Joe" Sakato

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Metadata in Pittsburgh

Last week, I had the pleasure of spending four days in the beautiful city of Pittsburgh for the annual Oral History Association conference. This year's theme, "A Convergence of Interests: Oral History in the Digital Age," was especially relevant to much of our work at Densho, and I was privileged to deliver a presentation to share some of what we have learned about using technology to enhance what we do. My talk, "Making Sense of Metadata: A Practical Overview for Oral Historians," was a broad (and brief!) introduction to basic concepts about metadata and how it relates to an oral history project like Densho.

For those not familiar with the term metadata it is often described as, "data about data." Arlene Taylor provides the slightly less ambiguous definition: “...structured information that describes the attributes of an information package for the purpose of identification, discovery and management” (Taylor 2004). In our case an information package is the group of digital files, including video, transcript, narrator biography, and images, that make up a Densho visual history (and, of course, our historic photographs, documents and other materials). Metadata is all of the information that we record to keep track of these digital objects.

While you may not realize it (unless you are a librarian or information architect), you benefit from Densho's metadata every time you use the Densho Digital Archive website. When you navigate by topic, filter a list of search results by date, or view a video segment with its text transcript, you are using the descriptive, administrative and structural metadata we have created. Metadata is also extremely important to our long-term archival and preservation strategy. It provides the documentation and provenance that will allow the digital materials in the archive to exist far into the future.