reading notes: ADC reading group introduction!

It turns out that several of my colleagues are also interested in making time for professional development reading! The result has been the development of the Archives and Digital Curation (ADC) reading group. I’m the primary organizer for the group at this point. So far, this has involved providing a list of possible readings and facilitating a vote for selecting readings, scheduling a discussion time and room, prepping discussion questions, and providing a recap of discussion notes. Whew! It is a lot of work, but valuable. I’m sure the process will change over the next few meetings. Finding a sustainable and productive way to facilitate the meetings is key — I hope to post about the process of developing the group in the future.

Read on for a recap of our discussion!

February 2015 Selected Readings

  1. Redwine, et al. Born Digital: Guidance for Donors, Dealers, Archival Repositories. (2013)
  2. DeRidder and Mathney. (2014). What do Researchers Need? Feedback on use of Online Primary Source Material. D-Lib Magazine.
  3. NDSA National Agenda 2015 (executive summary or full report if you want to)

These readings are an interesting group. Two ends of the digital collections spectrum are represented – initial acquisition (#1) and access (#2). And then there is a general assessment of the entire landscape of digital curation of 2015 (#3).

The group talked about a range of things such as:

  • discussing access with donors/dealers at acquisition, gathering user stories for access of digital archives
  • trying to manage expectations and meet needs of so many researchers and donors
  • the difficulty of meeting access needs when other fundamental organization/technological infrastructure has gaps (e.g. robust metadata is central for digital humanities). This is a challenge for institutions of all sizes
  • researchers aren’t expecting anything too crazy for access of digital archives – they are looking for functionality they see elsewhere, they are looking for usability they find elsewhere. Need to advocate that improving digital libraries isn’t a technology issues – it’s an investment issue. We need consistent investment in technology, developers, maintainers, metadata, etc.
  • How do we provide good instruction and description of the features, content and functionality of our digital libraries to remote researchers?
  • Importance of transparency in donor/dealer relations about access expectations and goals
  • Important to be transparent about changes to online access (e.g. digital art no longer works – but that was intent of artist; discover copyright issues after the fact) so researchers know explicitly why access is restricted, gone, or available.  DeRidder’s participants did not like to have ambiguity as to why searches didn’t  work.
  • Importance of technical and organization infrastructure for making progress in areas addressed by all three readings.

Which all connects to NDSA Agenda: We need guidance/ideas/examples for scalability for making digital preservation, metadata and access work at institutions with different funding models!

We sure do!

Coffee: We didn’t have coffee or snacks! Who planned this thing? Next time.

The reading notes posts found on this blog are intentionally question-filled and causal. This particular post serves as a sort of open journal record of the Archives and Digital Curation Reading Group. We welcome suggestions for future readings—current or archival!

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