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Category: future-proofing

The Archives and Archivists Listserv: hoping for a stay of execution

There has been a lot of discussion (both on the Archives & Archivists (A&A) Listserv and in blog posts) about the SAA‘s recent decision to not preserve the A&A listserv posts from 1996 through 2006 when they are removed from the listserv’s old hosting location at Miami University of Ohio.

Most of the outcry against this decision has fallen into two camps:

  • Those who don’t understand how the SAA task force assigned to appraise the listserv archives could decide it does not have informational value – lots of discussion about how the listserv reflects the move of archivists into the digital age as well as it’s usefulness for students
  • Those who just wish it wouldn’t go away because they still use it to find old posts. Some mentioned that there are scholarly papers that reference posts in the listserv archives as their primary sources.

I added this suggestion on the listserv: ... 

NARA’s Electronic Records Archives in West Virginia

“WVU, NATIONAL ARCHIVES PARTNER” from http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/news/page/5419/

In a press release dated February 28, 2007, the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States (NARA) and West Virginia University (WVU) declared they had signed “a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a 10-year research and educational partnership in the study of electronic records and the promotion of civic awareness of the use of electronic records as educational resources.” It goes on to say that the two organizations “will engage in collaborative research and associated educational activities” including “research in the preservation and long-term access to complex electronic records and engineering design documentation.” WVU will receive “test collections” of electronic records from NARA to support their research and educational activities. ... 

Understanding Born Digital Records: Journalists and Archivists with Parallel Challenges

My most recent Archival Access class had a great guest speaker from the Journalism department. Professor Ira Chinoy is currently teaching a course on Computer-Assisted Reporting. In the first half of the session, he spoke about ways that archival records can fuel and support reporting. He encouraged the class to brainstorm about what might make archival records newsworthy. How do old records that have been stashed away for so long become news? It took a bit of time, but we got into the swing of it and came up with a decent list. He then went through his own list and gave examples of published news stories that fit each of the scenarios. ... 

Should we be archiving fonts?

I am a fan of beautiful fonts. This is why I find myself on the mailing list if MyFonts.com. I recently received their Winter 2007 newsleter featuring the short article titled ‘A cast-iron investment’. It starts out with:

Of all the wonderful things about fonts, there’s one that is rarely mentioned by us font sellers. It’s this: fonts last for a very long time. Unlike almost all the other software you may have bought 10 or 15 years ago, any fonts you bought are likely still working well, waiting to be called back into action when you load up that old newsletter or greetings card you made! ... 

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. ... 

DMCA Exemption Added That Supports Archivists

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, aka DMCA (which made it illegal to create or distribute technology which can get around copyright protection technology) has six new classes of exemptions added today.

From the very long named Rulemaking on Exemptions from Prohibition on Circumvention of Technological Measures that Control Access to Copyrighted Works out of the U.S. Copyright Office (part of the Library of Congress) comes the addition of the following class of work that will not be “subject to the prohibition against circumventing access controls”: ... 

The Yahoo! Time Capsule

Yahoo! is creating a time capsule. The first paragraph of the Yahoo! Time Capsule Overview concludes by claiming “This is the first time that digital data will be gathered and preserved for historical purposes”. Excuse me? What has the Internet Archive been doing since 1996? What are the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank and The September 11 Digital Archive doing? And that is just off the top of my head – the list could go on and on. ... 

My New Daydream: A Hosting Service for Digitized Collections

In her post Predictions over on hangingtogether.org, Merrilee asked “Where do you predict that universities, libraries, archives, and museums will be irresistibly drawn to pooling their efforts?” after reading this article.

And I say: what if there were an organization that created a free (or inexpensive fee-based) framework for hosting collections of digitized materials? What I am imagining is a large group of institutions conspiring to no longer be in charge of designing, building, installing, upgrading and supporting the websites that are the vehicle for sharing digital historical or scholarly materials. I am coming at this from the archivists perspective (also having just pondered the need for something like this in my recent post: Promise to Put It All Online ) – so I am imagining a central repository that would support the upload of digitized records, customizable metadata and a way to manage privacy and security. ...