How do we ensure that “meaning as well as content lies at the end of the road to discovery?”
Recordkeepers strive to contextualise, authenticate and preserve evidence. They create detailed descriptive tools and infrastructures as means to describe and manage records and to facilitate their access and use through time.
But are recordkeepers losing the battle to translate the meaning and value of this skill to an online world? As Chris Hurley asks, in the rapidly expanding information universe, are carefully contextualised archival collections at risk of ‘becoming just another quarry for digitised content, often indistinguishable, depending on how it has been googled, from other information resources available on the net’?
What can recordkeepers and others do to empower archival description in cyberspace? How can online tools be used to support contextual understandings and linkages? With open data, linked data, APIs and a semantic web, what does the future hold for online interfaces? And how can records be freed ‘from the prison of physical place, the boundary of a single repository, and inter-woven, descriptively, within the narrative to which they belong?’ [Chris Hurley, ‘Strength below and grace above: the structuration of records‘ (2011)]
Here’s a taste of what Tim will be talking about:
In the online world we’re generally comfortable with the idea that users exist at a distance — across the other side of our carefully-constructed ‘user interface’. But it’s just not true. All manner of tools and technologies exist that enable users to develop their own means of finding, using, manipulating, sharing and displaying content. Yes, archives are being hacked. Contrary to mainstream media portrayals, hacking is generally a creative act aimed at extending and improving existing software and services. How do we open our institutions to these sorts of ad-hoc collaborations? In this talk I’ll be exploring the hackability of archives. What’s possible now and in the future? Where are the benefits and where are the blockers?
And Richard will be talking about and demonstrating State Records NSW’s open data project and API: http://data.records.nsw.gov.au/
When: Wednesday August 24, 5.00 for 5:30pm – 7.30pm
Where: ATP Innovations Seminar Room, National Innovation Centre, Australian Technology Park, Redfern (map and directions)
Cost: Gold coin donation
Click to register
About our speakers
Chris Hurley is a Research Associate in the Records Continuum Research Group, in the Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University. He has worked in the recordkeeping field for both government and the private sector and is an internationally respected writer and thinker on recordkeeping. Since 2003, he has been Manager of the Documentation and Archives Centre with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Chris has specialised in the areas of archival description, archival legislation, and recordkeeping accountability. He was a member of the Advisory Board for the InterPARES 2 Project and is currently an Affiliate with the Center for Information as Evidence in the Department of Information Studies at the University of Southern California.
Dr Tim Sherratt is a digital historian, web developer and cultural data hacker who’s been developing online resources relating to archives, museums and history since 1993. He has written on weather, progress and the atomic age, and developed resources including Bright Sparcs, Mapping our Anzacs and The History Wall. Tim is currently working as a freelance troublemaker, as well as being an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Digital Design and Media Arts Research Cluster at the University of Canberra. He is one of the organisers of THATCamp Canberra and is a member of the interim committee of the new Australian Association for the Digital Humanities. He answers to @wragge on Twitter.
Richard Lehane is a (government) recordkeeper and archivist, and is currently a Project Officer in State Records NSW’s digital archives project. He established State Records’ open data project , and continues to work on its development.With thanks to our sponsors, ATP Innovations Image credit: National Archives Center for Advanced Systems and Technologies, Vizualising large / complex data sets. http://www.archives.gov/ncast