Monday, December 22, 2014

Everyday Digital Archives Q&A: Erika Farr

After the rich discussions about digital records that were shared at the annual Society of Georgia Archivists meeting in Athens last month, the SGA Outreach Managers are resuming their "Everyday Digital Archives" Q&A blog posts (after a bit of a lull).  In this fourth installment of our Q&A blog posts, we continue the conversation about everyday digital archives with Erika Farr, Head of Digital Archives at Emory’s Manuscript, Archive, and Rare Book Library.

What digital archives-related resources do you read--blogs, social media, articles, journals, listservs, etc.?

There are some really helpful web resources in a range of formats including blogs, reports, white papers, and project websites.  A selection of highlights from each of these categories would include the Library of Congress’s The Signal (http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/) and Chris Prom’s Practical E-Records (http://e-records.chrisprom.com/); a number of recent CLIR reports (http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports) and many of the Digital Preservation Coalition Technology Watch Reports (http://www.dpconline.org/advice/technology-watch-reports); and project/institution websites such as BitCurator (http://www.bitcurator.net/) and the Born Digital Archives program at the Hull History Centre (http://www.hullhistorycentre.org.uk/discover/hull_history_centre/about_us/born_digital_archives/work_in_progress.aspx). In addition, I rely on resources such as the AIMS White Paper (http://www.digitalcurationservices.org/aims/white-paper/) and the OCLC publications included in their Demystifying Born Digital (http://oclc.org/research/activities/borndigital.html).

What advice would you give to an archivist who is nervous to start tackling digital archives?  

If you are feeling nervous, find some test floppies, hardware and/or data so you can begin experimenting with new tools and workflows, without the stress of working on collection material. Beginning to understand the tools and practice can simplify the process and make someone new to the field feel more comfortable.

Also, the important exercise of counting what you already have in the collection can be both productive and familiar. Creating an inventory of existing born-digital content is a crucial first step and requires little more than effort and consistent documentation.

Do you actively curate or archive your own personal digital materials? If so, how?
Why is curating or archiving your own personal digital materials important?
Do your personal digital archives exist outside of the virtual/online environment? In what form?

Within my own personal digital archives, I have focused on curating digital photographs more than anything else. I use on online cloud storage service (JustCloud) to back up my personal files, mainly my photo library and my financial documentation. Otherwise, I have not curated my personal email correspondence or social media accounts. I should probably think more about social media curation, especially since there is information in applications like Facebook that probably doesn’t exist anywhere else.

As for importance, I have unconsciously prioritized my own born-digital content, by actively curating the digital photography and financial/tax documentation while largely ignoring all other content. Because I print so few photographs, my photo library is probably the single most important born-digital collection.

“Won't personal digital archiving solve itself as the digital generation comes of age?” Your thoughts?
**To give credit where credit is due, this question is taken from Catherine Marshall’s “Rethinking Personal Digital Archiving, Part 1” (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march08/marshall/03marshall-pt1.html)

I don’t think all the complications and challenges of personal digital archiving will sort themselves out as engagement with social media and mobile devices becomes a cultural standard, though I do think some basic habits of data back-up will become more pervasive, even if in a passive way. Already, the use of applications on multiple devices via cloud storage allows users to access and synchronize their data in numerous ways and using various devices. These shared applications across devices mean that data is less likely to be lost through device crash or loss, thus, making the data more persistent. Having all of your data managed by a for-profit mobile application developer has its perils, too, of course, and there could be some hard future lessons on data loss when an application is no longer supported or an applications developer goes bust.

Due to the distributed nature of personal digital archives, (i.e. content of an individual all over the web in different arenas: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) how should archivists approach the challenge of acquiring these dispersed digital materials? Are there tools to help?

Emerging tools like ArchiveSocial (http://archivesocial.com/) and ePADD (http://library.stanford.edu/spc/more-about-us/projects-and-initiatives/epadd-project) offer us hope for more effective means of identifying, transferring, and managing social media and electronic correspondence. Neither of these services is ready for archives and libraries as they acquire personal digital archives, as of yet, so for now little is immediately helpful other than engaging with the donor.  My preferred approach now is to use survey tools and pre-acquisition efforts to identify relevant material and accounts for transfer then working with the donor to effectively transfer that data.

What can we do as archivists to change the culture of “benign neglect” that people so often have in regards to their personal digital records?

As a profession, we need to find a way to talk about donor’s personal digital archives that doesn’t ratchet up anxiety. In my experience, conversations with donors can be anxious for two different reasons: one, over the course of the conversation the donor gets spooked by the breadth of the data transfer and worries about potential exposure; and/or, two, the technical nature of the conversation overwhelms the donor prompting him or her to shrug off local preservation tactics because they seem out of reach. We need to find easy-to-use tools and applications that our donors can use and then introduce them in understandable, reassuring ways.

How do you see people accessing personal digital records/archives in the future? 10 years? 20 years?

