So we’ve come to Week 9 of MCPDM and classes will soon be over!
In the afternoon Yunhyong asked us what we thought we had learnt about digital preservation over the last few months. I initially could not think of a thing, but after 20 minutes of “automatic writing” on post-it notes it turned out that we actually knew quite a bit. Not only that, after comparing our post-its to the OAIS model it seems like we are subconscious experts on that as well!!
The only, and quite major, area my group missed out on was the actual end user. As someone mentioned at the start of this week – what is the point of preservation if you do not have access? We swore to better our ways…. Which does not stop us from enjoying our amazing post it charts all the same! They are the colours of the rainbow:
Automatic Writing put into OAIS model
Within the traditional criteria for appraisal we decided that this site has no administrative, legal, or fiscal value. There is some evidential, informational, and/or research value, in so much as the site could be used to show literary trends in a particular genre and readership group. It could also be used as an example of how books are promoted online at this time. Researchers into social history or marketing could get data from this site. The site has very good up to date links to social media, Amazon (for purchasing featured books) and a blog to promote engagement and interaction. The intrinsic value of the site is that it is a good example of of communication within a special interest group. However it is hard to decide how COMMERCIAL this site is. Money is being made somewhere!
Using the The Data Alliance for Social Sciences (DataPASS) guidelines for social science data we reached similar conclusions. The cost considerations for long-term maintenance of the data is something we considered regarding keeping the look and function of the site. We concluded that the entirety should be saved as it would be detrimental to the user experience to loose any of it. The whole site doesn’t appear very big but it has a lot of images so this might have an impact on storage costs, and maintenance of the links could be problematic.
The only issue which is not addressed by either criteria is that of AFFECTION. It should be considered as part of the appraisal process as the community involved may love it and want to re-live their memories. 😉 ❤
In week 2 of MCPDM we were discussing Authenticity, Integrity and Reliability in regards to digital records. One of the key things which I took away from it is how information content becomes more important than form in the digital environment, due to the difficulty in maintaining access to old file formats. These were questions which we were then practically faced with in the afternoon lab. Using a Checksum calculator we compared the content of a number of different files. The results showed (as seen below) that the information which the files contained was the same for “1.a” and “1.b”, and for “2.a” and “2.b”, despite different formats and titles. This can be seen by how they share the same Checksum.
So what are the practical implications for information professionals? On the one hand Checksums seem a practical (and time saving) tool for a Record Manager in scoping out edited copies and degraded files. On a more fundamental level it does seem to be a question of integrity. Checksums can signal that a file has not been edited since even small changes, such as upper case characters to lower case characters, completely change the sum. However, as discussed in the morning class, ‘Authenticity’ and ‘Reliability’ does not follow automatically. We struggled to confirm Authenticity (that the file is what it purports to be) since we were unsure of its purpose. The lack of information meant that we could not confidently say that the files were reliable, despite confirming some level of integrity. This shows that the wider context is essential for being able to confirm any of these essential qualities.
After seeing this difficulty, I look forward to learning more about how an appropriate and supportive context can be created for these types of records in the following weeks.
Also, Kate is really bossy and would not allow me to post this week’s blog unless I sent her the Checksum for the Word document containing these images. She’s gone power mad! So here goes: CEA235CAF10FBBFBE5965DAD975C282F
For records and evidence this week we were looking at objects as archive, and had a wonderful talk from the textile conservation expert Frances Lennard. As part of the class we were asked to bring in an object with meaning to us, and think about what archival traces it might hold.
My items were pebbles which my mother sent from one of my favourite beaches back home in Sweden. When they first came they were in a plastic bag, so the smell of seaweed and salt had been preserved for a little while. These are the type of gifts she often sends me when I long for home – such as dried flowers from my favourite walks and herbs and mint from the garden. All of them are very tactile – the rocks and the flowers have certain scents and the herbs taste of the lime rich water in which they were grown. They create moments of feeling transported, and flashes of memory which are hard to note down in writing…
This did make me think of an article by Daniel Miller* where he describes what makes us reverent to certain objects – he described it as being ‘faced with our own mortality’. Objects have the power to make us feel connected to humans who came before us, and give us a comforting sense of belonging. In a lesser scale this is how I would describe these pebbles. They transports and connects me to my home – but there is always a sense of melancholy in that this transportation is to the past rather than the present. From looking around at the objects which others brought in this also seemed, to me at least, to be the overarching theme. What did the rest of you think?
My favourite beach – Smojen
*See Millers article in the “Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology” (2002), ed: Tim Ingold.
I wanted to share one of my favorite archive related blogs with you – from The Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture. Their blog features a mixture of exhibition expositions and charming feature stories from their archive.
