Refactoring and Reframing Collecting in a Digital Age or staring into the abyss. Michael Moss.

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Transcript Refactoring and Reframing Collecting in a Digital Age or staring into the abyss. Michael Moss.

Refactoring and Reframing
Collecting in a Digital Age or
staring into the abyss.
Michael Moss
Living Information – TNA vision for
the future
• Increasingly, people expect to find, use and
learn from information online. They expect it to
be personalised and connected to their wider
lives. They expect to have it immediately.
• We need to rise to the new challenge of
ensuring the survival of digital information for
future generations, in addition to preserving the
nation’s existing paper records.
Archives for the 21st Century
3. Digital Preservation
• The risk of a “black hole in history” is avoided
through effective digital record-keeping
• The capability and capacity of the archives
sector to preserve and provide access to digital
records is enhanced
• Users have improved access to collections to
support research, learning and enjoyment
4. Online access and collection
• The audience for archival information is
broadened and enlarged, and users have
access to the archival resources they need and
• Institutions are increasingly able to make
information about their collections available to
the public and thereby unlock their potential
• Archives have the capacity and appropriate
facilities to collect material of long-term value in
all formats from relevant organisations and
Actions under 3 and 4
• Develop partnerships for the delivery of
digital preservation to ensure access to
the capability, with the support of The
National Archives.
• Develop large-scale commercial
digitisation projects with the support of
archival institutions.
Digital preservation v Digitization
• Not one and the same thing.
• Costs formidable
• Digital preservation essential to avoid the
black hole
• But . . . Is it not as much a matter of reestablishing process lost in the digital
Jonathan Powell
A. Yes, I thought I might be asked that question
because it may seem odd to people from
outside, so I looked through the diary for the two
weeks of the period we are talking about and the
usual pattern is about three written records for
17 meetings a day is sort of the average you get
to because there is no purpose served by
minutes unless they are either recording people
visiting from outside, the president of Nigeria, or
something like that, or if they are action points
that need to be taken forward, something on
school funding for example.
The activities of their department
seemed to be shrouded in mystery –
something to do with records or filing, it
was thought, nobody knew for certain,
but it was evidently ‘women’s work’ the
kind of thing that could easily be
replaced by a computer
The Information Agenda
• It is where the money (such as there is)
will be.
• It must contribute to the bottom line and
not simply be an added cost.
• Involves interaction with other
professionals – risk managers, hr,
auditors, ICT.
• KIM is an evolving discipline.
Accessioning digital content
Different from analogue
Harvesting web pages
No one will add metadata unless it adds
• Traditional cataloguing impractical
• Sensitivity review?
Digitization and digital access
• Transforming research and scholarship
• Catalogue
• Books
• Manuscripts
• Progress differential at national and local
• Issues of granularity – the genealogical
• Overburdening the catalogue.
• Progress differential
• The genealogical imperative
• Sustainability
– maintenance
– Not like analogue publishing – expectation
they will be dynamic
• NOF Digitize – 150 projects £50 million
NOF Digitize
A fairly recent survey by Alastair Dunning
at JISC revealed that most of this content
still exists, but effectively in a state of
suspended animation, without investment
or manpower to bring it to its intended
audience. 2009
Digital content
• There is much more to this than creating a
digitization service or a preservation
• Sustainability gap.
• The party is over – few grants.
• Revenue streams – the punters are going
to have to pay much more.
Into the Unknown
• These are competing agendas for archives
and special collections.
• It is going to be very very tough.
• The digital makes it even tougher.
• Special collections are largely a
humanities resource and libraries have
much wider constituencies.
• Even before the cuts budgets were under
enormous pressure.
Bigger, better and sustainable
• Mergers – Hull History Centre.
• Partnerships, particularly for digital
• Agreed national and even EU strategies
that are federal in outlook.
• Greater use of volunteers.
• Acceptance of higher charges.
Avoid the gulag - Existing business
models will not work.
• Plan for the worst and if it turns out better
then you feel good.
• Co-operate and collaborate.
• In the UK need for leadership now the
MLA has been abolished.
• Need for a strong unified voice that
straddles competing agendas.
• There are too many bodies with
stakeholder interests in the digital.