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Nick Kingsley 22 April 2010 Towards a National Archives Network?
<ul><li>Archival holdings consist of collections (or fonds) representing any number of archival objects; the collections a...
A short history of archival networking <ul><li>In the beginning there was the National Register of Archives </li></ul><ul>...
Many flowers bloom... <ul><li>A2A: multi-level lists mainly from local authority archives  in England </li></ul><ul><li>Ar...
Repository catalogues <ul><li>Individual repository online catalogues were thought likely to replace the networks, but the...
The National Archives and Linked, Open Data <ul><li>The National Archives, as the UK regulator for the EU Public Sector In...
<ul><li>We have recently launched the Discovery system on the TNA Labs site.  This does not employ a linked data approach ...
That’s it folks!
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Towards a national archives network - Nick Kingsley (The National Archives)

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Towards a national archives network - Nick Kingsley (The National Archives)

  1. 2. Nick Kingsley 22 April 2010 Towards a National Archives Network?
  2. 3. <ul><li>Archival holdings consist of collections (or fonds) representing any number of archival objects; the collections are the primary units of management </li></ul><ul><li>Collections consisting of more than a few documents are likely to have a natural or imposed internal hierarchical structure, which should be reflected in detailed catalogues </li></ul><ul><li>Ideally catalogues are linked to authority records for names and places, and to taxonomies for subjects, which serve as access points, disambiguate terms and provide context </li></ul><ul><li>Online representations of detailed catalogues need to render the hierarchical structure and linkages successfully </li></ul><ul><li>Archive users typically use a combination of search and browse approaches in resource discovery </li></ul><ul><li>Catalogues compiled over a century or more are not consistent in style, language or structure but the basic elements in the modern international standard, ISAD(G) can usually be recognised </li></ul>Non-archivists start here...
  3. 4. A short history of archival networking <ul><li>In the beginning there was the National Register of Archives </li></ul><ul><li>Archives Online report published by National Council on Archives in 1998 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Articulated the concept of a single online point of access from which it would be possible to search and browse all the available catalogue descriptions of UK archives, linked to a name authority file </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The technology envisaged at the time, of course, has changed. But the objective remains valid. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The realities of the funding silos meant that this report was taken forward by a series of different projects which committed to a basis of interoperability to protect the potential for future integration or cross-searching </li></ul>
  4. 5. Many flowers bloom... <ul><li>A2A: multi-level lists mainly from local authority archives in England </li></ul><ul><li>Archives Hub: often new or edited collection-level descriptions mainly from University and specialist institutions </li></ul><ul><li>AIM25: often new or edited collection-level descriptions from specialist archives in London </li></ul><ul><li>Archives Wales: collection-level descriptions (perhaps multi-level in future) from all archives in Wales </li></ul><ul><li>SCAN: collection and multi-level lists from mainly local authority archives in Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>JANUS: lists from higher education institutions in Cambridge </li></ul><ul><li>...but how sustainable are they in the current funding environment? </li></ul>
  5. 6. Repository catalogues <ul><li>Individual repository online catalogues were thought likely to replace the networks, but they have usually proved disappointing by comparison with the facilities supported by the aggregators: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sometimes constrained by lack of technical support from parent organisation or by use of platforms acquired for other purposes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two widely adopted commercial platforms, whose suppliers prefer to take forward only developments commanding majority support among user group </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rarely offer robust and flexible search and browse facilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rarely comprehensive in coverage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will a next generation of the technology be affordable in the current climate? ICA-AtoM represents an open source competitor which may become more widely adopted. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 7. The National Archives and Linked, Open Data <ul><li>The National Archives, as the UK regulator for the EU Public Sector Information Directive, is committed to supporting and promoting open data </li></ul><ul><li>The National Archives has also been a pioneer in exploiting the potential of Linked Data through its website www.legislation.gov.uk – one of the first large-scale implementations of linked data </li></ul><ul><li>Experience with legislation has led us to rebuild the PRONOM file format registry using a linked data approach. This is available on the TNA labs site: http://labs.nationalarchives.gov.uk/wordpress/ </li></ul><ul><li>The third area where we are exploring the use of linked data is around resource discovery. </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>We have recently launched the Discovery system on the TNA Labs site. This does not employ a linked data approach but uses the Autonomy category classifier to create a taxonomy which can be applied automatically across the 11,000,000 records in the dataset. </li></ul><ul><li>We are exploring using a linked data approach (Open Annotations) to connect entries in the catalogue to user generated content relating to them </li></ul><ul><li>We are about to review the business purpose and technical infrastructure of the NRA and will explore using a linked data approach to connect elements of a distributed name authority file and also to connect different levels of description of the same collection on different sites: for example a short description in the NRA, a collection level description in AIM25 and a multi-level description on a repository website </li></ul>Future of resource discovery at TNA
  8. 9. That’s it folks!

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