I think it will depend on the records and the institution that holds them. Some records will demand different types of researcher access because of their format or because of the nature of the research questions likely to be brought to bear on the material. Furthermore, I worry that there will be real differences in how institutions can manage and provide access to born-digital records based on available local resources and infrastructure.  Because digital material is so easily disseminated and shared, I hope to see much more web-based access to born-digital records over the next decade or two. There needs to be a real effort made to develop means of virtual access that allows researchers full access to content and the tools they need to leverage that content without violating copyright and intellectual property law. Such advances will require much in the way of technical innovation, policy advancement, and legal advocacy, though, so I don’t expect such tools and access to appear on the scene without considerable consolidated effort.

Thanks to Erika for sharing her insights! Want to volunteer to be interviewed for our Q&A blog posts? Know a digital records steward we should interview? Let us know: outreach [at] soga [dot] org.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Space still available in pre-annual meeting workshops!

Register now for one of SGA's pre-annual meeting educational workshops, taking place Wednesday, November 5 in Athens, GA!

Disaster  Recovery: Wet Salvage Techniques
9:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Every collection is susceptible to damage from water – whether from ground floods or from above through leaks, fire suppression systems, or the water used to put out a fire. This hands-on workshop will give participants experience in dealing with the aftermath of waterlogged materials. Experienced collections conservator, Ann Frellsen, will share her experiences and train you on how to recover collections after the water recedes.
Participants will learn the importance of team effort in how to manage a response, from safety to public relations through recovery of materials after a water incident. In addition, participants will gain hands-on experience in the salvage of typical library and archive collections materials. A wrap-up session includes time for questions, especially regarding specific collections or situations.
Lunch will be on your own in Athens from 11:30 to 1:00.

Registration fees are $75.
Attendance is limited to 20.
To register for this course, click here.

Accessioning and Ingest of Electronic Records [DAS course]
9:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Perhaps your institution has found itself in a situation where a prominent donor has offered a trove of significant Office documents and digital photographs stored on her hard drive; or, an important department is ready to transfer records of long-term value from a file server to the archives; or, a professor drops off an external hard drive and DVDs with video footage from a symposium featuring nationally recognized participants….

If you were unprepared or unsure of how to handle such a donation, this one-day course will introduce you to basic policies, resources, and procedures that will enable your institution to successfully accession and ingest common born-digital materials (Office documents, PDFs, images, audio, video, and email).

Upon completion of this course you’ll be able to:
  • Discuss current practices and resources; and
  • Develop policies and workflows best suited to your institution’s mission and resources.
Registration - Early-Bird/Regular
SAA Member $199 / $269
Employees of Member Institutions $229 / $299
Nonmember $259 / $319

Early-bird registration ends October 5, 2014.

Attendance limited to 30. You may be asked to bring a laptop to successfully participate in this course.

For more information on this course and to register, click here.

This course is co-sponsored by the Society of American Archivists.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Host a Workshop and Apply for the SGA Personal Digital Archiving Workshop Outreach Grant

You're invited to host a personal digital archiving workshop and apply for the SGA Personal Digital Archiving Workshop Outreach Grant!

The Society of Georgia Archivists Personal Digital Archiving Workshop Outreach Grant is meant to help information professionals in Georgia promote the idea that librarians, archivists, and records managers are a source of expertise for assisting individuals (the public, family members, students, corporate employees, etc.) with their personal digital archiving needs. The grant will be given to the first three individuals who successfully apply for the grant after hosting and teaching a workshop at their institutions/in their communities, using the curriculum materials designed by SGA, GLA, and Atlanta ARMA, available here.


The first three individuals who successfully apply for the SGA Personal Digital Archiving Workshop Outreach Grant after teaching a workshop, using the curriculum materials designed by SGA, GLA, and Atlanta ARMA, available here, will receive:
  • A gift card ($100 for first workshop, $50 for next two workshops, based on date completed application is received by SGA Outreach Manager)
  • Recognition on our websites and social media accounts
  • Potential opportunities to participate in speaking and co-training events about the workshop
  • Inclusion in a press release about personal digital archiving that will be pitched to local media outlets this fall
Apply for the grant using this form. A full description of the grant is available on the first page of the form. Email your completed form to Wendy Hagenmaier, SGA Outreach Manager: outreach@soga.org, and feel free to contact her with any questions.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Call for Nominations! 2014 SGA President’s Award

It’s time to submit your nominations for the 2014 Society of Georgia Archivist’s President’s Award!

The President’s Award recognizes an individual, organization or institution outside of the archival profession who has made significant contributions to the archival profession. Contributions may take the form of advocacy, publicity, legislation, financial support, or a similar action that fosters archival work or raises public awareness of the importance of archival work. Contributions should have broad, long-term impact at the state level or beyond.

