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Category: electronic records

Chapter 3: The Rise of Computer-Assisted Reporting by Brant Houston

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The third chapter in Partners for Preservation is ‘The Rise of Computer-Assisted Reporting: Challenges and Successes’ by Brant Houston. A chapter on this topic has been at the top of my list of chapter ideas from the very start of this project. Back in February of 2007, Professor Ira Chinoy from the University of Maryland, College Park’s Journalism Department spoke to my graduate school Archival Access class. His presentation and the related class discussion led to my blog post Understanding Born-Digital Records: Journalists And Archivists With Parallel Challenges. Elements of this blog post even inspired a portion of the book’s introduction. ... 

UNESCO/UBC Vancouver Declaration

In honor of the 2012 Day of Digtal Archives, I am posting a link to the UNESCO/UBC Vancouver Declaration. This is the product of the recent Memory of the World in the Digital Age conference and they are looking for feedback on this declaration by October 19th, 2012 (see link on the conference page for sending in feedback).

To give you a better sense of the aim of this conference, here are the ‘conference goals’ from the programme... 

CURATEcamp Processing 2012

CURATEcamp Processing 2012 was held the day after the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) sponsored Digital Preservation annual meeting.

The unconference was framed by this idea:

Processing means different things to an archivist and a software developer. To the former, processing is about taking custody of collections, preserving context, and providing arrangement, description, and accessibility. To the latter, processing is about computer processing and has to do with how one automates a range of tasks through computation. ... 

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! ... 

Rescuing 5.25″ Floppy Disks from Oblivion

This post is a careful log of how I rescued data trapped on 5 1/4" floppy disks, some dating back to 1984 (including those pictured here). While I have tried to make this detailed enough to help anyone who needs to try this, you will likely have more success if you are comfortable installing and configuring hardware and software.

I will break this down into a number of phases:

  • Phase 1: Hardware
  • Phase 2: Pull the data off the disk
  • Phase 3: Extract the files from the disk image
  • Phase 4: Migrate or Emulate

Career Update


I have some lovely news to share! In early July, I will join the Library and Archives of Development at the World Bank as an Electronic Records Archivist. This is a very exciting step for me. Since the completion of my MLS back in 2009, I have mostly focused on work related to metadata, taxonomies, search engine optimization (SEO) and web content management systems. With this new position, I will finally have the opportunity to put my focus on archival issues full time while still keeping my hands in technology and software. ... 

DH2009: Digital Lives and Personal Digital Archives

Session Title: Digital Lives: How people create, manipulate and store their personal digital archives
Speaker: Peter Williams, UCL

Digital lives is a joint project of UCL, British Library and University of Bristol

What? We need a better understanding of how people manage digital collections on their laptops, pdas and home computers. This is important due to the transition from paper-based personal collections to digital collections. The hope is to help people manage their digital archives before the content gets to the archives. ... 

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? ... 

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...