so far so good

11th March

Looking back over the course so far I am amazed by how far I have come in my learning. I see clearly that the principles of record keeping in the physical world carry over into the digital world. It’s just a matter of learning the technical aspects – oh that and the overwhelming volume of stuff in the digital world. I suppose we tend to treasure the distance past because there is so little of it. Undoubtedly we have benefited from the generations before us who have appraised, saved and destroyed on our behalf. It is a comfort to me to know that deterioration and accidental destruction happen in the digital world. I get overwhelmed by rate and expansion of digital material, its insidious creep and leak characteristic and unstoppable ability to copy itself or be effortlessly copied. Less is more.

I really enjoyed learning about checksum and watermarking to keep a handle on the data. I am a keen supporter of selection – like evolution let the weakest go and the strong survive through adaptation to their environment (migrate) or if they are worth it provide an environment to suit (emulation).

Management, audits, policies, standards and risk assessments are my cosy comfort zones! Although some of this was quite LARGE and complicated I could follow the game plan.

Metadata, it’s wonderful, but oh could the digital world get its act together here. All my working life I have dreamed of a world where when a new thing comes to one end of the table at least two old regimes should be swiped off the other end. Looking at the range of naming conventions and thesauri makes me despair. Whatever I do someone will think it is wrong or inappropriate. 😦 On the upside I expect I will see others do the same!

Overall I have learned a great deal, although the depth varies considerably, but I have enough knowledge to recognise the signposts and know where they lead. It’s up to me to consolidate my learning appropriately to my future career.


Metadata – it’s the very berries!

18th February catch up – In the lab today we had a look at metadata in context. The exercise involved checking out what kind of metadata you could find from a range of file formats using – right click properties and There were a few glitches to start with but once we got exploring it became very interesting. My particular favourite was the Eiffel Tower picture. We opened this first in extractmetadata, then in exifdata, and were astonished to see the gps co-ordinates showing up on google maps as slap bang in the middle of Washington, USA.  This is very intriguing. My thoughts are, something has messed up the metadata or someone has taken a picture of a picture of the Eiffel Tower while standing in Washington. Any other ideas? Since doing this exercise I have had lots of fun at home checking out many of my own photographs. Metadata is wonderful. The more I know about it the more I understand why it is so valuable, but ‘how much’ does need to be weighed against the time and money involved in generating it in an archive.  The Dublin Core/Premis elements which relate to ‘rights’ particularly interest me as I wrestle with the complexities of Copyright Law, Data Protection and FOI.Washington

Lightning response

Response to Disordered Beings’ Blog saving thoughts….that’ll be the 28th January! Yeh,  who’s disordered now?

Hmmm – Having read the disorder of being’s gallusly imaginative approach to our task (what did they have for lunch?) my response would be that by picking out little bits to save you reduce the value. None of this material is unique, but the entirety with its interwoven strands and offshoots does make it interesting.  Surely we don’t just preserve for scholarly reasons? Remember that eclectic collection of stuff we brought in to ‘show and tell’ in records and evidence…….everybody say ahhhh!

Oh one

01101101 01100001 01100100 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101100 01101111 01101111 01101011 00100001

Very Best Wishes for your health and wealth in 3737, or 11BB. Name the animal who’d like 3737, and guess which politician might feel comfortable with the jolly British 11BB.

Well done to our Impress team member for sorting the whole jingbang in record time! I got off to a slow start being unsure about shoot and corrupt as a game. As is so often the case, a little quiet contemplation and discussion with (interrogation of) my fellow IMPs and ‘I get it’. The Sherlock Puzzle was good.

Danny Hillis’ explanation of where we are and where we are headed with information was thought provoking. My first thought is because we can store it, should we? It’s hard to make decisions about future usefulness.

Is data the new oil? When I first heard this phrase I naively thought of oil/data as a lubricant which allows things to operate smoothly. A good example being data/information which is engineered to be shared across organisations in health and welfare, from the cradle to the grave, would be hugely advantageous. I’m sure most of us have experienced frustrated professionals unable to take action just because the necessary information cannot be accessed. Information is the oil which allows action.

Big data = new oil = big bucks Is it time to redefine anonymous?

In the news and soggy archives

My current favourite is

Fascinating link to our past, although once reeled in by twitter you may feel the need to spend £ to explore the actual site. It’s great for social historians, genealogists and newspaper fans.

Archive information

Read the blog

Just for fun. Forget the ship of Theseus or Cutty Sark, this is a genuine 100% reproduction and mighty fine too! Twitter is regularly updated with information about what’s up and coming. Play with old tools, make fire, embrace your inner pagan – semmits advised.The serious side of archives and underwater archaeology can be explored in this very interesting document.

IMPress Experience

The IMPRESS team have backgrounds in education, history, librarianship and sociology. The extent and scope of archiving experience is extremely broad. This includes work in Council Archives, Genealogy, Film and Television Archiving, Health Archives, Register of Sasine, Royal Societies and Special Collections.

By working in the above sectors we have accrued a collective knowledge of Appraisal, Cataloguing, Conservation, Digitisation, Exhibition Design, Palaeography, Research and Social Media, although the depth of knowledge is variable between sectors.

The transferable skills we bring from our various backgrounds are equally diverse. Our team has considerable experience in communication in customer service and working with teams. We also have a range of management skills which includes managing people and budgets, leading projects and events organisation. Our experience in risk assessment, health and safety, including fire prevention is pertinent to any future role working in an archive. We are also confident and able users of ICT. Particular strengths worth mentioning are time management, excellent organisation capability and attention to detail.

We intend to develop the following areas:

  • Increased knowledge of Archival Standards and Legislation, with particular regard to Freedom of Information, Data Protection and copyright
  • Links to the network of archival colleagues to fulfil a commitment to continuing professional development



I’m Kate. I have worked for nearly thirty years in primary education, both as a teacher and manager. I genuinely enjoyed my work, but felt it was time for a change.

I was delighted to discover this course as it ticked all the boxes of the things I enjoy. I am a passionate family historian. I’ve been a hunter gatherer of historical records relating to my family and others for almost 40 years, in the UK and across the globe. I have experienced the huge changes in record availability and delivery as computers and the internet have become more commonly used. In the 80’s when my husband was on business in Quebec, I persuaded him to seek out a church vault and transcribe a marriage record which I can now access with the click of a mouse. Constructing a family tree has become popular and simple, but for me setting the context for people’s statutory events is fascinating. Access to good cataloguing makes it easier to enrich my understanding of our ancestors’ lives.

I really enjoy IT and in my older-person way am a bit geeky about technology. I admit I am not the most avid social net-worker, but there is still time!

When my school developed and launched its website I worked with a wonderfully creative team to design the template from scratch. We published children’s work, school information and organised the huge and ever evolving accumulation of digital items. Naming conventions and file systems established early on lasted the life of the website.

As part of my management remit in school I was responsible for regularly updating the ‘what’s new’ section on the site; this operated as a fledgling blog that parents used to interact with the school and built links across the school community and beyond. Interestingly, from my current perspective, we felt it necessary for the site to have an archive section that contained children’s work.

As a teacher and manager good record keeping has been essential throughout my career. I established uncomplicated ways to save and store resources and information, both physically and digitally. Working in an eco-school I took my role as a recycler very seriously and disposed of the mountain of defunct paper following my professional appraisal. This was very, very satisfying.

I love good order. To me the overarching learning outcome of this course is to enable me to create order from chaos or disarray, and that sounds great!