Monday, 4 July 2011

Curators Workbench workshop

I was fortunate enough to attend the Curator’s Workbench workshop at the British Library last week. It was a chance to see, have a play and discuss the tool with its developers Greg Jansen and Erin O’Meara from University of North Carolina. The tool is designed to aid with the accession, arrangement, description and staging of material prior to ingest into a digital repository. Essentially the tool has an interface designed for archivists can use.

The session featured a walk-through and chance to have a play with experts on-hand if you had a problem – only necessary as we had latest ‘unstable’ release including the latest enhancements to functionality and GUI. Stable versions are available for download via GitHub. I am especially smitten with the crosswalk feature providing a drag’n’drop interface for mapping the metadata with METS. There is also the date recogniser which allows you to map the date format to the ISO standard, though there could be issues if the data is in a variety of formats, ie 1984 would be transformed to 01/01/1984.

It has a different take to where arrangement and description occurs in the workflow to that intended for Hypatia in the AIMS workflow, but it does raise some interesting questions that I hope to explore in more detail over the next few months.

It was also interesting to hear features and functionality on their wish-list including disc images, multiple users, recording processing notes, PREMIS and so the list goes on!
The discussion that followed was really enlightening as it highlighted the different approaches that archives are currently adopting to the preservation of born-digital archives.

I picked-up some useful pointers to software and tools I haven’t used before – Bulk extractor, Google Refine, and came away determined to throw more stuff at Curators Workbench, to join the users discussion list (done) and to figure out some of the aspects we have avoided so far things like PREMIS and METS etc !

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