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New Humanist Archive — A Feat of Preservation

Tom Rodenby

Tom Rodenby

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Tom Rodenby works for Exact Editions


Every issue of the New Humanist and its predecessors dating back to 1885 is now available through the state-of-the-art digital edition developed in partnership with Exact Editions. We like to think that those historical issues have now moved into the ‘safe pile’. In their digital format, they will stride forth into the future to be read by new generations of readers and thinkers. 

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Against the clock: videotape digitisation and preservation now!

Stephen McConnachie

Stephen McConnachie

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Stephen McConnachie is Head of Data and Digital Preservation and Charles Fairall is Clifford Shaw Head of Conservation, at the BFI 


In the late 1950s magnetic videotape recording transformed the way television programmes were made, edited and broadcast. For a generation, the 2” Quadruplex format dominated the UK broadcast industry – the machinery was manufactured to military specifications and some 60 years on, it is still just possible to replay the jumbo-sized tapes. Extinction for 2” Quad came remarkably quickly, with production of the last machinery ceasing suddenly in the early 80s. A succession of smaller tape formats followed, each one providing more and more sophistication from less and less physical footprint; open reels were replaced by cassettes and analogue transitioned to digital.

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Digitally Preserving the History of CILIPS

Sean McNamara

Sean McNamara

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Sean McNamara is Acting Director of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in Scotland CILIP) in Scotland 


Libraries and digital preservation go hand in hand in Scotland. All across the country there are exciting initiatives ongoing in organisations such as the National Library of Scotland as well as Scotland’s thriving network of public and university libraries: ground-breaking projects only made possible because of the skills of Scotland’s library and information workforce.

With all the work that is going on we at CILIPS became aware that our own organisation did not have a strong digital history. Despite being over 100 years old (previously the Scottish Library Association) all our history was held in archives on site or with the National Library. With that in mind we decided to look at creating a digital archive via a timeline and highlighting notable people.

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Attention Please!

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Sean Barker runs a Technical consultancy on Enterprise Integration and Information Sharing for Products


Some time back long term data sustainment lost the attention of my main funders, so last month - when I retired - I thought I'd have a chance to return my attention to it properly. Unsurprisingly, my immediate attention has been taken up with VAT returns, no longer putting off redoing the kitchen and the magnificent local buzzards circling low overhead.

Attending to the right thing is not straightforward. A colleague once said that a managing director should have nothing on their desk, otherwise that becomes locus of their attention rather than the future of the company. Look at any Computer Aided Design (CAD) demo and your attention will be drawn to a complex 3-D part rotating to show itself off. However, the future in CAD lies in the change from drawings to models, something only hinted at by the dull text boxes at the display's edge and which did not grab your attention. Although early CAD did replaced the drawing board, the modern CAD model replaces the model shop where  skilled craftsmen would construct wooden mock-ups, For example, Airbus created a full scale mock-up of the A340 wing, said to cost a million pounds, but saving several times that through design improvements. Now model-based CAD saves the cost of building those physical mock-ups.

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Libraries and the future of their USP

Pamela Tulloch

Pamela Tulloch

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Pamela Tulloch is Chief Executive of the Scottish Library and Information Council


Everyone tells us we live in a digital world and to a certain extent this is true. As a librarian, I first started creating digital content in the 1990’s and looking back, what we were doing then, does look so last century now. These are the digital dark ages and yet the content which was created remains as relevant now as it was then. So much has changed in a few decades and how expect to access content has changed too.

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Preserving Knowledge – Are we keeping the right things?

Neil Jefferies

Neil Jefferies

Last updated on 23 November 2018

Neil Jefferies is Research and Development Project Manager for the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries Research & Learning Services


I feel that there is an increasing disconnect between the digital artifacts that we capture and the mechanisms used to create the knowledge that they embody. This contributes to some of the difficulties with preserving these born-digital materials in a way that effectively retains their meaning.

