Archive for the ‘Archival Science’ category
"Archiving in the Digital Era," a video from the New York Times, published April 29, 2013.
Today's New York Times had a nice article and short video on archivists working in New York City, titled "Leaving Cloister of Dusty Offices, Young Archivists Meet Like Minds." The article focuses on the social aspect of NYC archivists and the video features archivists' excitement around and challenge with the digital era.
“Any fool can make
history, but it takes
a genius to write it.”
••••» Oscar Wilde
I enjoy doing things for people. It makes me feel good to help others when I’m needed. Recently I was asked by two friends to help them preserve some newspapers. One had an awesome newspaper that is close to 120 years old. The other is former journalist with an accomplished record who is looking to preserve a historical first.
I take pride in being an archivist and I’m glad that my professional knowledge can extend beyond the confines of a repository. I spent the day preparing for preservation endeavors by picking up the supplies I need. Since newspapers are highly acidic, it is good to do whatever can be done to preserve them.
I had an idea last night with regard to the digitization of the newspapers. Hopefully the idea is successful. I will try a new technique to make an access copy. Indeed I was born to be an archivist. I do love what I do.
On October 10, 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed R. D. W. Connor as the first Archivist of the United States. Robert Digges Wimberly Connor, born in Wilson in 1878, was also the founding father of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History. In 1903, Connor accepted an appointment to the newly formed North Carolina Historical Commission.
As promised, it is time to mention the most interesting person I had the chance to talk with at the NAGARA/CoSA Conference in Santa Fe last week. I guess when you ask the right questions “they” will come! By they I mean the smart people… After one of the sessions, Mark Conrad an Archives Specialist working with the Applied Research Division (Office of Information Services) of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) approached me. He said “aren’t you the one asking about open source solutions?” But of course I was the one! I was so excited to here that NARA is going there!!! I also had the chance to attend a session titled ISO 16363 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories. The session was delivered by Mark and Technology Specialists from Kentucky. This “Archives Specialist” slash technical guru immediately started rattling off a list of tools and projects that I should take a closer look at. Using his tricked out iPad he started prompting his screen to pop my top. Mark works in the Center for Advanced Systems and Technologies (NCAST). In his position with NARA, he works with computer scientists and engineers from all over the world “to leverage new theories, knowledge, methods, and techniques to advance the lifecycle of electronic records.” Part of the mission of his division includes looking into “emerging technologies.” I must say I about did a back flip when Mark pulled up images of a Visualization Lab in the works. Simply mind blowing! There it was— a virtual filing cabinet. As an archivist, I would be able to process or arrange and describe electronic records by using my fingers and a touch screen. Yes- a touch screen- a virtual system used to arrange collections and sort data- with color codes and all. The volume of records in a particular series is proportional to the amount of data within a particular sector of the collection. In January of 2011, the web administrator of NARAtions: The Blog of the United States National Archives interviewed Mark Conrad. She asked him what he was working on and he said “with the assistance of 17 student interns, I am collaborating on a number of projects. For example, many of the students are currently loading large numbers of files into a testbed that is being used by the computer scientists working on the CI-BER project. The purpose of the project is to provide insights into the management of very large data collections. As the number of files and bytes in a collection goes up some of the systems used to manage the collection break down. This project will help us to identify some of the bottlenecks and look for better ways to build systems that don’t break down as the volume picks up.” He also said he was working with the “Department of Energy, NIST, Naval Sea Systems Command, Army Research Lab, and other Federal Agencies on ways to share information about current and emerging practices for managing and preserving engineering data for as long as it is needed.” Sometimes I am glad that I ask a grippa questions— if I didn’t care about open source solutions, I would have never met one of the most interesting archivists with a technical background ever.
The NAGARA/CoSA Conference is over. It was a great conference. I met some wonderful people, visited with some old friends, and brushed up on digital initiatives/standards. As always, I am saving the best for last. Sometime this week I will post about the most interesting person I met. I spent some time talking with him about digital initiatives at the National Archives which will blow your mind! For tonight, here is an “in a nutshell” look at where my hours and thoughts were over the last few days.
- The President’s Directive on Managing Government Records with Meg Phillips, Electronic Records Manager, National Archives and Records Administration
- Hiring Electronic Records Archivists- What Expertise is Required with Professors and Archivists from Kansas and North Carolina
- Electronic Records Roundtable
- ISO 16363 Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories with Mark Conrad, Archives Specialist, National Archives and Records Administration and Archivists and Technology Specialists from Kentucky
- Use of Public Records Laws to Bypass Discovery Rules with Records Managers from Ohio and Nevada and two Attorneys from New Mexico
- Electronic Records Archives (ERA): Accomplishments and Lessons Learned with Meg Phillips, Electronic Records Manager, National Archives and Records Administration
- 1940 Census: The Next Generation with Training Officers and Archivists from National Archives and Records Administration
- Who Controls Where the Governors’ Papers Go with Archivists from Texas, Nevada and South Dakota
- Redaction, Expungement and Sealing of Electronic Records with Attorneys, Administrators, and Records Managers from New Mexico, Tennessee, and Arizona
- ……………..NARA holds Congressional Records as a courtesy, but they do not have legal custody. I didn’t know that!
