We’ve recently been thinking a lot about the potentials of web archives here at the RAC. Last week, I attended the appropriately titled web archives WARCshop hosted by Penn State University, and, while the organizers focused on getting its participants hands-on experience working with web archives research tools, the lesson that I took away from it is that libraries and archivists still have a long way to go in fully supporting researchers working with web archives. Penn State invited a great group of librarians and archivists to learn, as well as Jefferson Bailey and Lori Donovan from Archive-It, Nick Ruest from York University, and Ian Milligan from Waterloo to help lead the workshop. I was personally very excited for the meeting because I think Nick and Ian have been doing some of the most exciting research in web archives for the past few years, and I always love hearing them talk. Continue reading
On April 24-26, Hillel, Meg, and I attended the Personal Digital Archiving Conference at NYU. The conference focused on the management, preservation, and use of digital archives created by individuals, families, and community organizations. One of the great things about PDA is the variety of speakers and topics. Just the first day covered digitizing family photographs, using BitTorrent as a digital repository, and using hashtags on social media. Continue reading
It’s been a busy couple of weeks for conferences! On Friday, Bonnie and I attended a Born-Digital Workflows CURATEcamp, held at the Brooklyn Historical Society. We gave a brief presentation on our workflows for arranging and descriping born-digital materials, and also learned a lot from other attendees. Continue reading
You might remember that earlier this year I wrote a post about Metadata Cleanup and Ford Foundation Grants that gave a very basic overview of how I went about reconciling thousands of subject terms against the Library of Congress. This reconciliation was essential in helping us gain control over data that we did not create, but that we also identified as possibly extremely valuable to researchers. This post will give an in-depth and updated account of how I hobbled together a (mostly) automatic way to check large amounts of topical terms against the Library of Congress. It still requires some hands-on work and quality checking is a must, but it cut a hundreds of hours job down exponentially.
In November 2013, the first phase of the Legacy Digital Media Survey began with examining collection information of the legacy collections at the Rockefeller Archive Center.
The Legacy Digital Media Survey aim is to gain intellectual and physical control over digital media materials in the collections. This survey came about due to the accumulated backlog of unprocessed and unknown amount of digital media over the past forty years of collection building at the RAC. Initial steps are being taken in order to manage the backlog of born-digital content for identification, separation and accessibility of these at-risk items. Continue reading
On December 9, we attended an SAA workshop on “Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in Digital Archives,” taught by a dynamic Heather Briston of UCLA on the wintry campus of Mount Holyoke in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Invoking the familiar mantra that we rely on analog laws to govern digital materials, Briston provided a broad review of the legal basis for privacy and confidentiality considerations in archives (including privacy jurisprudence, defamation, HIPAA and FERPA laws). She balanced these discussions with considerations of archival values and ethics, which mandate that we provide the widest possible access to our collections while protecting the rights, and sometimes the interests, of persons and institutions represented within them. While opening records crosses a barrier of privacy by definition, archivists’ efforts to meliorate this act lead toward equilibrium in this intrinsic tension. From a third angle she explored the ways digital technology changes the possibility and condition—as well as our expectations—of privacy and access. Continue reading
I just finished reading “What Screens Want: some thoughts on digital canvases” by Frank Chimero, and I highly recommend that you take a few minutes and read it too. It’s short, punchy, and pretty to look at. Seriously, go ahead, do it now.
I’m pleased to announce that Rockefeller Archive Center’s finding aids and library records available on our discovery system, DIMES, are now licensed under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) dedication! This means that you can copy, modify and distribute our descriptive metadata in any way you want without asking us for permission. The CC0 license is explained in full on the Creative Commons website. Continue reading
One of my favorite sessions at this year’s SAA conference was “Disruptive Components: Reimagining Archival Access Systems,” during which three archivists and one technical services librarian from Princeton spoke about their recent re-envisioning of an access system for archival description. This team was responsible for developing a new system which has been widely hyped in the archival community – and deservedly so – for setting the bar for the next generation of access systems. I was excited to hear what the panelists had to say about this project, and I was not disappointed. Continue reading
Last week on Friday, June 14th I attended the NDSA Regional Meeting hosted by the Metropolitan New York Library Council in New York City. This regional meeting of National Digital Stewardship Alliance members, NDIIPP project partners and other institutions interested in digital stewardship was held in an “unconference” format allowing for various short and long presentations on institution activities that are focused around digital stewardship and an open agenda session for topics of discussion to arise. Sibyl presented on the work the Digital Team has accomplished at the RAC creating and implementing a digital preservation program from ingest to access.