SAA Report: Navigating Scandal

Somewhat surprisingly, one of my favorite panels of Archives 2015 had very little to do with the actual work that I do day to day. Session 702, Controversial Crawling: Documenting University Scandal in Real Time, dealt with the practical issues of trying to capture internal and public discussions of university controversies on the web.

I often feel like archives shy away from documenting and seeking out controversial source materials, in many ways because of institutional pressure from invested parties that do not want those controversies kept in perpetuity. However, this panel offered a refreshing take on scandal, by explaining exactly how to three different web archivists selected and collected materials pertaining to institutional scandals, sometimes even against the wishes of those higher up in the organization. Continue reading

SAA: We’re All Digital Archivists: Forensic Techniques in Everyday Practice

At the recent Society of American Archivists annual conference, I was fortunate enough to present as part of a panel discussing the application of digital forensics in an archival setting. I touched on the work I’ve been doing with the D-Recs committee and on developing the forensics workflows that I’ve discussed previously. My co-presenters, Cal Lee, Don Mennerich, and Christie Peterson, discussed different aspects related to digital forensics in archives, from learning forensics techniques to an overview of current research in the field. I highly recommend checking out the audio for the session, which is available on our shared drive.

The Signal Interview
As a result of my presentation, I was asked to do an interview with Trevor Owens for The Signal, the Library of Congress blog on digital preservation. The interview went live last week and touches on some points I made during my presentation as well as current and future D-Team projects. I hope you enjoy it!

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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SAA Report: Assessment and Change

One of the sessions I found most intriguing at this year’s SAA Annual Meeting was “How Are We Doing? Improving Access Through Assessment,” which discussed a variety of tools and methodologies for quantifying information about users, collections and discovery tools, as well as how gathering that data can help us improve our users’ experience. Continue reading

Jason Scott @ the Web Archiving Roundtable – #SAA2014

JS_1After seeing lots of interesting interactions on Twitter with @textfiles, otherwise known as Jason Scott, I was super excited to hear him present at the Web Archiving Roundtable. According to his Twitter profile, Jason is: “the proprietor of http://TEXTFILES.COM , historian, filmmaker, archivist, famous cat maintenance staff. He works on/for/over the Internet Archive.”  Continue reading

SAA Session Review: ArchivesSpace

A Next-Generation Archives Management System [SAA session 601]

This presentation mainly focused on the history of the ArchivesSpace project during its time as a Melon-funded venture. I’ve attached the presentation slides if you’re interested in timelines and other details. Suffice it to say, the ArchivesSpace team has accomplished their goal of producing a solid 1.0 release, and the software is now moving into a community-funded phase. The RAC has joined as an ArchivesSpace charter member and will be able to partake in the benefits that membership affords, including access to documentation, a voice in development priorities, and early access to migration tools. Continue reading

SAA Session Review – Exploring the User Experience with Digital Primary Sources

One of the panels I attended at SAA this year was titled “Exploring the User Experience with Digital Primary Sources,” which covered a wide range of topics, starting with understanding a repository’s user community, assessing that community’s needs and behavior, and discovering new opportunities for archives and archivists to engage in research and scholarly production. Continue reading

SAA Session review – Records Management in the Cloud

I was going to write an overview of this session, but this article gives a good summary of it, so I’ll just make a few additional comments. The links to the definitions of cloud computing (NIST and NARA) are particularly clarifying, especially if you happen to be one of the 51% who are not sure exactly what cloud computing is. Much to my disappointment, this session was about using the cloud for digital preservation storage, and did not address the much more tricky topic of working with donors who have materials stored in the cloud. Storing digital objects using cloud-based systems or services is fairly straight-forward; pulling those materials out of the cloud in a reliable, authentic manner is not. Continue reading