Monday, July 5, 2010

At I-CHORA 5 (conference post 2)

The conference on Friday was divided into two parts: morning and early afternoon sessions at the University College London(UCL) auditorium and then lunch and afternoon sessions at either The British Library or The National Archives. Since BSP has arranged for us to visit the British Library I was able to add myself to the list for The National Archives tour.

If you are interested you can review the conference program for Friday morning or Friday afternoon that I attended.

The morning sessions were focused on the technology and bureaucracy behind documentation, the early afternoon sessions on government archives and their response to new technology. I walked in to the first session and saw a very animated speaker, King's College Professor Paul Luff, waxing eloquent about new innovations in digital record keeping--digital pens, digital paper, technologies about which I only have a peripheral awareness. The idea of paper you could write on that would automatically transfer to a digital version is exciting--and a bit unnerving--we now might have to worry about penmanship all over again.

I found it hard to imagine what digital or electronic paper might look like so I found this image on Bing Images:

While all of the papers were interesting I found the presentation on email archiving by Jason Baron (NARA) and Simon Attfield (UCL) the most compelling: we all use email but do we really think about why and how it is kept? Now that email has been declared part of the "record" through legal decisions what is the best way to preserve and make accessible the millions of emails sent every day. Should we try to keep all emails? Should it be similar to the Library of Congress' Twitter project--or should rote office emails, forwards, and duplicate emails be deleted? Does the entire system need to be preserved or just the content of the email? All questions that the digital preservation community is only starting to unravel.

1 comment:

  1. It's funny, I'm totally cool with facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, and getting all my news online. But somehow digital paper, e-readers, and smart phones bother me. I guess I'm practicing selective acceptance of technology...