Doing Less More Often: An Approach to Digital Strategy for Cultural Heritage Orginizations
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Doing Less More Often: An Approach to Digital Strategy for Cultural Heritage Orginizations

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  • 1. Trevor Owens, Digital Archivist, The Library of Congress trow@loc.gov @tjowensDo Less More Often an approach to digital strategy for cultural heritage organizations
  • 2. just one digitalarchivist’sperspective…not The Library’s
  • 3. A cultural heritage digitalstrategy needs to beaboutexhibition, discovery, access, description, processing & preservation
  • 4. For example Software should do less: Serve particular purposes Metadata formats and schemas should do less, and serve local needs We should be doing as little as possible before making digital archival collections available to users We should start implementing and improving on practices to mitigate risk of data loss (digital preservation) We should think about how we can serialize as much of our work as possible to get it out there quicker 4
  • 5. Why?• This makes our work more sustainable: We can swap out the parts when they are smaller and discrete• It makes our work more responsive to our users or our patron’s needs• Our work becomes more transparent; people can see what is happening more frequently• The modularity enables the flexibility to shift work back and forth between experts, computational processes, and volunteers and patrons. 5
  • 6. Three stops1. WiscoHisto: Exhibition/Storytelling2. NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation3. MPLP and Born digital Processing
  • 7. [WiscoHisto img]
  • 8. This issyndicatedexhibition
  • 9. What aboutpreservation?Sustainability?
  • 10. Will tumblr behere in 100years?!
  • 11. No…and that’s thewrong question.
  • 12. Tumblr is greatfor presentationRSS makes ittrivial to keep acopy
  • 13. Don’t confusetools with thecontent. It’s thecontent westeward.
  • 14. 2. DigitalPreservation
  • 15. So digitalpreservation…is there an appfor that?
  • 16. In short, no, norshould there be.
  • 17. A piece ofsoftware can’t bean institution.
  • 18. But that’s not howwe think aboutsoftware… It’smore like.
  • 19. I just want to sayone word to you. Dspace…
  • 20. ContentDM…
  • 21. Omeka…
  • 22. Archivematica…
  • 23. No! Our plan’scan’t be aboutpieces of software
  • 24. Say no to the ideaof software asswiss army knife
  • 25. “The Swiss knife (don’t tell the Swiss army) isa bad can-opener, you can’t even kill a rabbitwith the knife, and worst of all the corkscrewwill ruin your fine bottle of French wine. Soalways keep it simple, solve problems stepby step and stay focused on one problem ata time. Single purpose tools are good in whatthey are designed for, so if there is no directneed for multiple solutions, stick to singlesolutions.”- Bram van der Werf, the Open PlanetsFoundation
  • 26. So what shouldwe be doing?
  • 27. TRAC/TDR has alaundry list for us.
  • 28. Overwhelmed?Where to start?
  • 29. National DigitalStewardshipAlliance is tryingto help clarifywhere to start.
  • 30. Prioritizingactions fordifferent levels ofpreservation
  • 31. Level One Level Two Level Three Level Four (Protect your data) (Know your data) (Monitor your data) (Fix your data)Storage and Two complete copies that Three complete copies At least one copy in a All copies in geographic locationsgeographic are not collocated with different disaster threats At least one copy in a geographic location with alocation different disaster threat different geographic locationFile Fixity Check fixity on ingest if it Check fixity on all Check fixity on all Check fixity of all content at fixedand has been provided with the ingests transactions intervalsData content Ability to replace corrupted data Virus-check high risk Check fixity of sampleIntegrity Create fixity info if it wasn’t content files/media at fixed provided with the content intervals Maintain logs of fixity info Ability to detect corrupt data Virus-check all contentInformation Know who has write, move, Restrict who has write, Maintain logs of who has Maintain logs of who performed whatSecurity and delete authorization to move, and delete accessed individual files actions on files, including deletions individual files authorization to and preservation actions individual filesMetadata Inventory of content and its Store administrative Store standard technical Store standard preservation storage location metadata and descriptive metadata metadata Ensure backup and non- collocation of inventoryFile Formats Encourage use of limited set Inventory of file formats Validate files against their Perform format migrations, emulation of known and open file in use file formats and similar activities formats and codecs Monitor file format obsolescence threatsTechnology For data coming in on Document your storage Start an obsolescence Have a comprehensive plan in placeobsolescenc heterogeneous media system(s) and storage monitoring process for your that will keep files and metadata one (optical disks, hard drives, media what you need to storage system(s) and currently accessible media or floppies) get the digital use them media systems.
