Day of Digital Archives

To be honest, today was a half day of digital archives, due to personal plans taking me away from computers this afternoon. In light of that, my post is more accurately my ‘week of digital archives’.

The highlight of my digital archives week was the discovery of the Digital Curation Exchange. I promptly joined and began to explore their ‘space for all things ‘digital curation’ ‘. This led me to a fabulous list of resources, including a set of syllabi for courses related to digital curation. Each link brought me to an extensive reading list, some with full slide decks related to weekly in classroom presentations. My ‘to read’ list has gotten much longer – but in a good way!

On other days recently I have found myself involved in all of the following:

  • review of metadata standards for digital objects
  • creation of internal guidelines and requirements documents
  • networking with those at other institutions to help coordinate site visits of other digitization projects
  • records management planning and reviews
  • learning about the OCR software available to our organization
  • contemplation of the web archiving efforts of organizations and governments around the world
  • reviewing my organization’s social media policies
  • listening to the audio of online training available from PLANETS (Preservation and Long-term Access through NETworked Services)
  • contemplation of the new Journal of Digital Media Management and their recent call for articles

My new favorite quote related to digital preservation comes from What we reckon about keeping digital archives: High level principles guiding State Records’ approach from the State Records folks in New South Wales Australia, which reads:

We will keep the Robert De Niro principle in mind when adopting any software or hardware solutions: “You want to be makin moves on the street, have no attachments, allow nothing to be in your life that you cannot walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner” (Heat, 1995)

In other words, our digital archives technology will be designed to be sustainable given our limited resources so it will be flexible and scalable to allow us to utilise the most appropriate tools at a given time to carry out actions such as creation of preservation or access copies or monitoring of repository contents, but replace these tools with new ones easily and with minimal cost and with minimal impact.

I like that this speaks to the fact that no plan can perfectly accommodate the changes in technology coming down the line. Being nimble and assuming that change will be the only constant are key to ensuring access to our digital assets in the future.

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Posted on 6th October 2011
Under: born digital records, digital humanities, digitization, electronic records, future-proofing, learning technology | No Comments » | Print This Post Print This Post

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