Blockchain: Applications and implications. The slides!

Thanks so much to our fantastic panel of speakers at this week’s session on blockchain. We have slides to share:

Peter Van Garderen: Introduction to blockchain and recordkeeping (Slideshare)

Payal Kapur: Smart Contracts: A deconstruction (PPTX)

To discover more about the cool stuff Hugo O’Connor does, visit http://bittradelabs.com/ 

We hope to do a proper write up and offer some ‘Roundie reflections’ on the fascinating issues raised on the day very soon.

 

 

 

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Blockchain technology: Applications and implications

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Christopher Watrous Ledger Book, Durham, February 3, 1812 (Vedder Library)

We are pleased to announce that the next Recordkeeping Roundtable event will be an exploration of blockchain technology, its applications and its implications for recordkeeping and archives.

When:
9.30am for a 10am start – 12.30pm
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Where: 
Seminar Room
ATP Innovations
Ground Floor, National Innovation Centre
Australian Technology Park
Redfern

Register now

About the event

Many people regard bitcoin and its foundational technology blockchain as the most exciting online innovations we have seen since the invention World Wide Web. Banks, governments and others are clamouring to use it as a basis for new, simple and low cost ways of doing business. Others see its potential for breaking down barriers of entry to marketplaces and the commons, bringing about a potentially fairer society in which value can be exchanged without the need for intermediaries. Continue reading

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Redefine, reinvent and disrupt: the Sydney Blockchain Workshops

This week I was lucky enough to attend the Sydney Blockchain Workshops, organised by the formidable women of COALA and held at the Powerhouse Museum. Before going on, I should say I will not be attempting here to explain the detail of how blockchain technology works and what its features are. Others are much better at this. Try this article from ex banker Antony Lewis A gentle introduction to blockchain technology if you would like to understand the basics.

Anyway, in no particular order, here are some of the things I saw and learned.

This wasn’t a tech conference. It was a conference about possibility and change – on almost every level of society, and across so many disciplines. Yes, banking and finance (there’s a reason the banks were falling over themselves to grab the blockchain experts who were in town this week, find out more here), but so much more. This technology has the potential to change the way we assign value, and transact with each other in almost every way. Continue reading

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Report on Trust Networks and Tigers: New models for archives and journalism

Last night the Recordkeeping Roundtable’s Cassie Findlay did a reprise of her ARANZ Wellington talk ‘Trust Networks and Tigers: New models for archives and journalism’. Thanks to all the tweeters in attendance – most of whom used #RkRoundtable. Here’s a sample:

 

 

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Trust Networks and Tigers: New models for journalism and archives

Come and join us for fascinating discussion on issues fundamentally impacting the future of our profession.

When: Wednesday 14 October, 5:30 – 7pm

Where: Seminar Room, ATP Innovations – Ground Floor, National Innovation Centre, Australian Technology Park, Redfern (directions)

Cost: $5 (snacks and beverages provided)LEGO-Blockchain

To register: Go to the online booking form

Cassie’s lecture, Trust Networks and Tigers – New models for journalism and archives, was first delivered on 26 August as the ARANZ Wellington Branch annual lecture.

Presented again for Sydney-based colleagues, Cassie’s lecture will argue that both the archival/recordkeeping and journalistic professions are going through fundamental change and risk extinction without significant and rapid evolution. Both are losing their grip on the forms of control that once gave them a monopoly; online, anyone can disseminate a story or construct an archive. Both are operating in the midst of the political forces that come into play around information access, and both are struggling to find ways to continue to fulfill their missions as a result. Questions of trust, power, authenticity and connectedness are central to understanding and responding to these changes, for both professions.

In this lecture Cassie will examine the rise of new models for journalism, including the world of leaks publishing, civic hacking and information activism, and consider the potential of emerging technologies such as the crypto-currency bitcoin and its underlying infrastructure, the blockchain. She will explain how for those of us in recordkeeping and archives, understanding and engaging with these movements can help us to challenge some of our assumptions and reimagine our methods to better meet the needs of a connected world.

Image: http://www.intelligenthq.com

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Trust Networks and Tigers: New models for journalism and archives

Roundies are on the road! Cassie Findlay will be presenting the ARANZ Wellington Branch annual lecture on August 26.

When: Wednesday August 26, 2015. 6.15pm. Light refreshments will be available from 5.45pm

Where: National Library building, ground floor. Corner of Molesworth and Aitken St

ARANZ_Lecture2015Please RSVP by Friday August 21 to aranz.wellingtonbranch@gmail.com

Both the archival/recordkeeping and journalistic professions are going through fundamental change and risk extinction without significant and rapid evolution. Both are losing their grip on the forms of control that once gave them a monopoly; online, anyone can disseminate a story or construct an archive. Both are operating in the midst of the political forces that come into play around information access, and both are struggling to find ways to continue to fulfill their missions as a result. Questions of trust, power, authenticity and connectedness are central to understanding and responding to these changes, for both professions. In this lecture Cassie Findlay will examine the rise of new models for journalism, including the world of leaks publishing, civic hacking and information activism, and consider the potential of emerging technologies such as the crypto-currency bitcoin and its underlying infrastructure, the blockchain. She will explain how for those of us in recordkeeping and archives, understanding and engaging with these movements can help us to challenge some of our assumptions and reimagine our methods to better meet the needs of a connected world.