Nominations must include full contact information for the nominator and nominee (including street address, email, and telephone number), as well as a brief narrative justification (less than 250 words) about why the individual, institution, or organization is being nominated. Please send nominations to SGA President Courtney Chartier by August 31, 2014.

The Awardee and their guest will be invited to SGA’s annual meeting reception where they will be honored with a presentation of the Award.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Everyday Digital Archives Q&A: Anne Graham

In support of our Everyday Digital Archives campaign, the SGA Outreach Managers are happy to bring you the third installment of our Q&A blog posts! Today’s post is brought to you by Anne Graham, Digital Collections Archivist at Kennesaw State University’s Department of Museums, Archives, and Rare Books.

What digital archives-related resources do you read--blogs, social media, articles, journals, listservs, etc.?
I like to read a variety of blogs. I also follow some organizations on Facebook.
For digital preservation, I like:

For technology, I like:
I also like to keep up on intellectual property (IP) developments:
What advice would you give to an archivist who is nervous to start tackling digital archives?
With digital materials, doing nothing isn’t an option. You have to worry about technological obsolescence, file corruption, and generally not being able to find anything. It can seem overwhelming, but start small and build on your successes.

Do you actively curate or archive your own personal digital materials? If so, how?
Yes! Start to manage your digital files by appraising, describing, and weeding. We all know how to do that. It’s something we do everyday. I actively review the files I’m working on and delete those that I no longer need or that are of poor quality. As an example, I take lots of photographs with my digital camera. Because I’m a terrible photographer – they’re blurred, the subject is out of frame, or I’ve taken another photograph of my feet -- maybe 1 out of 20 is usable. When I download those files to my laptop, I do a quick appraisal and delete all the bad ones. It only takes a couple of minutes and it lowers the amount of work I have to do later. I also take that time to add minimal metadata to the files I’m keeping. Using the file properties, I input a creator, brief description, and copyright holder or licensing information. I also add 2 to 3 keywords by which I can search to retrieve the file. Finally, I create a meaningful filename – IMG_0506 doesn’t tell you much – and I save it to a subfolder within a larger bucket. As an example, I keep all my digital photographs in an “Images” folder and separate them by larger subjects into subfolders. I use abbreviations to name my files, such as th-bankru-20110703, for an image of the beach at Ban Krut in Thailand taken on July 3, 2011. All the images of Thailand sort together because they’re all prefaced with “th.”

I periodically review my files and delete those that I’m no longer working on. I also resist the urge to save temporary files such as that invitation I made for a party or the yard sale sign I created. I back up important files to an external drive and keep copies of files in cloud storage.

Why is curating or archiving your own personal digital materials important?
We all create digital files each day. Preserving them takes action. Since about 2000, all my photographs of friends, family, and important events are digital. If I want to go through them the way I flip through my photo albums, I have to take steps now. Otherwise, they’ll be inaccessible.

Do your personal digital archives exist outside of the virtual/online environment? In what form?

I’m not really a big fan of creating analog surrogates for digital objects. I like using the full functionality of digital formats, including search and retrieval, manipulation, and creating mash-ups.

“Won't personal digital archiving solve itself as the digital generation comes of age?” Your thoughts?
**To give credit where credit is due, this question is taken from Catherine Marshall’s “Rethinking Personal Digital Archiving, Part 1” (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march08/marshall/03marshall-pt1.html)

Eventually, the sheer volume of digital material will dictate that most preservation activities are automated. But we’re not there yet. This means that the material created during the interim needs to be preserved manually or as a combination of manual and automated processes. The role of the digital archivist is going to evolve with technology.

Due to the distributed nature of personal digital archives, (i.e. content of an individual all over the web in different arenas: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) how should archivists approach the challenge of acquiring these dispersed digital materials? Are there tools to help?
As social media sites become more sophisticated, harvesting them becomes more problematic. As an example, I used to be able to save a Twitter stream as an XML file, but Twitter dropped support for XML in 2013.

If you use the Mozilla Firefox browser, the ArchiveFacebook add-on (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/archivefacebook/) allows users to download their Facebook account. Alternatively, you can directly download a copy of their data through the General Account settings.

Users can also request an archive of their tweets from Twitter through their account settings.

What can we do as archivists to change the culture of “benign neglect” that people so often have in regards to their personal digital records?
I think we can try to educate people about the dangers of passive preservation, but it only seems to take hold when someone tries to access an old file and finds that they can’t. Failure appears to be the best path to enlightenment. It’s unfortunate, but I think anyone who’s had experience with disaster planning and recovery recognizes that feeling of apathy. One of the most convincing demonstrations I’ve seen about file corruption involved using the program shotgun (https://github.com/mcarden/shotgun), which simulates bit rot by randomly changing individual bytes.