Especially look out for their collection of Household Magazines as they are visually stunning.
Hello fellow Information Management and Preservation students.
My name is Graham McNee. I am 24 years old and I was born in Glasgow and raised in Giffnock, a suburb in the Southside Glasgow in the East Renfrewshire council area. I was an undergraduate here at the University of Glasgow. I started off doing and LLB with history but after my second year I switched to doing my Honours in history. I first developed an interest in libraries and archives as an undergraduate. As a law student, finding the precise authority relevant to the assigned problem was often the most important part of your assessment. Making use of the law library and the university library, as well as specialist databases such as Westlaw, made me aware of the importance of effective archival and library systems, both physical and digital, both for the purposes of research and in society a whole. The creation of consistent laws, whether in the common law or through statutes, depends on decisions being effectively recorded, preserved and categorised so that they can be easily referred to.
This interest was reinforced by the experience of using the universities specialist collections during my history Honours. My topic, The Role of the threat of Jacobititsim in propaganda for the union of 1707, required me to locate and examine many political pamphlets from the era. While many would consider such manuscripts for literary products than records in the traditional sense, working with them nonetheless illustrated further to me the importance of libraries and archives to facilitating greater understanding of the past through carefully preserving evidence and organising it so that it is readily accessible.
After I graduated, the memory of these experiences led me to consider archiving and records management as a potential career choice. I graduated with a 2:1 in history in 2012 but I felt little satisfaction in that achievement. I had found it difficult to balance all of my assignments during my final year. I had not established any professional connections or friendships while in university and I had few interests outside of academics. Coming to the end of my studies made me feel rather lost and adrift, as I wasn’t sure what I should do or even if there was anything I would be qualified to do.
I started to investigate MSc’s and became drawn to archiving, librarianship and information management degrees due to my past experience with. After doing some research into these professions, I came to believe that some of the qualities that I had displayed and developed during my studies, such as a strong long term memory and the use of databases for research might make me suitable for a career in these professions. I had some experience with archiving as I did a brief placement with West Dunbartonshire Council through the National Autistic Society. The placement was very short and mostly consisted of data entry. My task was to enter the catalogue number and production code of the manufacturer’s reference drawings of various types Singer Company sewing machines and to check that the photographic reference for the drawings matched the production code that it was linked to within the system, so as correct any errors that had made their way into the catalogue. Having rather enjoyed that experience, even if it was repetitive, I decided that this was a career path which presented a reasonably good chance of providing me with satisfying employment. After looking at a number of relevant courses decided to apply for the University of Glasgow’s IMP course as it offered the broadest range of professional accreditation in these fields that was available in Scotland.
I live in Giffnock with my parents, brother and sister. I am an adult only in the purely physical sense.
Hello dear readers
My name is Edith. I am a recent Bsc Sociology graduate and a continuing Msc student on Glasgow University’s Information Management and Preservation course (yes, that’s a mouth full!). When being asked to write a few lines about myself for our IMP student group blog, I felt a bit uneasy about the prospect of doing so… As a student of Archives and Records I love writing about and delving in to the lives of others – but I have not blogged a single line about myself since DiaryLand was all the rage in the early 2000’s. I tried recovering my journal from this time for inspiration (and mortification) – but it sadly seems lost in cyberspace. From what I can gather, our task will be to attempt to archive this blog so that it will not suffer the same faith. The development of archival practices for digital material is one of the areas which I look forward to learning more about this year (and to discuss in this blog). Though I must admit that when I began my university career I had very little awareness of these issues.
During the majority of my Undergraduate degree I had not considered archives and records as a potential field for me. My determination to work towards a career in archives was first sparked by a research internship. The internship was organised by Glasgow University Archive Services in the spring of 2013. Using the Archive Service’s records opened my eyes to the great variety of work which archive professionals undertake. It further made me aware of ongoing discussions on how to make archives more accessible to users. Although I had previously used archival material for research, it was this particular experience with GUAS – and the professional ethos of archive professionals which I witnessed during this time – which made me determined to pursue a career in the field.
As a result I have spent the last year volunteering with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. At the RCPSG I have learnt about digitalisation, online accessibility and of common conservational issues. As medical history and policy was my main area of interest in my Bsc, this has been a real treat. Alongside this work, I partook in a heritage project with the Young Women’s Christians Association of Glasgow. This resulted in an exhibition celebrating the YWCAoG’s 140th birthday. The project also gave me my first experience of cataloguing. I am currently continuing my volunteer placement with RCPSG and I look forward to gaining more hands on experience in the coming year.