Digital Preservation and Curation

There were several interesting articles regarding digital preservation and curation recently.

From LOC’s The Signal, Four Easy Tips for Preserving Your Digital Photographs simplifies steps to Identify, Decide, Organize and Make Copy. This truly is the easiest way for photographers to approach their preservation efforts, providing they also account for digital storage obsolescence.

Two charming blogs from the United Kingdom – one from the Gloucestershire Archives on preserving born digital items describes the process they developed involving their unique “SCAT (Scat is Curation And Trust) tool to ‘package’ digital deposits as ‘GAip’ files. GAip (Gloucestershire Archives Ingest Package) files are then stored in our dedicated digital archive along with their own unique ‘fixity file,’ which is a snapshot of the contents of the package and a way to verify that the contents have not changed during the storage period.”

On The National Archives blog, Leicestershire’s Folk Past in Pictures describes the learning curve in digital preservation projects, most notably with irreplacable glass-plate negatives. This piece contains some great examples of the subjects archived in the collection.




#InfoCampSEA: 5 Things (and More) from SPL Keynote

On Saturday at InfoCamp Seattle, we had the pleasure of listening to a keynote speech by the City Librarian of The Seattle Public Library, Marcellus Turner.

Turner has been in this position for over a year and hails from the Jefferson County Public Library in Colorado. You can read all about him here.

His speech included 5 challenges for libraries in general and then 5 solutions that SPL will employ to better meet user needs.

First, the 5 challenges:

  1. More segmented user groups ranging in technical savvy from the digital unaware to adapters to natives
  2. Change by process takes time
  3. Libraries have an image problem
  4. Libraries can be internally focused with solutions rather than externally focused
  5. Libraries are inflexible physical structures meant to house materials

How does The Seattle Public Library system hope to address some of these challenges?

  1. Increased hours
  2. Better collections
  3. Improved discoverability online
  4. More community events
  5. Focus on technology, the culture and history of Seattle, and the physical spaces

Mr. Turner’s speech was inspiring and thoughtful. I was fortunate to work on a project in the Central Library Special Collections when I was a student and SPL is a wonderful resource in a community that values libraries.

#InfoCampSEA: What is VRM?

I attended a session at InfoCamp Seattle on Sunday that kind of blew my mind. Initially, I thought I was too simple to grasp the concepts being bandied about, but then when concrete examples came to light, I totally got it.

Stuart Maxwell, IA and UE consultant presented on VRM – Vendor Relationship Management. The basic premise is control of all your data. Instead of a billion websites owning parts and parcels of you, a central repository stores your data and you decide what to reveal and to whom.

The website for the project itself offers a clearer explanation – Project VRM at Harvard. And, I am told, reading The Cluetrain Manifesto and especially The Intention Economy by Doc Searls is imperative to understanding.

I did get a few salient points from Stuart’s presentation, however. First off, wouldn’t it be great to only have to fill out or update online forms or registrations once not on every site you use? Also, wouldn’t it be nice if Nordstrom or Amazon, your preferred providers knew your tastes, but LL Bean from whom you only order a gift once a year for someone else did not keep bombarding you with sidebar ads for flannel shirts? VRM could make this real.

More importantly, concepts inherent to VRM could simplify the good old TOC or TOS – who reads these anyway? The site Terms of Service Didn’t Read is all about unifying terms and explaining them in easy to digest ways.

VRM could play an integral role in helping consumers control everything from health records to financial information to online profiles. It could change the world of e-commerce and create a lot of opportunity for information professionals.

Stuart has some other interesting stuff on his blog The Machine That Goes Ping.