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Rising to the challenge: Are records professionals up to the task?

TigerSome of us Roundtablers were honoured to be speakers at a conference at Beijing’s Renmin University in early June. Keynoting at that event was distinguished archivist and Roundie friend Hans Hofman.

Hans’s talk was on a subject many of us have been concerned about for a while. As many of our methods, assumptions and attitudes become increasingly out of touch with the realities of the world we are working in, are we recordkeeping professionals ever going to truly rise to the challenge? Hans examined the evidence and drew some of his own conclusions in this sobering, but critically important contribution to the conversation.Hofman_Rising to the challenge- Beijing June 2015-1 (PPT, 10.6 MB)

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Principles for recordkeeping metadata

As recordkeeping professionals we have not been very successful in conveying what we believe metadata for records to be and its uses. This has been played out in numerous conversations within and outside of the profession in the wake of the (meta)data retention push by the current government.

Example of an Entity-Relationship diagram by Pável Calado

Example of an Entity-Relationship diagram by Pável Calado

Do we actually share an understanding within the profession as to what recordkeeping metadata is and what it does? Can we agree? We Roundies would like to find out.

Roundtable co-founder Barbara Reed has said:

“Strictly defined and constraining specifications of recordkeeping metadata elements have failed to gain traction in the world of business systems. These models are needed as a canonical touchstone for reference, but these should not be the only desirable implementation model. Rather, we need to clearly articulate the principles by which our metadata approaches are to be measured. A recordkeeping informatics [1] focus would focus on:

  • the transactional nature of action: ensure that we acknowledge and capture the multiple entities involved in transactions
  • relationships: ensuring the multiple entities are linked to their actions in recorded form in ways that will enable them to be sustainable and interpretable over time
  • traceability, not auditing: being able to tell the ‘story’ of the transaction. The who, where, when, what, why and how the record (or other data) came to be what it was
  • persistence: ensuring that the identification of records of transactions is persistent and the links remain viable
  • re-usability: ensuring that the record in its entirety (including the metadata) is constructed and sustained in ways that encourage re-use
  • sustainability: that the records (including the metadata) remain viable through numerous system and technical environment changes
  • dynamic: the ability to add to metadata over time to allow new and alternative interpretations of a single event or transaction to be added to (not replacing) the record.”

We would like to test out these principles, by conducting a series of Q&As with implementers. People who are designing systems, migrating them and using them. People who work with data. Archivists, technologists and others.

Can they see the value in paying attention to this stuff? Are they doing it now? What would be needed to implement useful, business focused systems that adhere to these principles?

Our implementers will be from different work environments, but all will have some form of recordkeeping obligation inherent in what they do.

We’ll be posting again soon with further details of this event, currently planned for late April 2015.

[1] For an explanation of recordkeeping informatics, see Frank Upward, ‘Recordkeeping Informatics: A discipline under construction’, September 2011. Available at: http://recordkeeping.net.au/2011/09/06/recordkeeping-informatics-a-discipline-under-construction/

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Hey kids, do you like rhizomes?

Rhizomic archives? Our interest in all things blockchain and its applications for recordkeeping continues..

speculative materialism

Recent years have introduced profound evolutions in web technologies. Most significantly are new differentiations in blockchain technologies –namely, smart contracts, decentralized applications, and decentralized autonomous organizations.

Smart Contracts. Already in the early 1990s cryptographer and legal scholar Nick Szabo observed that combining digital protocols with user interfaces facilitated the creation of decentralized systems of contracts to hold, move, or divide-up any number of different classes of assets according to any rules pre-agreed to by its participants.[1] The problem, of course, was that no web technology actually then yet existed which were capable of addressing the complex of issues (e.g. the infamous “double-spending problem“, etc.) any attempts to implement an absolutely rhizomatic economy would convoke.

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Enter the Blockchain. Then in 2009 Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the first fully-decentralized digital currency, known as the bitcoin, which enables peer-to-peer transactions wherever there’s internet access. Until recently, media…

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Review of Preserving Complex Digital Objects

Janet Delve and David Anderson (eds), Preserving Complex Digital Objects, London, Facet, 2014.

In Neil Grindley’s introduction to Preserving Complex Digital Objects he explains that it aims to set out what is currently understood about dealing with complex digital objects and offer a broad framework for starting to manage and address relevant issues. The book is the product of a number of symposia held in the UK in 2011-2012 on different aspects of the preservation of complex objects, funded by JISC, a charitable organisation originally set up by the UK government as the Joint Information Systems Committee in the 1990s. JISC now champions and conducts research and development in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in learning, teaching, research and administration. Formerly devoting much time to digital preservation research and information sharing, JISC is now more heavily focused on research data management and sharing for the universities and other higher education providers that make up the bulk of its members.

The Preservation of Complex Digital Objects Symposia were set up to investigate the preservation of three types of complex digital objects:

  • Simulations and visualisations
  • Software art
  • Gaming environments and virtual worlds

The speakers at these events – the authors in the resulting book – came from a diverse set of backgrounds and include computer scientists, research data specialists, visual artists, academics, curators, digital humanists, gaming experts and a digital archivist. Continue reading

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