How do you see people accessing personal digital records/archives in the future? 10 years? 20 years?
So many applications are utilizing cloud storage that I see that as a real contender for personal files. It’s cheap, convenient, (theoretically) backed up, and you can’t lose it like a USB drive. I am an avid user of Dropbox and Google Drive. However, I would never store anything of a private or sensitive nature in the cloud. And, that’s not where I would store important files to which I need on-demand access. Additionally, content providers who also make cloud storage available have the ability to remove content without the permission of the owner or licensor. I’m thinking specifically of Amazon’s recall of George Orwell’s “1984” from its Kindle because of a copyright dispute. So, while I believe distributed storage is where we’re headed, we still have a long way to go.



Thanks to Anne for sharing her insights! Want to volunteer to be interviewed for our Q&A blog posts? Know a digital records steward we should interview? Let us know: outreach [at] soga [dot] org.

--Cathy Miller, SGA Assistant Outreach Manager

Monday, June 23, 2014

RSVP Now, Space Is Limited! Personal Digital Archiving Train-the-Trainer Workshop

You're invited to the latest event in SGA's Everyday Digital Archives Outreach Campaign:

The Society of Georgia Archivists, the Atlanta chapter of ARMA International, and the Georgia Library Association invite you to attend a train-the-trainer workshop on Personal Digital Archiving. Designed for information professionals from all backgrounds and levels of experience, this workshop will empower participants to see themselves as archivists of their own digital records and will cover topics ranging from best practices for creating digital records and rights issues in the digital landscape to strategies for storing digital records and emerging developments regarding the digital afterlife.

After completing the workshop, attendees will be encouraged to teach the workshop to their users--the public, co-workers, students, etc.--in their own diverse institutional contexts (perfect outreach idea for Georgia Archives Month in October!). The end goal of the workshop will thus be to advocate for informational professionals as a source of expertise for assisting individuals (the public, family members, students, corporate employees, etc.) with their personal digital archiving needs.

The workshop will be held at the Georgia Archives in Morrow on Thursday, 7/31, from 10:00 AM - noon, and will be free to attend. Space limited to 25 participants. If you would like to secure a space in the workshop, please RSVP to outreach[at]soga[dot]org by 7/17/2014.


Workshop facilitators:
Oscar Gittemeier, Youth Services Librarian, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, East Atlanta Branch
Wendy Hagenmaier, Digital Collections Archivist, Georgia Tech Archives, SGA Outreach Manager
Michelle Kirk, Records Manager, VP Corporate Records and Information Management, SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Call for Posters for SGA Annual Meeting: Submit by 6/20

The 2014 Society of Georgia Archivists' Program Committee invites submissions for poster proposals for the annual meeting at The Classic Center in Athens, Georgia, November 5-7, 2014. This year's theme, Plans and Strategies for the Future of Archives, reflects the primary steps and considerations that face archivists when proposing new projects and programs. Submissions may address any perspective on this theme as it applies to current issues in the local, state, national, or international sphere of the archival field. Notification of Program Committee decisions will be made by July 11, 2014.

Proposals that incorporate any of the following are encouraged:

  • Topics on unfinished projects or those still in the planning stages, discussing ideas and theories that were or are being discussed
  • Plans on how best to tackle issues that face archives and archivists, thoughts on best practices and reviewing standards
  • Re-Imaging Archives with digital projects, virtual reference, changes to meet user needs, new considerations and thoughts on how to interact with users
Proposals must be submitted no later than Friday, June 20, 2014. Click here for submission form.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Back Issues of Provenance Now Online!

An announcement from Provenance editor Cheryl Oestreicher:
 
I'm very pleased to announce that all the back issues of Provenance are now online! http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/provenance/all_issues.html.   

The successor to Georgia Archives started in 1983 and features articles by David B. Gracy II, Terry Abraham, Frank Boles, James Gregory Bradsher, Maynard Brichford, Richard Cox, Bruce W. Dearstyne, Pam Hackbart-Dean, Margaret Hedstrom, Peter B. Hirtle, Glen McAninch, James O'Toole, Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler, Kathleen Roe, Helen Willa Samuels, Margery N. Sly, Carl Van Ness, and many others.

Subjects of articles include academic archives, access, appraisal, archival administration, archival education, arrangement, automation, cataloging, collection development, congressional papers, description, electronic records, ethics, GLBT collections, government records, indexing, information management, military archives, Native Americans, oral history, photographs, preservation, presidential libraries, privacy, processing, records management, religious archives, use and users, user studies, volunteers, and women's archives and history. Plus some specific topics such as circus records, folklore collections, Grand Turk Island, internet gopher, and Project Jukebox.

Provenance is one of many journals that contributes to robust and ongoing discussions about the profession. Electronic access to the back issues will aid in education and research. Look for the back issues of Georgia Archive (1972-1982) to be available online soon. 

There are many people to thank that helped with this project: Teresa Brinati, Christine Wiseman, Traci Drummond, Amanda Pellerin, Lynette Stoudt, Marie Force, Faye Phillips, Susan Hoffius, Bill Hardesty, Marty Olliff, Cathy Miller, Heather Oswald, Georgia Historical Society, SGA Board members, Provenance Editorial Board. A special thanks to Jon Hansen at Kennesaw State University for creating, hosting, and uploading content. 

