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Born-digital archives: a simple SWOT analysis Simon Wilson, Senior Archivist.

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Presentation on theme: "Born-digital archives: a simple SWOT analysis Simon Wilson, Senior Archivist."— Presentation transcript:

1 Born-digital archives: a simple SWOT analysis Simon Wilson, Senior Archivist

2 Overview born-digital archives the AIMS Project and White Paper SWOT analysis - reflections on our capacity and capability UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 2

3 Born-digital archives Material created digitally – documents, images spreadsheets, databases, e-mails, web pages, twitter etc etc - need strategies for both media and the content - archives have to be extracted/accessed without affecting their authenticity Not talking about digitisation where material is converted into digital format, although many issues are similar UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 3

4 The AIMS Project and White Paper

5 The AIMS Project Two year project Oct 2009 – Sep 2011 funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Virginia (project lead), Hull, Stanford and Yale Digital archivist at each site & software developer at UVa Core project team also included lead archivist at each site and involvement of digital repository experts UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 5

6 AIMS Project – White Paper Recommendations for good-practice, based on partners shared experiences -not based on specific infrastructure or tools -starts from paper-based archival principles -technical and professional standards -build-upon work of other projects UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 6

7 AIMS Project – White Paper Framework split the workflow into four main areas: Collection Development Accessioning Arrangement & Description Discovery & Access With-in each section it identifies key factors for success, pre-requisites, objectives, outcomes, tasks and decision points UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 7

8 SWOT analysis: reflecting on the archive sectors capacity and capability

9 Strengths: they are still archives UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 9 We already possess most of the skills needed - processes for accessioning - principles for appraising material - procedures for identifying/closing sensitive material We each already have relationships with hundreds of individuals & organisations we might want to collect material from

10 Strengths: free tools are available UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 10 Range of free software that we can use -Karens Directory Printer - to create a file manifest -OS Forensics -DROID - for file identification Some software is being developed to fill gaps in workflow -Curators Workbench – collection preparation tool -Hypatia – arrangement and description tool -BitCurator – digital forensics tool

11 Weaknesses: fear UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 11 Plenty of reasons not to do anything -software/hardware is constantly changing -range of media and formats -OAIS terminology Skills -specialist skill by 1 person in the team, but skills/experience must be shared The transition from paper to hybrid & digital only collections

12 Weaknesses: gaps UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 12 There are multiple routes to reach the same objective -makes it confusing for those starting-off -difficult to join the dots with all of the free tools into a seamless operation (commercial products are available) -dependant on institutional-specific ICT / infrastructure Advocacy is needed with two key groups: -depositors (ask different questions & work differently) -funding bodies (align collecting with rescue archaeology)

13 Opportunities: collaboration UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 13 With ICT colleagues -forensic workstation for processing a range of media -digital repository With other archives -share/exchange experiences but also technical capabilities -potential for shared/comissioned services

14 Opportunities: new tools for access UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 14 Empowering the user -no-longer reliant upon an archivists description -potential to conduct free text search of the archives directly -GPS based search etc New tools/ visualisation -word clouds -Muse tool (for email) by us on behalf of our users or by users directly on a copy of the data/content?

15 Threats: user expectations UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 15 User expectations -of access and delivery online -need to ensure security of data and compliance re copyright -user community not yet well-formed – so we dont know what they might want Interaction with users – register to gain access (online) or only provide access in the searchroom? Material collected much closer to creation - issues relating to access to sensitive material & copyright etc remain unchanged

16 Threats: scale of the task UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 16 Scale of the task -is daunting and overwhelming -we have to automate as much as possible We are not collecting enough - what has already been lost from the 1980s on We need to make the case that born-digital archives arent an optional extra, if we wish to remain a collecting repository

17 Accreditation standard co-creation debate UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 17 Should digital preservation be a distinct element or part of broader collections policies/strategies ? Not just about policy (s 2.4) or strategy (2.7) Also impacts: collections development (2.2), cataloguing plans (2.5), accessioning procedures (2.8), cataloguing (2.9), security of collections (2.10), service development (3.1), access (3.15), user-focused (3.2), user experience (3.3), remote access (3.5), legal obligations re access (3.6)

18 SWOT analysis as a planning tool UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 18 Each institution needs to conduct its own SWOT analysis -identify its particular strengths, opportunities etc Accreditation Standard - planning/advocacy role Sector needs a vision/roadmap -where are we going, what is our target, how can we get there AIMS White Paper: policies, issues, decisions, tasks etc -what is feasible now, technically or operationally - what is sustainable and scalable in the longer term?

19 Things you can do tomorrow... UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 19 Use traditional survey skills -identify born-digital material already held -set initial priorities; media/file formats to support etc Build-upon existing relationships -depositors: initial conversations around b-d material -ICT colleagues: transfer files from media to network storage -other archives: making contacts, sharing experiences etc Update existing policies/procedures - integrate specific aspects relating to born-digital archives

20 What is possible... UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 20 At Hull we have gone from having a handful of items and no policies/procedures (in Jan 2010) -7 born-digital ONLY collections (122 GB) -workflows, revised/updated policies etc etc -ask each depositor about b-d material AIMS provided the spring-board, now making the transition so that b-d is included in our work as normal, included in library objectives, institutional reputation etc Learnt from others & reciprocate by sharing our experiences

21 Conclusion Nature (and format) of archives has changed dramatically, but most of our professional skills are still relevant Some new tools, new software, new terminology and more acronyms to learn Cant keep everything and hope Google enables access Trusted Digital Repository - collaboration between organisations and allow archives to develop capability and capacity - but needs political will UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 21

22 Contact details Simon Wilson Tel 01482 317506 Email Blog White Paper UKAD 2012 21 Mar 2012 | 22

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