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Category: appraisal

Archival Photographs as Art: A Part of Larry Sultan’s Legacy

EvidenceLarry Sultan was famed as both a photographer and archives researcher. He passed away on Sunday, December 13th, 2009 and his obituary in the New York Times describes his use of archival photographs as “harnessing found photographs for the purposes of art while using them as a way to examine the society that produced them”. The 59 photographs, selected in collaboration with Mike Mandel from a broad assortment of corporate and government archives, were originally displayed and published as a collection named ‘Evidence’ in 1977. A reprint of Evidence was published in 2004, including a new scholarly essay and additional images not in the original. ... 

Archivists and New Technology: When Do The Records Matter?

Navigating the rapidly changing landscape of new technology is a major challenge for archivists. As quickly as new technologies come to market, people adopt them and use them to generate records. Businesses, non-profits and academic institutions constantly strive to find ways to be more efficient and to cut their budgets. New technology often offers the promise of cost reductions. In this age of constantly evolving software and technological innovation, how do archivists know when a new technology is important or established enough to take note of? When do the records generated by the latest and greatest technology matter enough to save? ... 

Vice President Ruled Part of Executive Branch: Cheney’s Records Must Be Preserved

CNN’s headline is Cheney must keep records, judge orders.  The very short version of all this is that the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued “Vice President Richard B. Cheney in his official capacity, the Executive Office of the President (“EOP”), the Office of the Vice President (“OVP”), the National Archives and Records
Administration (“NARA”), and Dr. Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, in his official capacity” to force everyone involved to “preserve all vice presidential records, broadly defined to encompass all records relating to the vice president carrying out his constitutional, statutory or other official or ceremonial duties” (see the CREW site article: Court Orders Cheney to Preserve Records in CREW Lawsuit). ... 

SAA2008: Preservation and Experimentation with Analog/Digital Hybrid Literary Collections (Session 203)

floppy disks

The official title of Session 203 was Getting Our Hands Dirty (and Liking It): Case Studies in Archiving Digital Manuscripts. The session chair, Catherine Stollar Peters from the New York State Archives and Records Administration, opened the session with a high level discussion of the “Theoretical Foundations of Archiving Digital Manuscripts”. The focus of this panel was preserving hybrid collections of born digital and paper based literary records. The goal was to review new ways to apply archival techniques to digital records. The presenters were all archivists without IT backgrounds who are building on others work … and experimenting. She also mentioned that this also impacts researchers, historians, and journalists.For each of the presenters, I have listed below the top challenges and recommendations. If you attended the sessions, you can skip forward to my thoughts... 

After The Games Are Over: Olympic Archival Records

What does an archivist ponder after she turns off the Olympics? What happens to all the records of the Olympics after the closing ceremonies? Who decides what to keep? Not knowing any Olympic Archivists personally, I took to the web to see what I could find.

Olympics.org uses the tag line “Official Website of the Olympic Movement” and include information about The International Olympic Committee’s Historical Archives. The even have an Olympic Medals Database with all the results from all the games. ... 

Will Crashed Hard Drives Ever Equal Unlabeled Cardboard Boxes?

Photo of Crashed Hard Drive - wonderferret on FlickrHow many of us have an old hard drive hanging around? I am talking about the one you were told was unfixable. The one that has 3 bad sectors. The one they replaced and handed to you in one of those distinctive anti-static bags. You know the ones I mean – the steely grey translucent plastic ones that look like they should contain space food.

I have more than one ‘dead’ hard drive. I can’t quite bring myself to throw them out – but I have no immediate plans to try and reclaim their files. ... 

The Edges of the GIS Electronic Record

I spent a good chunk of the end of my fall semester writing a paper ultimately titled “Digital Geospatial Records: Challenges of Selection and Appraisal”. I learned a lot – especially with the help of archivists out there on the cutting edge who are trying to find answers to these problems. I plan on a number of posts with various ideas from my paper.

To start off, I want to consider the topic of defining the electronic record in the context of GIS. One of the things I found most interesting in my research was the fact that defining exactly what a single electronic record consists of is perhaps one of the most challenging steps. ...