Submissions received by July 31 will be reviewed for that year's issue, though submissions are accepted anytime and can be submitted online:  http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/provenance/policies.html

I look forward to continuing to provide a quality journal to enhance scholarship and education.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Everyday Digital Archives Q&A: Christine Wiseman

Welcome to the second Q&A blog post for our Everyday Digital Archives campaign, featuring the perspective of Christine Wiseman, Head, Digital Services Unit, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.

What digital archives-related resources do you read--blogs, social media, articles, journals, listservs, etc.?
I subscribe to ALA’s digital preservation list serv [Digpres] and the Preservation Administrators Discussion Group [Padg], which often features digital preservation related discussions. I religiously read the excellent resources from the Library of Congress including Digital Preservation Newsletter and the blog called The Signal. LC has an entire section of their website devoted to personal digital archiving; all of these resources can be found on their digital preservation home page, www.digitalpreservation.gov. 

In addition, I closely follow the work of the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI). Chris Prom’s blog, Practical E-Records, is extremely useful because as the title implies, he offers practical solutions that are fairly easy to implement. Prom possesses the unique ability to break down complex problems into understandable chunks. Another useful blog is Engineering the Future of the Past by Kari Smith which chronicles the excellent work at MIT in the area of digital archives.


 

What advice would you give to an archivist who is nervous to start tackling digital archives?
It’s quite easy to be intimidated and overwhelmed by digital preservation and managing digital archival collections. However, benign neglect is never a good practice when it comes to digital formats. If you don’t jump in and do something, before long you will be inundated by content. Use the same processes and procedures in place for analog materials, and apply those to digital content. Work incrementally; first begin by following best practices for file organization, naming, and conversion. Make sure you have a robust back-up plan. Talk to colleagues about best practices and attend training such as the SAA Certification workshops or Nancy McGovern’s week-long digital preservation management workshop. In “You‘ve Got to Walk Before You Can Run: First Steps for Managing Born Digital Content Received on Physical Media,” Ricky Erway provides a set of initial steps for managing born digital content. Another good resource is the recently released National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NSDA) levels of digital preservation, which are intended to be easy to use and implemented in a tiered fashion.


Do you actively curate or archive your own personal digital materials? If so, how?
Why is curating or archiving your own personal digital materials important?
Do your personal digital archives exist outside of the virtual/online environment? In what form?

My family digital photographs and videos are probably my most precious digital records followed secondly by my professional files of writings, teaching materials, presentations, and images collected over the past 15 years working in libraries and archives. I was a fairly late adopter of digital photography but after getting my first digital camera in 2007 I never looked back. Now, like most people, I have thousands of digital photographs. For the first few years I tried to have prints made of my favorite photos for preservation purposes, but the volume of photos that digital photography produces soon made that too onerous a task. I try to keep them organized in a logical file system, but I don’t use consistent file names for the individual images. I try to maintain three copies of everything digital--one my computer hard drive, one an external hard drive and a third copy distributed on the internet using cloud storage such as DropBox and Google Drive and Flickr. A major challenge to this distributed model is keeping track of everything. One of my goals is to create an inventory of what is stored where, because as digital content accumulates it’s very easy to lose track.

 

“Won't personal digital archiving solve itself as the digital generation comes of age?” Your thoughts?
**To give credit where credit is due, this question is taken from Catherine Marshall’s “Rethinking Personal Digital Archiving, Part 1” (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march08/marshall/03marshall-pt1.html)

No, I don’t think so. I don’t think the digital generation--who tend to want immediate access to information--thinks about future access. They just assume it’s going to be available rather than understanding what is required to make that happen. I think it’s up to us old folks who remember life before the internet to serve as reminders.


Due to the distributed nature of personal digital archives, (i.e. content of an individual all over the web in different arenas: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) how should archivists approach the challenge of acquiring these dispersed digital materials? Are there tools to help?

Tools are emerging.  For example, Google now has a tool where you can download a copy of your data from all of their various products. An interesting area that is emerging is planning for your digital afterlife. Google now has options for what to do with your digital assets when you pass away or no longer use your account. You can have your account made inactive after a period of time or designate someone as your beneficiary. These features could have implications for archives and their work with donors.

 

What can we do as archivists to change the culture of “benign neglect” that people so often have in regards to their personal digital records?
Continue with efforts related to outreach and education. The tricky part is reaching members of the general public when we are more accustomed to talking to others in the library and archives profession.

 

How do you see people accessing personal digital records/archives in the future? 10 years? 20 years?
I think searching will become much more robust, especially of audio and video, and it will become less dependent on metadata and file names.

Thanks to Christine for sharing her insights! Want to volunteer to be interviewed for our Q&A blog posts? Know a digital records steward we should interview? Let us know: outreach [at] soga [dot] org.