  • 32. Still overwhelmed,then let’s just lookat level one.
  • 33. Getting our digitalboxes off thedigital floor.
  • 34. Storage and Two complete copies that are not collocatedgeographiclocationFile Fixity and Check fixity on ingest if it has been providedData Integrity with the content Create fixity info if it wasn’t provided with the contentInformation Know who has write, move, and deleteSecurity authorization to individual filesMetadata Inventory of content and its storage location Ensure backup and non-collocation of inventoryFile Formats Encourage use of limited set of known and open file formats and codecsTechnology For data coming in on heterogeneous mediaobsolescence (optical disks, hard drives, floppies) get the digital content off the medium and into your storage system.
  • 35. Everybody needssomewhere tostart. Somewhereto work from.
  • 36. 3. Processingand MPLP
  • 37. Curatecamp: Processing
  • 38. Familiarity withMPLP “MoreProduct LessProcess”?
  • 39. More Product, Less Process:Revamping Traditional ArchivalProcessing, Mark A. Greene andDennis Meissner The AmericanArchivist, Vol. 68, No. 2 (Fall -Winter, 2005), pp. 208-263
  • 40. I’ll bring insome quotesfrom them…
  • 41. “We need to articulate a new set ofarrangement, preservation, and descriptionguidelines that 1) expedites gettingcollection materials into the hands of users;2) assures arrangement of materialsadequate to user needs; 3) takes theminimal steps necessary to physicallypreserve collection materials; and 4)describes materials sufficient to promoteuse.”
  • 42. “In other words, it is time tofocus on what we absolutelyneed to do, instead of on all thethings that we might do in aworld of unbounded resources.”
  • 43. Why is this thecase?
  • 44. “we tolerate this situation inpart because our professionawards a higher priority toserving the perceived needsof our collections than toserving the demonstratedneeds of our constituents.”
  • 45. The Ideas of MPLP fitquite well with amaxim of OpenSource Software;Release early andrelease often
  • 46. “Release early, release often is a softwaredevelopment philosophy that emphasizes theimportance of early and frequent releases in creatinga tight feedback loop between developers andtesters or users, contrary to a feature-based releasestrategy. Advocates argue that this allows thesoftware development to progress faster, enablesthe user to help define what the software willbecome, better conforms to the usersrequirements for the software, and ultimately resultsin higher quality software. Wikipedia.
  • 47. So, where does thisleave us?
  • 48. It leaves us, as wewere before, inperpetual beta
  • 49. Perpetual Beta from Tim OReilly"Users must be treated as co-developers…The open source dictum,release early and release often, in facthas morphed into an even more radicalposition, the perpetual beta, in whichthe product is developed in the open,with new features slipstreamed in on amonthly, weekly, or even daily basis.."OReilly, Tim (2005-09-30). "What IsWeb 2.0".
  • 50. Making Museumsinto a Perpetual Beta“the museum is always influx, incrementally releasing newversions, refining procedures, andresponding to audience desires.” NinaSimon, Museum 2.0http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2012/10/dreaming-of-perpetual-beta-making.html Oct, 17, 2012
  • 51. History is itself a Perpetual Beta:“history, like many Web 2.0applications, is in a perpetual "beta," orin a constant state of testing, revision,and improvement.”--Jeremy Boggs http://clioweb.org/2006/09/29/history-is/
  • 52. So, lets do less and freeourselves up toaccomplish more often.
  • 53. Trevor Owens, Digital Archivist, The Library of Congress trow@loc.gov @tjowensDo Less More Often an approach to digital strategy for cultural heritage organizations