Writing about the April reading group in June? What!? Yes.
The April readings were set to be discussed on May 1, but that got pushed to May 8. And then that day just didn’t work out. What have I learned so far from organizing a work reading group? People (myself included) are busy. What else have I learned? Pick a day/time each month, stick with it, and send a reoccurring calendar invite. The monthly schedule dance is annoying to figure out. Spread around responsibility for picking readings and leading discussion — this is the biggest roadblock (see also: people are busy).
April’s readings were metadata focused.
One was an older article from Code4Lib (issue 22, 2013): From Finding Aids to Wiki Pages: Remixing Archival Metadata with RAMP by Thompson, Little, Gonzaelex, Darby and Carruthers. The other was a new article from the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies on the EAC-CPF standard from Katherine M. Wisser.
RAMP is a neat project and I like the idea of making the most of finding aid data in innovative (and fun) ways, but I wondered if this method violates the norms of Wikipedia editing. An article consisting of references only from one institution’s finding aids might be considered insufficient and biased. It seems like the RAMP project is actually focused on adding new information to existing articles though, so conflict of interest issues probably aren’t likely. The RAMP team mapped EAC-CPF tags to Wiki Markup like: biogHist/p > historical/biographical notes; resourceRelation creatorOf > works/publications; resourceRelation subjectOf > further reading. This mapping allows the data from EAC-CPF to be inserted appropriately into existing Wikipedia articles in a flash.
Wisser’s article was a nice pairing for this month because she investigates the uses of EAC-CPF and archivists’ understanding of relationships and context.
There are several areas to explore in understanding relationships as a component of archival description. What relationship types are considered crucial? What about the strength of relationships: do relationships that are fleeting have the same imperative for description as long-standing relationships, and are there metrics that will allow archivists to make an assessment of the strength of a relationship between two entities? Are all relationships bidirectional? If so, does each direction warrant description? These are just a few of the issues surrounding the explicit identification and description of relationships. (Wisser, pg. 2)
Wisser conducted a qualitative survey to begin exploring these questions and the potential impact of EAC-CPF. Well worth the read.
In the original plan for the group, there was a break planned for May/June, so we’re on schedule there at least! For now, I’m thinking about the future of the reading group as well as reevaluating the purpose of my original plans for the Reading Notes series on this blog. Stay tuned.
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!