marac spring 2011 conference

09 May

Last Friday, I attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) Spring 2011 Conference in Alexandria, VA.  I did a terrible job at taking notes that day, but below are some of my takeaways.  Rand Jimerson, who I mentioned in this post, spoke at the plenary session on “Archival Ethics and the Call of Justice” — but sadly I missed out on most of his speech since I was setting up my student poster (which you can check out here).

New Tools to Address Electronic Records

  • electronic records problems from the user’s perspective: content in unsupported formats, increasingly complex files (containing not only text, but images, audio, etc.)
  • Conversion Software Registry is a search engine to help find software that will convert a specific file format to a desired one.
  • NCSA’s Polyglot is a conversion engine and universal content viewer.
  • UK’s National Archives developed PRONOM, a database that provides technical information about preserving electronic records.

Challenging Western Archival Concepts

  • The development of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials is part of a larger movement of indigenous populations to gain control of their cultural heritage.
  • The meaning of “privacy” is culturally specific and ever evolving — the legal idea of personal privacy is rather young, only in the past 150 years.
  • Recommendations for dealing with cultural materials: have consultations with the community; provide graduated access based on cultural protocols; extend privacy to groups, not just individuals.
  • Digital surrogates can be shared vs. physical objects can only be kept by one entity.

Social Media Sensations: Creative Possibilities for Archives and Web 2.0

  • Different uses of social media: for publishing, engagement, and participation.
  • Social media for publishing is generally packaged content with little interaction.  It’s the same content in multiple channels — it raises awareness.
  • Social media for engagement generally provides a story, contest, ability to share and rate, or some conversation.  There is a personal tone, and it’s engagement without commitment — it gives you a fuzzy feeling.
  • Social media for participation creates partners, as it requires more user commitment and has a well-defined purpose.  Examples are transcription projects such as the New York Public Library’s “What’s on the Menu?”
  • Archives 1.0 was about stuff, Archives 2.0 is about archivists, and Archives 3.0 (the future) is about people.
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Posted by on May 9, 2011 in conferences



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