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.