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Diving into Digital: Small Steps and Big Returns in Digital Archiving

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Keynote address by Dr. Natalie Harrower, Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland, to the Forum des Archivistes Nationaux (FAN) meeting in Abu Dhabi, May 2019.

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Diving into Digital: Small Steps and Big Returns in Digital Archiving

  1. 1. Diving into Digital small steps and big returns in digital archiving Forum des Archivistes Nationaux, Abu Dhabi, 1 May 2019 Dr. Natalie Harrower Director, Digital Repository of Ireland @natalieharrower
  2. 2. The Digital Repository of Ireland is… • A certified trustworthy digital repository: preservation, access, discovery • A core-funded national data infrastructure • A community hub for best practices, exchange, networking • Advocacy & Contributions to Policy • Ireland’s social and cultural data (records, digital collections) • Humanities, Social Sciences, Arts (research data) • Curated collections; cross-searchable metadata • Open Access, Open Research
  3. 3. images music business records drawings diaries photographs film & video letters documents posters oral histories electoral lists radio paintings objects podcastsflyers
  4. 4. ….and the DRI is not: • A ‘National Archive’ with a legislative mandate • A legal entity • Very big at all • Exactly what it started as… (6/13/16)
  5. 5. Story Time! A series of journeys From NAVR to DRI From time-limited research grant to Exchequer-Funded national infrastructure (in a time of government austerity) From very little digital capacity system-wide to steadily building collections, knowledge & capacity
  6. 6. All driven by an intelligently designed, planned path of intended causality (Or at least we can pretend)
  7. 7. Not going to talk directly about these transitions But instead, about some small steps along the way Decisions Collaborations Learning Pleasant side effects
  8. 8. First steps Stakeholder Advisory Group International Advisory Group Survey Two Goals 1. Let’s be absolutely completely perfectly state- of-the-art and on top of international worldwide global amazing best practice!! 2. Let’s support actual practice
  9. 9. Metadata Guidelines www.dri.ie/publications
  10. 10. Other Publications
  11. 11. Consultation Free & Open online publication Build community
  12. 12. Another step Digital Exhibitions
  13. 13. Pilot: Single online portal for digital cultural heritage Brings together content from 8 institutions Demonstrate long term preservation through DRI Important service for Irish residents and the Diaspora More visibility for DRI in the cultural sector What we hoped for www.inspiring-ireland.ie
  14. 14. Inspiring Ireland(https://vimeo.com/89125000)
  15. 15. What we hoped for Pilot: Single online portal for digital cultural heritage Brings together content from 8 institutions Demonstrate long term preservation through DRI Important service for Irish residents and the Diaspora More visibility for DRI in the cultural sector
  16. 16. What we really gained Abbey Theatre Chester Beatty Library Crawford Gallery Cork Irish Museum of Modern Art National Archives of Ireland National Gallery of Ireland National Library of Ireland National Museum of Ireland Community Collaboration Testing our Guidelines & Workflows A functioning API
  17. 17. Focus on centenary commemorations (Birth of Irish Free State 1916) Worked with fewer partners, but with more focus ‘Weaving Public and Private Narratives’ Added a public element with ‘collection days’ Added an international element with embassies Opening up the idea of what constitutes a significant object for cultural heritage & complicating the narrative Citizen engagement/democratisation of archives Which led to: Inspiring Ireland 1916
  18. 18. Inspiring Ireland 1916 (https://vimeo.com/146429259)
  19. 19. Make archives more visible / add human stories Had seen Inspiring Ireland; collection days Collaboration with Cornell University Library Test ideas around shared metadata and PIDs ‘Enriched Archives’: records & oral histories & expert commentary Learn about business records  Local Authorities’ event  new members Which led to: Atlantic Philanthropies
  20. 20. Dublin City Library and Archives
  21. 21. New Membership Model (2017-2018) wwww.dri.ie/membership
  22. 22. What we really thought it was about Digital Preservation What it turned out to actually be about Community, training, networking, shared expertise (and the latter builds capacity for the former)
  23. 23. The Moral of the Story… It’s all about the people, the partnerships, the collaborations
  24. 24. Keywords Consultation Open Sharing Collaborations Pilot Projects Community Engagement Also…Stay current
  25. 25. One last example while we’re talking about staying current…
  26. 26. Strategic and Authentic Opportunism What is your core offering? How does that relate to emerging areas? What is happening that you can join?
  27. 27. Seize learning opportunities Take small steps. Do bits & pieces. Try pilot initiatives. Avoid pressure of ‘must-do-it-all-now’ Outcomes are often greater than or different to what you expect (When it comes to digital, we are all behind, so take a small step) Key takeaways
  28. 28. 17 – 20 February 2020 Dublin, Ireland Organised by www.dcc.ac.uk www.dri.ie 15th International Digital Curation Conference Collective Curation: the many hands that make data work IDCC 2020

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