--Cathy Miller, SGA Assistant Outreach Manager

Monday, June 02, 2014

CANCELLED - June Workshops: Digital Preservation for Audio and Video

 Unfortunately, these workshops have been cancelled due to low registration. Please continue to check the blog for future educational opportunities.

Digital Preservation for Audio/Digital Preservation for Video
June 26-27, 2014
Atlanta History Center
Atlanta, GA
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

DIGITAL PRESERVATION FOR AUDIO (Full day)
Many library and archival collections contain a wide array of audio materials, ranging from early discs to many varieties of audiotape and audiocassettes. All are now faced with the increasing rarity of playback equipment and the expertise needed to maintain it. Moreover, magnetic media is especially prone to physical degradation over timeundefineddegradation that can be very difficult to detect until a tape is played back. CDs are also subject to degradation and decay.
Today, the only viable means of long-term audio preservation is digitizationundefinedbut the process of digitizing audio material can be complicated and requires a series of critical choices. This workshop is aimed at artists, archivists, and librarians who are tasked with the care of audio materials in their collections, with the goal of helping them make good choices for their preservation.
Workshop topics include:
  • Identifying audio disc and tape formats
  • Collection inspection, survey, and triage
  • Proper storage for magnetic (tape) and optical (CD) media
  • Determining preservation and access file formats
  • Quality control and relations with outside digitization vendors

DIGITAL PRESERVATION FOR VIDEO (Full day)
If content on analog videotape is to survive for the long term, the tapes must be digitized--moved from the unstable magnetic media on which the content is currently held, into the digital realm where--in theory--they can be preserved indefinitely and migrated forward as files rather than physical objects.  Digitization, however, means more than simply selecting a destination file format.  It requires a series of decisions that will determine the long-term viability of files created--and thus of the valuable video content.
Workshop topics include:
  • Basic digital file creation
  • Preservation and access file formats and codecs
  • Software for file creation and playback
  • Storage options
  • Workflows for digitization
In addition, participants will examine case studies of small and large-scale digitization projects in order to understand real-world applications of principles introduced in the workshop.
Instructor: Jeff Martin
Fees:
  • Single workshop:
    • General Admission: $150

    • IMAP Members, SGA Members: $100
    • Artists and Students: $50
  • Both workshops:
    • General Admission: $250
    • IMAP Members, SGA Members: $150
    • Artists and Students: $75
Independent Media Arts Preservation will present two workshops on consecutive days for archivists, librarians, artists, media specialists, students, and all other interested individuals. Attendance at both workshops is not required.

SGA will provide lunch on Friday, June 27; participants will be required to provide their own lunch on Thursday, June 26. There are several restaurant options a short distance away.

If you have any questions about workshop content or registration, please contact: imap@imappreserve.org.
For all other inquiries, contact: education@soga.org.

Register at www.imappreserve.org/join/membership.html.

These workshops are made possible by the New York State Council on the Artswith the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Everyday Digital Archives Q&A: Sheila McAlister

The SGA Outreach Managers are excited to bring you the inaugural Q&A blog post for our Everyday Digital Archives campaign. Our first post features the reflections and thoughts of Sheila McAlister, Director of the Digital Library of Georgia.

What digital archives-related resources do you read--blogs, social media, articles, journals, listservs, etc.?
I subscribe to the Digital Preservation listserv (DIGITAL-PRESERVATION@JISCMAIL.AC.UK), ALA's digipres, and SAA's preservation listserv. I follow what's happening with SAA, NDIIPP, the DLF, and the NDSA and read D-Lib. Chris Prom also has a really useful blog, Practical E-Records. It's always good to keep an eye on what's going on in New Zealand and Australia; their national archives have made really important progress with digital preservation. For those interested in personal archiving, I strongly recommend LC's page on Personal Digital Archiving, http://digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/

What advice would you give to an archivist who is nervous to start tackling digital archives? 
Dive in! I find that my network of colleagues is incredibly helpful. Don't be afraid to ask how and what others are doing. No one person can be an expert in everything; what you need to know is who to ask and where to look for guidance.


Do you actively curate or archive your own personal digital materials? If so, how?
Somewhat—surprisingly, I'm a bit of a Luddite; most of what I value personally isn't in digital form.Of course, professionally it's a different matter. I am a "digital pack rat," but do a minimum of appraisal, use meaningful filenames, back up, and use series of meaningful directories.


Do your personal digital archives exist outside of the virtual/online environment? In what form?
Yes, really important documents, I will print out and file. We also back up to hard drives.


"Won't personal digital archiving solve itself as the digital generation comes of age?" Your thoughts?

[To give credit where credit is due, this question is taken from Catherine Marshall's "Rethinking Personal Digital Archiving, Part 1": http://www.dlib.org/dlib/march08/marshall/03marshall-pt1.html]
Digital files can’t really support “benign neglect.” We really should be thinking about stewardship as we create digital files.



