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Curating digital manuscripts, old and new


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Workshop session delivered by the futureArch project team at the Oxford University Library Services Staff Conference in March 2009.

Workshop session delivered by the futureArch project team at the Oxford University Library Services Staff Conference in March 2009.

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  • 1. What do I do with this? Curating digital manuscripts, old and new The futureArch project is developing Bodleian Electronic Archives and Manuscripts (BEAM), a facility to curate the born-digital manuscripts which form a growing proportion of personal and organisational papers deposited with the Bodleian's Western Manuscripts department. This workshop is an opportunity to meet project staff and explore the issues involved in curating and preserving digital archives and manuscripts. Your hosts: Pete Cliff, Software Engineer, futureArch project Renhart Gittens, Software Engineer, futureArch project Susan Thomas, Digital Archivist; Project Manager, futureArch project
  • 2. Workshop format Part One Brief overview of the futureArch project (09/2008-01/2012) developing Bodleian Electronic Archives & Manuscripts (BEAM). Part Two Scenario-based group discussions to explore some issues in more depth.
  • 3. s& ive ts A rch crip an us M ● Documentary materials accumulated by individuals or organisations ● Largely unpublished ● First-hand accounts ● Increasingly hybrid ● Multiple sources, multiple negotiations, formats...
  • 4. Our Di gital lives
  • 5. Our previous digital lives... Barbara Castle's Amstrad disks ● Total hybrid archive - over 800 boxes, 1903-2002 ● Lots and lots of paper! ● 1 box video; 1 box audio ● 31 Amstrad disks (inc. 6 never used), 1989-1992 ● Two PCs, ?1992-1997, 1997- 2002 ● Four 3.5” floppy disks (largely backups from PC) MS. Castle Digital 39/1
  • 6. MS. Castle Digital 39/1 MS. Castle Digital 39/2
  • 7. c. 15 lin e 11 flopp ar metres, c. y disks 1 , c. 199 960-2008 Al an tt 2-2002 enne B
  • 8. 'Newer' digital materials ● Desire to intervene earlier in the life of the archive ● Opportunities to capture contextual info. from creators ● Cloud material ● Identify material 'at risk'; provide guidance and/or accession ● Examples: ● 20GB email archive (c. 85,000 emails), 2003-2007 ● Conservative Party Archives, regular e-accessions from 2003 ● Snapshots of materials from various depositors' hard disks (Paradigm project and ongoing)
  • 9. el Infr ev astr igh sl ● prod Esta blis uctu re H h BE ucti AM a on-l s Policy Im ● Esta evel blis serv A infr h BE -to- astr AM ice ● Def ine end comm uctu ies on c re, end a ctivit & ODL ompo shar ing roles and nent icy, ORA s wi ● Pol th ies ibilit l essiona al s respon ● Emb ed in Prof ori rat ry bud get ● Tra ining cu Libra staff ms ● Provi ding syste rial sta ff Rese for cura to arch lections es Col ● Gradu ate Traine supp ns ort confidenc e ● Share lesso ● Cr eate ● Donor acces (on-s s ● Transf er tools ite a onlin nd ings ● Legacy hold e, as appro ● New ma terials priat e)
  • 10. Curren t focus ● Modify accessioning process – flag digital material for 'preservation processing' on arrival ● Secure and resilient storage – Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) ● Processes, tools and supporting 'curation manual' for acquisition, capture and ingest to DAMS ● Antique computing ● Forensic computing (inc. mass processing) ● 'Preservation processing' of legacy holdings ● Automatic metadata generation for digital collections ● Recruitment – Project Archivist and Graduate Trainee
  • 11. Futu re focus ● Interfaces & tools ● For curators – to manage collections, cataloguing, enquiries, etc. ● For researchers – integrate with WMSS online catalogues & SOLO ● Digital preservation policy ● BEAM policy ● Tools for planning and 'preservation actions' ● Acquisition ● 'Cloud materials' ● Web archiving ● Access ● Refining cataloguing techniques ● Processing archives for researcher access ● Publication pathways (closed > reading room access > open web)
  • 12. Qu estions? Email More online... Paradigm project Bodleian Electronic Archives & Manuscripts futureArch project blog
  • 13. Group work ! ● Single scenario from three perspectives: Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Donor Archivist Researcher ● Group discussion (15 mins): ● Appoint a rapporteur ● Work though the scenario, noting interesting issues on your flipchart for reporting back to the larger group. ● Report back & plenary discussion (15 mins)