- ……………..At this time, ERA holds about 18TB of electronic Congressional Records that are not accessible to the public through NARA.
- ……………..At this time, ERA holds 246+TB of 2010 Census data, 34TB of Federal Records, and 80TB of Presidential Records.
- ……………..There were 550 Hard Drives from the George W. Bush Administration.
- ……………..George W. Bush changed the law to have his records sent to College Station instead of the State Archives.
- ……………..Georgia Tech developed sophisticated software to mull through data on hard drives allowing a 10% drop down to what actually needs to be addressed as a record.
- ……………..NARA is using open source solutions to manage digital information. Nice… Wooohooo!
- ……………..The Open Archives Information System (OAIS) Reference Model (Magenta Book- June 2012) is available at http://public.ccsds.org/publications/archive/650x0m2.pdf.
- ……………..Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification Checklist (TRAC) is available at http://www.crl.edu/sites/default/files/attachments/pages/trac_0.pdf.
- ……………..ISO 16363 self assessment template is available at www.iso16363.org.
- ……………..ISO 16363 is still the standard and defines a recommended practice for assessing the trustworthiness of digital repositories.
- ……………..Web ARChive file format (WARC) is still being used for web harvesting and digital preservation (ISO Standard).
- ……………..DuraCloud (with a combination of DSpace and Fedora) an open source platform and managed service that provides on-demand storage and services for digital content in the cloud.
- ……………..ACE (Auditing Control Environment) is being used for digital preservation.
- ……………..Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe System (LOCKSS) is still being used. The system is open source and allows development and support for the preservation of and access to web based collections.
- ……………..Archivematica (open source) is a digital preservation system designed to maintain standards-based, long-term access to digital content.
- ……………..Commercial products being used included Tessella SDB, Preservica, and OCLC Digital Archive.
- ……………..Some states are restricting access to blue prints and building plans for security reasons.
Today I had the chance to meet David S. Ferriero at the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA)/Council of State Archivists (CoSA) Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He delivered a great lecture which I attended, and he mentioned my favorite conspiracy theory there. Ferriero was appointed 10th United States Archivist by the President in 2009. As the lead Archivist of our country, Ferriero “plans, develops, and administers all programs and functions of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration Act of 1984 (44 U.S.C.).” I have been an Archivist for many years, and before that I was a Records Manager. Now you know just why I was pleased to meet Mr. Ferriero. The 1st United States Archivist was Robert D.W. Connor, who was appointed in 1934 by President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression. It was an interesting day. I learned so much and I am tired! I’m going to bed early so that I can be ready to absorb the knowledge I am offered tomorrow. The conference runs through Saturday, so by then I am sure I will be suffering from information overload.
SUBJECT: [METS] Announcement: PREMIS OWL ontology available for public review
SENT: Fri 10/14/2011 3:12 AM
On behalf of the PREMIS Editorial Committee we are happy to announce the publication of an OWL ontology for the PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata version 2.1, a digital preservation standard based on the OAIS reference model. This PREMIS OWL ontology tries to stick as closely as possible to the PREMIS Data Dictionary, which was developed by experts in the domain of long-term preservation and already had clearly defined semantics for its metadata elements. Until now the PREMIS Data Dictionary was only implemented as an XML schema, which remains ideal for creating, validating and storing the preservation metadata of a particular digital asset.
This OWL ontology allows one to express the same information in RDF. With this alternative serialization, information can be more easily interconnected, especially between different repository databases. Information in RDF can be also easily and flexibly queried, which can be an interesting option for the data management function of a repository. The PREMIS OWL ontology also reaches out to preservation-specific vocabularies already published by the Library of Congress on id.loc.gov . For all these reasons, the OWL design of PREMIS should NOT be considered as a replacement for the XML Schema: the two of them should rather be considered complementary.
The ontology is public and open for review . There are still some designs decisions open, formulated as questions to the ontology reviewers and available on the PREMIS OWL Public Wiki . Interested people can leave their valuable feedback on the PREMIS OWL Wiki under Questions for Reviewers. Feedback is very much welcome and will be taken into account for the next release of the PREMIS OWL ontology.
For now, the ontology is available on the following namespace, but after it is finalized it will move to a Library of Congress namespace:
Please send comments no later than Nov. 10, 2011 to be considered in a revised version.