The seed for this train of thought has been my involvement in the Cultures of Knowledge project and the accompanying online resource Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO). The aim of the project is to use digital methods to reassemble and interpret the correspondence networks of the early modern period (roughly 1550-1750). This period is interesting in that it saw the emergence of a significant social network across Europe and the associated Empires, enabled by the development of postal services and increased population mobility. This resulted in an explosion of intellectual activity that laid the foundations for the Enlightenment and established patterns for scientific discourse that persist until the present day - for example, the foundation of The Royal Society and the publication of the first scientific journals.

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If they can’t agree on the plug, how can they ever agree on the metadata?

Miguel Ferreira

Miguel Ferreira

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Miguel Ferreira is Executive director at KEEP SOLUTIONS based in Braga in Portugal


“If they can’t agree on the plug, how can they ever agree on the metadata?”… This sentence has stuck with me for over 13 years now. It came about in the summer of 2005, when a DSpace user group meeting was about to take place in the beautiful city of Cambridge, in the UK. The meeting intended to give a voice to real-world users and to provide an opportunity for young developers such as myself to learn from the collective wisdom of all of those present.

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Preserving the past: the challenge of digital archiving within a Scottish Local Authority

Lorraine Murray

Lorraine Murray

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Lorraine Murray is Archivist at Inverclyde Council in Scotland


During my masters course where I studiedInformation Management, Digital Preservation and Archives at the Department of Information Studies (or as I knew it at the time; HATII!) at The University of Glasgow, I came to realise how useful it was to create and use digital content with the aim of making historical information and original source material more widely accessible. However, the successful curation, management and preservation of any digital object is an absolutely essential part of this process.

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I’ve never met-a-data I didn’t like (or why metadata can help us learn about digital preservation)

Kristen Schuster

Kristen Schuster

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Kristen Schuster is Lecturer in Digital Curation for the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London


I lecture in digital curation and exploring the relationship between curation and preservation is one of my favorite topics of discussion. I find these discussions so interesting because as a librarian I often find that, on the surface, I have a different understanding of preservation than my students. And, as a result, my examples based in museums and archives are initially at odds with their work experiences and career goals -- many of my students want to work in news broadcast agencies. The idea of long-term preservation making media accessible and usable for decades often alludes them… the news moves forward, not backwards after all! I was quite intrigued by the disconnect between my well-intentioned explanation that we create content – analog or digital – because we want to use and re-use it, and that use, and re-use help us establish narratives and understandings of events, people, places and objects. My efforts to explain file types, compression ratios and the joys of file structures fell flat and, looking back, this shouldn’t have surprised me. After all, connecting the importance of file compression to the activities (cough curation) preservation support is elusive when put in abstract terms.  So now, instead of pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism to try and relate to my students’ interests, I discuss how preservation can save us the time, effort and the frustration of having to re-create valuable assets or regret the loss of content. Instead of directly discussing file types and file structures, I enthusiastically convince students that metadata and practical methods for organizing content makes it possible for everyone to participate in the curation and preservation activities.

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Everyone’s a winner?!

Kasandra O’Connell

Kasandra O’Connell

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Kasandra O’Connell is Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive


 

Last year I wrote a blog for World Digital Preservation Day contemplating the progress the Irish Film Institute (IFI) had made in the area of Digital Preservation; this year’s WDPD sees the IFI join the list of nominees for the DPC Digital Preservation awards in the Safeguarding the Digital Legacy category taking place in Amsterdam as part of the WDPD2018 celebrations.

The project we are nominated for, The Loopline Conservation Project, is one that we have been working on for nearly 2 years. It is our first end-to-end application of IFIscripts – our suite of open source digital preservation tools created to automate our own digital preservation activities but also adopted by a number of peer institutions internationally. Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland www.bai.ie. the project has focused on cataloguing and preserving the output of Loopline Films, one of Ireland’s most important independent production companies, run by filmmaker Se Merry Doyle. This collection provides an unparalleled record of key areas of Irish history and arts from the 1990s to the present day, documenting a transition in Irish society pre- Celtic tiger and post economic crash. In addition to material chronicling the rapid social and economic change in Ireland during the late 20th century it includes interviews with international cultural figures such as Margaret Atwell, Martin Scorsese & Maureen O’Hara. In 2017 Loopline closed its studios and transferred its holdings to the IFI Irish Film Archive.

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