Radcliffe Workshop on Technology and Archival Processing

Last week I attended the Radcliffe Workshop on Technology and Archival Processing. It was a really amazing event that brought together archivists, historians, librarians, digital humanists, technologists, and others to discuss the relationship between technology, archival processing and digital humanities. The talks were thought-provoking and introduced new ideas and methods I hadn’t considered before. One talk that really stood out to me was Jarrett M. Drake’s reconsideration of archival principles including provenance and respect des fonds. It brought up similar themes to those we discussed in the RAC reading group last month that focused on the concept of original order. Fortunately, it’s now available online; it’s a really worthwhile read, especially in light of our conversations around respect des fonds a few weeks ago.

The Maintainers: a conference on keeping things working (most of the time)

You might not think a conference on maintenance would be all that exciting. But The Maintainers – a conference I attended this past week at Stevens Institute of Technology in scenic Hoboken, New Jersey – was not only exciting, but thought-provoking, inspiring and challenging as well. Continue reading

Code4Lib Report: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

A big theme at this year’s Code4Lib conference was the importance of collaboration and building upon others’ work. Since collaboration and openness are some of the D-Team’s core values, this really resonated with me. A few different strategies were suggested to increase sharing and collaboration; these included openly sharing tools and documentation on the web, as well as designing code and tools so that they can easily be re-used by others.

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METRO Conference Report

As you may have read in previous posts from Patrick and Bonnie, the D-Team went to METRO’s annual conference this past week. It was a great day (thanks to METRO staff for pulling off a fantastic event) with a lot of really informative sessions; the greater New York City library and archives community has a lot of smart people doing really creative work! Aside from the themes of systems and data interoperability that Bonnie and Patrick wrote about, I noted a common thread of attempts to integrate transparency across a number of presentations and institutions. Continue reading

A METRO Retrospective

I attended METRO’s annual conference on 1/21. METRO is the Metropolitan New York Library Council, and as members, RAC staff is open to attend any of their events. There were a lot of fantastic panels and speakers at the panel this year, but I’d like to focus on an overarching theme that I picked up on this year: getting our systems to communicate nicely with each other can streamline our work processes and improve our work as archivists.

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iPRES Report

I spent the first week of November in Chapel Hill for this year’s iPRES conference. iPRES is an international conference covering the latest trends, innovations, policies, and practices in the realm of digital preservation.. The conference was full of smart, innovative, and knowledgeable people working to solve the problems posed by digital preservation. It’s not possible to cover everything that I learned here, but one of the themes that emerged for me was that of the importance of people in digital preservation. It can be tempting to think of this work as all about computers, but people and policies are integral to sustainable digital preservation.

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edUi Report

This week I attended the annual edUi conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. As I’ve written before – this was my third year in a row attending – I’ve found the conference and community to be a place of challenge and inspiration, and I always leave with at least one major “aha” moment. Continue reading

SAA Report: New Digital Curation Tools

One of my biggest takeaways from this year’s SAA was how many awesome digital curation and digital preservation tools are in development. The tools that most stuck with me were related to the appraisal and accessioning of born digital materials. This is something we’ve been thinking about a *lot* at the RAC, and it’s encouraging that so many smart folks are working on these issues, and developing amazing tools that we’ll be able to use. I saw way more tools than I can talk about here, but here are a couple of highlights that I hope to explore more:

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SAA Report: Getting Things Done with Born-Digital

One of the first sessions I attended at this year’s SAA annual meetings was “Getting Things Done with Born-Digital Collections,” and it stuck with me as a great entry-level review of how to deal with born digital materials in a variety of different institutional environments. It also introduced tools to help archivists jump into their work, while providing some advice for those looking implement or expand born-digital programs. Many of the following tools/concepts may seem familiar in the work that we do here at the RAC.

The panel included five panelists: Gloria Gonzalez, Jason Evans Groth, Ashley Howdeshell, Dan Noonan, and Lauren Sorensen. While all of the panelists covered slightly different experiences, there was one universal takeaway: preserving digital collections needs to be an institutional endeavor, and in many cases, that endeavor is a constant work-in-progress, from tools to processes.

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