Day of Digital Archives, 2011

Today is officially ‘Day of Digital Archives’ 2011! Well, it’s been quite a busy week on the digital archives front here at the Bodleian…

The week began with the arrival of our new digital archives graduate trainee, Rebecca Nielsen. During her year here with us, the majority of Rebecca’s work will be on digital archives of one kind or another, she’ll be archiving all sorts, from materials arriving on old floppies to web sites on the live web.

Another of my colleagues, Matthew Neely, has been spending quite a bit of time this week working on the archive of Oxford don, John Barton. The archive includes over 150 floppies and a hard disk as well as hard-copy papers and photographs.

Barton’s digital material was captured in our processing lab back in the Spring of 2010, and now Matthew is busy using Forensic Toolkit software to appraise, arrange and describe the digital content alongside the papers. There are a few older word-processing formats in the collection, but all things that we can handle.

We’ve also been having conversations with quite a few archive depositors this week, about scoping collections and transfer mechanisms, among other things. There has been some planning work too, while we consider the requirements for processing the archive of Sir Walter Bodmer, which includes around 300 disks (3.5″ and 5.25″). For more on the Bodmer archive see the Library’s Special Collections blog, The Conveyor.

Today, I’ve spent a little time looking at our ‘Publication Pathway’ and thinking about where we need a few tweaks. This is the process and toolset that we are building to publish our digital archives to users (Pete called it CollectionBuilder, and you can have a look at a slightly out-of-date version of it here: We have a bit more work to do on this and our user interface, but quite a bit of material in the pipeline waiting to get out to our users.

To close out the week, two of our webarchiving pilot group are heading off to the DPC’s The Future of the Past of The Web event tomorrow, to learn more about the state of the art in webarchiving.

Lastly, I can’t resist returning to the start of the week. On Monday, we had a power cut and temporarily lost access to Bodleian Electronic Archives and Manuscripts (BEAM) services. An unsubtle reminder that digital archives require lots of things to remain accessible, power being one of them!

-Susan Thomas

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