News and Events
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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.
Join the Committee!
We were delighted to hear that several members would like to be more involved in SAT – now is your chance! We have a number of vacancies arising on the committee this year, and are taking this opportunity to shake up the roles a bit. These are now defined as follows:
Chair: Responsible for the direction of the Committee, leading and steering, chairing meetings and keeping up to date with wider professional issues and initiatives, so that the committee can decide how/if it needs to respond to them. The chair is the strategic level contact with the Archives and Records Association and manages relationships with other stakeholders e.g. Digital Preservation Coalition.
Secretary/Treasurer: Acts as the main administrative contact with ARA, via their negotiation of the budget, authorising and processing travel expenses, organisation of tele-conferences, writing of minutes and agendas.
Training/Events Officer: Has oversight of events. Responsible for producing an annual schedule of events (as agreed with the committee) and managing their organisation (delegating to others on the committee as necessary, e.g. to book a room, or to contact a speaker).
Communications Officer (Static media): Responsible for sourcing content and managing the Section's web-pages and co-ordinating contributions from SAT members for the ARC special issue (usually every 18 months or so).
Communications Officer (Membership): Responsible for managing the shared email inbox and sending out regular updates to members.
Social Media Officer: Responsible for managing the Twitter account and Archives Hour participation (every 12 months or so).
These roles do not require any particular previous experience other than an interest in taking part and time commitment. The committee meets via teleconference four times a year and usually organises 2-3 events per year.
Artificial Intelligence in Archives and AGM
Save the date! ARA SAT are pleased to announce Artificial Intelligence in the Archives, a half day workshop on 30 April 2018 at Library of Birmingham.
Mark Bell (The National Archives) will share his experience of machine learning techniques and the benefits and challenges of applying them to archives. The event is also a chance to hear about the work of SAT and our future plans. The aim is to inspire and provoke discussion, and archivists of all levels and experience should find it useful.
The event will run from10am until 1pm and include our AGM. Attendance is free and tea and coffee will be provided. Register for your free place online at:
10-10.15 Arrival and tea and coffee
10.15-11.15 Keynote: Machine Learning with Mark Bell, The National Archives
11.15-11.45 ARA SAT’s AGM: Setting the agenda for archives and technology.
11.45-12.00 Break and tea and coffee
12.00 -1.00 Data Visualisation with Olivia Vane
- ARA Conference: Challenge the Past, Set the Agenda. 30 August to 1 September 2017, Manchester
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
- DSG combined UK response to the Call for Comments on the Revision of Encoded Archival Description.
- On 17 November 2016, around 20 individuals from the UK attended an event at the Wellcome Trust in London to talk about RiC-CM. The resulting response can be found here
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
SAT helps to support projects funded by the ARA Research Fund. Recent projects with which SAT (or formerly DSG) have been involved have included:
- Cloud Computing Toolkit: assessing cloud computing services for information use and storage (Aberystwyth University)
- SCAT is Curation and Trust: a digital curation workbench tool for archivists in local government archive services which enables learning by "doing" (Gloucestershire County Council). ARA members can access the JSA article related to the project: Cothey, V. (2010) Digital Curation at Gloucestershire Archives: From Ingest to Production by Way of Trusted Storage Journal of the Society of Archives 31(2) pp.207-228.
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.
Online tutorial: An Introduction to EAD and XML (Revised 2011)
The revised powerpoint slides from the group's popular introductory course on Encoded Archival Description. The slides cover:
- Presentations are also available from the EAD Refresher and Introduction to EAC Course held on 15 November 2011.
Other ARA training events may also be of interest to DSG members.