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Section for Archives and Technology Meetings

Minutes of recent Section for Archives and Technology meetings, and presentation slides about developments and current research in the fields of archival standards and resource discovery are available from the Section for Archives and Technology Community pages.


Upcoming events

Past events

Digital Ambition, 27 March 2017

Whilst ‘digital’ presents many challenges we know archivists are responding with ambitious projects to secure the future accessibility of our cultural heritage.


10:30-11:00 Tea/coffee and registration

11:00-11:30 Welcome and Hull City of Culture Digital Archive – Simon Wilson, University of Hull

11:30-12:10 Making the most of open source software – Jenny Mitcham, University of York

12:10-12:30 SAT AGM

12:30-13:30 Networking lunch

13:30-14:10 Collaborative Digital Preservation in the East of England – Gary Tuson, Norfolk Record Office

14:10-14:50 From secretary hand to software: building archive skills for the future– Rachel MacGregor, Lancaster University

14:50-15:20 Open discussion with tea/coffee

15:20-15:30 Close – chair

Cataloguing Born Digital Material, 3 November 2014

Presentations (in PDF format) from this event are now available as is a record of the discussions that took place in the afternoon.

Intricacies of Born Digital Description: User Expectations and Digital Realities, Anthea Seles, Digital Transfer Manager, The National Archives
The theory and the truth: Cataloguing a hybrid archive, Chris Hilton and Victoria Sloyan, Wellcome Library
Cataloguing: everything or nothing?, Jessica Womack and Rebecca Webster, Institute of Education
A non-archivist's perspective on cataloguing born digital material, Jenny Mitcham, Digital Archivist, University of York
Lightning talks: Ellie Robinson, London School of Economics (talking about the Women’s Parliamentary Radio Archive), Chris Fryer, Parliamentary Archives (talking about work in progress), John Langdon, Tate Archives (talking about the PERICLES project) 

 Digital Preservation event, Hive, Worcestershire 8 Apr 2014

Presentations (in PDF format) from this event are now available

Getting Started – the research phase, Jenny Bunn, UCL

Getting a Feel for It – the experimental phase , Simon Wilson, Hull History Centre

Getting Real – working out what it means for you:
Case study 1: SCAT Toolkit, Gloucestershire Archives (in-house approach) Karen Davidson

Case study 2: Conservation and Digital Centre for Wales (regional approach) Hayden Burns and Oliver Tickner - Overview and Archivematica next steps

The day also referred to the TNA research on Cloud storage (with questions raised during consultation)



SAT helps to support projects funded by the ARA Research Fund. Recent projects with which SAT (or formerly DSG) have been involved have included:

SAT also undertakes its own research, such as the 'We're all digital archivists now?' survery carried out in 2012. All in all there were 62 responses to the survey (although not all of those 62 answered every question) and a full report of the results is available to download (PDF).

Please see the report to make your own judgements. A few of the findings are highlighted below, but please remember that the small sample size does make it difficult to generalise.

  • Most practitioners are reasonably confident that the digital material they hold will be accessible in 10 years’ time.
  • There are decidedly mixed levels of awareness with regards to projects, models, organisations and tools within the field, e.g. whereas 43.4% (23 out of 53) have heard of the OAIS (Open Archival Information System) Reference Model, only 11.3% (6 out of 53) have heard of ISO 16363 (Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories).
  • Even when awareness of a specific tool is high, use of that tool as part of business as usual is low, e.g. Only 30.2% (16 out of 53) had no idea what DROID (Digital Record Object Identification) was, but of the other 69.8% who had heard of it, only 11.3% (6 out of 53) were using it as a part of their work.
  • Only 30.2% (16 out of 53) described themselves as being currently active in the preservation of born digital material.
  • Just under half (25 out of 53) would not consider applying for a post advertised with the job title ‘Digital Archivist’

Also illuminating are the comments, which seem to show that although some do not wish to lay claim to the title ‘Digital Archivist’ because ‘I don't have the technical knowledge to warrant such a description’, others take against the title because they do not wish to recognise such a format distinction, e.g. ‘I am an archivist that deals with all material regardless of format.’

The results were previously released and discussed briefly at the Archives and Records Association Conference at the end of August. Here too the sense that, as archivists, we do not wish to be defined by format came through very strongly, as did a sense of uncertainty (but not fear) with regards to dealing with born digital material.

The results of this survey then provide a snapshot of a profession just starting to incorporate born digital material into their day to day working practices, but also one secure in the belief that ensuring the long term preservation of such material is very much their business.




Providing training is a major part of the work of the Section for Archives and Technology. If you would like to suggest speakers or subjects for future training sessions please contact our training officer.

Other ARA training events may also be of interest to DSG members.