What can we do as archivists to change the culture of "benign neglect" that people so often have in regards to their personal digital records?
Education and outreach--working with faculty and students at our home institutions (for those who are in academia); public programming.


How do you see people accessing personal digital records/archives in the future? 10 years? 20 years?
I really don’t know. I expect that we’ll be seeing more cloud-based storage, but beyond that my crystal ball is pretty cloudy.


Thanks to Sheila for sharing her insights! Want to volunteer to be interviewed for our Q&A blog posts? Know a digital records steward we should interview? Let us know: outreach [at] soga [dot] org.

--Cathy Miller, SGA Assistant Outreach Manager

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Announcing the Everyday Digital Archives Outreach Campaign

What comes to mind when you think about digital archives?

Sounds like something I’d rather do tomorrow
Sounds confusing, please explain
Sounds intriguing, but I’m not sure where to start
Sounds like a piece of cake, bring it on!
Sounds expensive, ain’t nobody got time for that
Sounds scary, no thank you


The SGA Outreach Managers are excited to launch a new themed campaign for 2014...


Everyday Digital Archives


...and you’re invited to join in the fun.


We’re planning several activities focused on demystifying digital archives stewardship and using personal digital archives as a way to connect with the public about the importance of archives. The overarching idea is that the digital is everyday. Archivists and non-archivists alike all create, use, and preserve digital records in their everyday lives, so why can’t digital stewardship feel more everyday--more casual, more friendly, more do-able?


Let’s work together to make it that way.


Every few weeks, we’ll be posting Q&As on the SGA blog with digital archives stewards from across Georgia, who will offer approachable insights and digestable tips for preserving and providing access to digital records.


We’ll be forwarding digital archives-related news to the SGA membership via our social media channels, using the hashtag #everydaydigitalarchives.


And we’ll also be partnering with like-minded information professionals to organize a train-the-trainer workshop on personal digital archiving, which archivists, librarians, records managers, genealogists, etc. could then offer to the public at their own institutions.


The Everyday Digital Archives theme offers a way to empower archivists around the state to do outreach at the individual level about the valuable services archivists offer. Individuals everywhere are concerned about the future preservation of their personal, everyday digital archives (their email accounts, the digital photos they want to pass on to future generations, their Facebook accounts and tweets). Archivists can support the public by offering advice about how to take care of and preserve these digital records. Everyday Digital Archives thus becomes a topic that connects archivists and the public and reinforces the value of archives and archivists. Archives aren’t just about dusty old shelves--they’re about what’s important right now, they’re about the everyday, they’re about the future.


Have ideas? Want to volunteer to be interviewed for our Q&A blog posts? Let us know: outreach [at] soga [dot] org.


To learn more about personal digital archiving:

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Apply Now for Spotlight on Archives Grant

The Georgia Archives Month Committee wants to help shine a “spotlight” on our fellow archives. To help promote your programs for Georgia Archives Month, apply for the 2014 Spotlight on Archives Grant. Applications will be accepted through June 1. Apply now: http://ow.ly/vzWEC

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Call for 2014 SGA Annual Meeting Session Proposals: Plans and Strategies for the Future of Archives

The Society of Georgia Archivists' Program Committee proudly announces the theme for the 2014 annual meeting: Plans and Strategies for the Future of Archives.

The Committee invites you to attend the meeting, to be held at The Classic Center in Athens, Georgia, November 5-7, 2014.

Plans and Strategies for the Future of Archives pushes archives professionals to reflect on the various theories, strategies, and the preparations that go into the new and innovative approaches we take in conducting our work. For the 2014 annual meeting, the Program Committee is seeking presentations on the following topics:
  • Unfinished projects or those still in the planning stages, discussing ideas and theories that were or are being discussed, or completed projects in which there was a significant  and interesting strategies and paths that were pursued.
  • Plans and ideas on how best to tackle issues that face archives and archivists, thoughts on best practices and reviewing standards whether it be new approaches to processing, offering access, or advocacy. How are archivists being innovative and are there better ways to use our resources.
  • Digital projects, virtual reference, changes to meet user needs, new considerations, and thoughts on how to create better ways to interact with users. How are archivists molding technology to our own needs and to those of our users?
This year's theme, Plans and Strategies for the Future of Archives, reflects the primary steps and considerations that face archivists when proposing new projects and programs.

Click here for SGA Session Proposal Form

Proposals must be submitted no later than Friday, May 2, 2014. Email proposals to: lstarratt [at] gmail.com.

National History Day Needs You! Submit Your Topic Ideas and Host a Round Up

National History Day (NHD) engages K-12 students in history through hands-on experiences, project-based learning activities, presentations, and competitions.

The NHD Mentoring Program at LaGrange College, in association with the Georgia Humanities Council, is organizing the first ever NHD Round Up in the state of Georgia. They are encouraging archives, museums, local historical societies, and libraries to open their doors to local NHD students during Saturdays in October. On "Round Up Saturdays," these institutions will introduce NHD students to their facilities and holdings and assist them as they engage in research.