PREMIS Ontology Working Group:
Sam Coppens, University of Ghent
Sébastien Peyrard, Bibliothéque nationale de France
Rebecca Guenther, Library of Congress (now Independent consultant)
Kevin Ford, Library of Congress
Tom Creighton, Familysearch
 Preservation vocabularies: http://id.loc.gov/
 PREMIS OWL Doc: http://multimedialab.elis.ugent.be/users/samcoppe/Ontologies/premis/index.html
 PREMIS OWL Wiki: http://premisontologypublic.pbworks.com
Tonight I came across an old WiKi post I completed when working on my CDIM. It is kinda a fun one- so I thought I would re-post it. It could still be useful to some of you…
IRLS 671- Unit 12- Wiki Entry- The Handle System
For this entry I have opted to explore the Handle System. I found this system interesting as I read about it this week. The system bears a strong resemblance to the wide world of trucking. The truckers are way ahead of us aren’t they?! For years truckers have used their CB code language utilizing this type of system in the most basic form. Each trucker has his or her unique identifier! The twist on this is… Would a handle be confidential in the archival world since it is unique? Now that is a good question. Some of the interesting handles I found in the 10 codes included: 10-1, Receiving poorly; 10-2, Receiving well; 10-7, Out of service, leaving the air; 10-35, Confidential information; 10-63 Net directed to; 10-64, Net clear; 10-75, You are causing interference; and 10-77, Negative contact. The truckers are on it!
I was able to uncover that the system is used for some of the following reasons: digital presentation of information and the preservation of that information over long periods of time; uniform location of digital information; and it is also “used to identify digital resources whose metadata, such as location information, need to be updated from time to time and obtained by rapid resolution on the net.” This is very similar to a CB call. I learned that the Handle System utilizes a combination of security features such as: passwords, public keys, and private keys. The security embedded in the system identifies administrators as “admin handles,” used for the authentication of that said administrator. There are also permissions within permissions in order to further create and modify handles. The Handle System uses a proxy server to interpret both the Handle System protocol and HTTP protocol. I did read somewhere recently that the Handle System is superior to HTTP as it will be around much longer (which means it will have greater preservation capabilities). In conclusion, this system would be good to look at. I am interested to see how it is used in connection with DSpace later so we can use code 10-2 instead of getting a 10-1!
Last week, I answered a request from the New Mexico Historical Society (NMHS). The society put out the 2012 Conference Call for Papers, and Program Proposals. I look forward to hearing from the selection committee on my submission. With any luck, my paper will be selected to fill a void!
I say that because I am the self proclaimed Dark Archivist! I have also been named The Darkivist by my associates. I have even been called the nemesis of the Jedi in Star Wars, a Sith by my director. All of this is due to the fact that I am interested in those parts of history which are on the darker side. Maybe those topics that most archivists, historians, authors, and scholars opt to stay away from. The title of the paper I proposed to research and deliver in 2012 is (of course) Tales from a Dark Archivist.
I’m still not sure which records I will highlight in the presentation if I am selected, however, following are some that come to mind: the opium overdose of a governor; the use of eminent domain to obtain the land used to build Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine (California); a murder case blamed on a werewolf; missing children; the theft of a barrel of wine; witch tales; and some stories I will save for the potential presentation. It should be an interesting conference, and it will be in Santa Fe this time around.
The 2012 Centennial Conference will be held at the Santa Fe Convention Center. New Mexico will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Statehood.
The Historical Society of New Mexico is an active group of New Mexico history enthusiasts. In addition to sponsoring an annual history conference and speakers bureau, the society is dedicated to: increasing the knowledge of New Mexico history; disseminating information on New Mexico history; and encouraging preservation of historic objects and property.
The Library of Congress (LOC) Web Archiving Team, and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Content Working Group is now sponsoring a survey of organizations in the United States who are actively involved in or planning to archive content from the web. The goal of the survey is to better understand the landscape of web archiving activities in the United States, including what organizations or individuals are archiving, what types of web content are being preserved, the tools and services being used, and what type of access is being provided for researchers.
The information gathered as a part of this survey will be reported to NDSA members and summary results will be shared publicly, with an announcement of the results appearing on The Signal (the Digital Preservation blog of the LOC).
Any United States organization involved in web archiving or in the process of planning a web archive is invited to take survey. The survey will close October 31, 2011, so be sure to take the survey available at
Israel’s National Museum (Jerusalem) and Google have digitized five ancient texts- the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is very exciting! You can see the five scrolls, and since the site is “powered by Google,” there are also English translations available! Absolutely amazing… These documents (scrolls) are 2,000 years old, and are recorded on parchment. Since they are extremely fragile, this will mark the first time many scholars have been able to examine the text!
You can check this project out at: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/
Here is the memory of when I moved from a Records Manager to an Archivist over a decade ago. The card was made for me by a friend. She had many people sign it. Some people are still working with me and others have moved on. I thought it was funny that even back then, this is how my friend saw me. She put a woman with a stack of books covering her face (of course with her hair in a bun) on the cover!
In A Bag Full of Hearts (September 17, 2011 post), I talked about old memories I recently unearthed while going through a storage area… http://myvoyagethroughtime.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/a-bag-full-of-hearts/