Sunday, 4 September 2011

A Tale of Two conferences

Last week I was fortunate to be part of the AIMS team presenting our work at the SAA Conference in Chicago. Despite the Saturday 8am start of our session and the impending threat of Hurricane Irene well over 150 delegates turned-out to hear our presentation which included both an introduction to the AIMS framework and reporting our practical experiences through case studies. If you missed it or want to relive it the presentations are available online via Slideshare.

On Friday I spoke at the ARA conference in Edinburgh – the theme of which was advocacy and as part of a Data Standards Group I spoke about the skill set that I had acquired during my change of role from archivist to digital archivist as a result of the AIMS project.

Although the two presentations were different in content and context they both included the same message – an attempt to breakdown the perceptions and myths surrounding born digital archives. In talking about skills in Edinburgh I sought to highlight the relevance of the traditional archive skills in the digital age and to encourage more individuals to do something.

It also raised the question – something that arose in the AIMS unconference in Charlottesville and the UK workshop in London, of when will digital archives become “the norm”. We don’t know the exact answer to this, but I do know it is necessary if we are to successfully manage the challenges of born-digital archives and strive to meet the increasing expectations of our users.

Friday also marked the end of a six month contract during which Nicola Herbert has helped us with the practical elements of digital preservation at Hull. I would like to thank Nicola for her hard work and direct users to her guest blogs on photography of media and write-blockers.

Friday, 2 September 2011

AIMS@SAA Part Two: SAA Session 502

SESSION 502 - Born-Digital Archives in Collecting Repositories: Turning Challenges into Byte-Size Opportunities
SAA 2011
Chicago, IL 
Aug 27, 2011

As the endnote to their foray into the SAA 2011 Annual Meeting, the AIMS Digital Archivists delivered a presentation on the AIMS project on Saturday morning. Although we were competing with Hurricane Irene’s effect on travel schedules, an 8 a.m. Saturday timeslot, and presentations from our colleagues Michelle Light, Dawn Schmitz and John Novak’s on delivering born-digital materials online as well as the Grateful Dead Archivist and a member of the band Phish, attendance was pretty darn good! We were pleased to be able to speak with some colleagues after the session and facilitate a few discussions during the question and answer portion of the session.

The presentation itself gave a brief overview of the project and then focused on the AIMS framework, or the four areas we’ve identified as key functions of stewardship for born-digital materials: Collection Development, Accessioning, Arrangement and Description, and Discovery and Access.

We’re very happy to share our slides here through slideshare. Remember, this is just a taste of what’s to come in the white paper this fall, so keep checking the blog for updates!

Slide are posted here after the jump! 

AIMS@SAA Part One: CREW Workshop

CREW: Collecting Repositories and E-Records Workshop
SAA 2011
Chicago, IL 8/23/2011

The AIMS partners hosted a workshop in the run-up to the 2011 SAA Annual Meeting in August. 45 participants from the US and Canada joined us in exploring the challenges, opportunities and strategies for managing born-digital records in collecting repositories.

The workshop was organized around the 4 main functions of stewardship that the AIMS project has focused on: Collection Development, Accessioning, Arrangement and Description, and Discovery and Access. In addition to the AIMS crew (no pun intended) presenting on the research done through the AIMS project, several guest presenters showcased case studies from their own hands-on approaches to managing born-digital materials. Seth Shaw, from Duke University discussed the evolution of electronic record accessioning at Duke University and his development of the Duke Data Accessioner. Gabriela Redwine discussed work done in arrangement and description at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin. Finally, Erin O’Meara showcased work done at the University of the North Carolina at Chapel Hill to facilitate access to born-digital records through finding aid interfaces.

In between presentations the participants engaged in lively discussions around provocative questions and hypothetical scenarios. At the end of the event, the AIMS partners felt they had gained just as much from the day’s activities as they hoped the participants had. Ideas that were discussed and case study examples will help strengthen the findings of the white paper due out this fall.

See the workshop presentations after the jump!