How your archives can get involved:

1) To help students develop topics, the NHD Mentoring Program is asking participating institutions to prepare a list of local and regional history topics relevant to their collections. The 2015 NHD theme, "Leadership and Legacy in History," is particularly well suited to local and regional history topics. Your list should include both topics and the collections that address those topics.

2) Consider whether, in addition to providing a topic/collection list, your institution would be willing to host a Round Up day for NHD student researchers during the month of October. Saturdays are best, but if your institution isn't open on Saturdays, you can designate a regular business day for the Round Up.

3) Email your institution's topic/collections list and chosen Round Up date by July 15 to NHD Mentoring Program coordinator Dr. Kevin Shirley (kshirley [at] lagrange.edu), who will post them on the program's website: http://www.lagrange.edu/nhd.

___________________________________________________________________________


About the NHD Mentoring Program at LaGrange College:
The NHD Mentoring Program at LaGrange College exists to promote the power and value of historical study, education and research through National History Day.  Our program provides support to students and teachers throughout the process, from topic selection to competition preparation.  We offer teacher and student workshops, serve as a web based clearinghouse for information, resources and ongoing education, answer research and project development queries from students and teachers, host the West Georgia Regional NHD Competition and provide support at the Georgia NHD State and National Competitions.  Our goals are simple:  (1) Help Georgia's students experience as positive and powerful an experience through NHD as possible, (2) Help Georgia's Teachers enjoy as much NHD success as possible, and (3) help Georgia become nationally known for the strength of it's NHD program.  Please visit the program's website at www.lagrange.edu/nhd. If you have any questions about the program or would like to learn more about NHD and the ways in which you can help, please contact the program coordinator, Dr. Kevin Shirley at kshirley [at] lagrange.edu or by phone at (706) 880-8033.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

WORKSHOP FULL: A Guerrilla Approach to Digital Archives workshop - March 14

A Guerrilla Approach to Digital Archives
March 14, 2014
Georgia Archives
Morrow, GA
10:00 - 4:30 p.m.

This workshop has reached participant capacity; registration is now closed. Thank you for your interest in SGA's continuing education opportunities. 

This one day workshop will introduce archivists to digital archives, explaining the basic concepts of curating and preserving electronic records in terms of traditional archival practice. Participants will learn practical things they can do to acquire, preserve, and provide access to electronic records with limited resources and technical expertise.

Creating and sustaining a robust, trustworthy digital archives is hard work. The problems are complex, and even more perplexing as technology evolves and presents new problems. At the same time, archivists don’t have to build an ideal system. Instead, a “guerrilla approach” looks for short-term tactics – inexpensive, simple steps that can help archivists move in the direction of the strategic ideal. Breaking digital archives into smaller pieces makes the problem manageable.

In this workshop, participants will discuss the core functions of digital archives and how they parallel traditional archives. Which records should be selected and acquired? How should those records be arranged and described? How should they be housed and preserved? And what about access? Participants will learn how their existing knowledge can be adapted to digital archives.

The facilitator, Richard Pearce-Moses, will lead participants through a series of questions, call for possible solutions, and suggest some of his own.

To get the most from the workshop, participants should understand the fundamentals of archival practice – appraisal and selection, arrangement and description, housing and preservation, reference and access. They should have a good computers skills – word processing, browsing the web, email, copying and renaming files, and creating folders. They do not need more advanced knowledge, such as programming, database design, programming, or web design. (Individuals with experience in digital archives or advanced skills are welcome to come and contribute to the conversation!)

Lunch will be provided for all participants!

Registration fee: $25.

Register here.

If you have any questions please contact Education Committee Chair Heather Oswald at hoswald@kennesaw.edu.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Governor Deal Requests Additional Funds for Georgia Archives in FY2015

Update on Governor Deal's funding FY2015 funding requests for the Georgia Archives, from GeorgiaArchivesMatters:


"Gov. Nathan Deal recently released his budget requests for Fiscal Year 2015

The governor requested an increase of $476,041 for operating the Archives. The sum includes $460,000 to allow the Archives to open to the public five days a week and to hire six additional employees. The remaining funds would be used for adjustments to employees’ retirement, insurance and salaries.
In addition, the governor recommended an expenditure of $957,910 for maintenance of the Archives building.

[...]

The budget still must go through the legislative process, which generally does not end until near the end of the session.

[...]

Contact your legislators at least once during this session, just to let them know we are still watching. Thank the lawmakers, Gov. Deal and the Board of Regents for their support. They will be watching, too. Now that the Archives will be open five days a week, it is important that researchers use the facility we all have worked so hard to save."


For details on the Governor's request, see pages 69-70 of http://www.house.ga.gov/budget/Documents/2015_FiscalYear/FY_2015_Tracking_Govs_Rec.pdf.