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Digital Archives in Communities – practice and preservation, 20-21 June

Digital Archives in Communities – practice and preservation, 20-21 June

Live notes, so an incomplete, partial record of what actually happened.

Tags: preservingcommunityarchives


My asides in {}

Day 1

10.00 – 10.15 Welcome: Introductions – Why are we here? Dr Sharon Webb

What does a digital archive look like? What does it feel like? How can we do it differently?

10.15 – 11.45 Session: The importance of community archives to identity and heritage

Jan Pimblett, City of London: ‘Working in Partnership. How Formal Institutions Can Support LGBTQ+ Community History’

London community archives. Lots of community history (eg LGBTQ) hidden. In the case of LGBTQ, the archives represent the change in that history: absences, emphases tell stories. For marginalised communities collecting, recoding and communicating their histories is political. Stating the obvious, but need repeating.

.@JanPimblett talking about accessing the achive and how collections describe the changes in LGBTQ+ history. Jan also questions the ghosts in the archive & descriptions of the past #preservingcommunityarchives

— Dr Sharon Webb (@wsharon145) June 20, 2018

Reputation of archives as the bolthole of the historian is true, but it is also true that archives have a wider demand and a wider function.

Alert to encouraging people to make history, record their testimony: especially in cases where people had previously kept nothing for fear of documentation leading to their arrest.

Pimblett: powerful reminder of the value of oral history work in #LGBTQ #archives - in the face of legal persecution, the only opportunity for some to contribute to a historical record in safety. #preservingcommunityarchives

— Laura Molloy (@LM_HATII) June 20, 2018

LMA is not 'our space' (that of the employees), it is a queer space, a community space.

You need to build trust around archives. They can't just sit. You need to do events, launches around them. That is a practical demonstration of 'this is your space'. "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer+ (LGBTQ+) people have always been part of the fabric of London yet our histories have been marginalised. Speak Out is a call to action to put LGBTQ+ lives and experience back into the historical record."

The world has always been full of ephemera. Social media is just a form of ephemera. "You ain't gunna save it all". Archives are all a selection.

The tsunami of digital data has arrived, it is not coming - are we ready? ‘The world has always been full of ephemera & social media is ephemera…you ain’t going to save it all’ @JanPimblett #preservingcommunityarchives #digitalpreservation @SussexHumsLab

— Dr Sharon Webb (@wsharon145) June 20, 2018

Preservation requires community input, desire, will, energy.

Lesley Wood, David Sheppeard, Queer in Brighton: ‘Queer in Brighton’

Queer in Brighton. 'BrightonOurStory' archive. Ran for 24 years from 1989. But lost momentum and became burden on. Shortly after getting Lottory funds for Queer in BrightonOurStory fell apart: some at The Keep, some skipped, many issues around permissions.

David Sheppeard talking about BrightonOurStory as inspiration for the #QueerinBrighton project and the fragility of community archive #preservingcommunityarchives #

— Dr Sharon Webb (@wsharon145) June 20, 2018

Inconsistency across a community project both a problem and a joy (but mostly a problem..): content often good but material unusable. Overwhelmed by desire to be involved. People changed their minds about permissions. Caused problems with Google cache keeping stuff that people wanted removing. HLF don't require digital archive planning or training, perhaps a flaw of the scheme.

#preservingcommunityarchives Wood: every grant from HLF [and other public funders] should include compulsory budget line for [digital preservation] expertise and skills training. Yes!

— Laura Molloy (@LM_HATII) June 20, 2018

Queer in Brighton highlights the right to be forgotten as a challenge when community contributors change their mind about content online #preservingcommunityarchives #digitalpreservation

— Dr Sharon Webb (@wsharon145) June 20, 2018

We’re having lots of chat at #preservingcommunityarchives about anonymisation of qualitative interview data, and how to get expertise. UK Data Service has FREE advice resources: e.g.

— Laura Molloy (@LM_HATII) June 20, 2018

Engaging with museums/archives early on to ensure that community collections are museums/archives 'ready' is vital if you want those collections, ultimately, to be deposited.

#preservingcommunityarchives I worry there’s a conflation between Creative Commons use, which is licensing; and informed consent issues, which are legal and ethical questions. These things are different sets of issues - the former doesn’t sort out the latter! #digipres

— Laura Molloy (@LM_HATII) June 20, 2018

#preservingcommunityarchives Excellent comment from @LondonLabrish on community archives, the (lack of) copyright skills/knowledge within communities that create archives, and the (lack of) support available for them to understand how to CC licence collections.

— James Baker (@j_w_baker) June 20, 2018

12.00 – 13.00 Session: Community Archives as ‘Endangered Digital Species’

Paul Wheatley, Digital Preservation Coalition: Title TBC

'Bit List' of Digitally Endangered Species .. digital preservation works best when the users doesn't know about it .. software is the hardcore end of digital preservation, but the mundane end is important as well: human error, duplicate file names, Dropbox is not a preservation strategy .. assume nothing, validate everything (eg, number of files you have, that they are the format they are supposed to be) .. technology problem is a solved problem if you have the money, but resources - usually people - are always insufficient ..

#preservingcommunityarchives I'm hearing from people who run community archives. Re digital I'm struck by: anxiety over loss; trust in physical; passionate desire for stable digital software/platforms; gap between that desire & the unstable reality of digital software/platforms.

— James Baker (@j_w_baker) June 20, 2018

Jack Latimer, Creative Director, Community Sites: ‘Community Archive: The ways things go wrong’

Community archives are typically small, unfunded, older age

Community Archives have a satisfaction in their own autonomy - they are rightly proud of this. Biggest problem, is recruiting new volunteers. Crisis point is when one person becomes the only gate-keeper #preservingcommunityarchives #digitalpreservation @community_sites

— Dr Sharon Webb (@wsharon145) June 20, 2018

Community Archives boomed thanks to three things: flatbed scanner to make, WWW to publish, Heritage Lottery for money. But HLF offers no long term, business as usual.

Now we have Jack Latimer from Community Archives. Great point: "Your archive is what you can export out of the software, not the software itself.” #preservingcommunityarchives

— Laura Molloy (@LM_HATII) June 20, 2018

#preservingcommunityarchives I'm hearing from people who run community archives. Re digital I'm struck by: anxiety over loss; trust in physical; passionate desire for stable digital software/platforms; gap between that desire & the unstable reality of digital software/platforms.

— James Baker (@j_w_baker) June 20, 2018

14.00 – 15.00 Session: Community Digital Archives: approaches, practice, challenges

Dr D-M Withers, University of Sussex ‘Speculative Pedagogy: Re-imagining the archive as an institutional and social location in digital societies’

Nice to see a shout-out by D-M Withers for the @PericlesFP7 project - great to see EU-funded research having positive impact on public-facing community archives #preservingcommunityarchives #digipres #loveEU

— Laura Molloy (@LM_HATII) June 20, 2018

Some of the outcomes identified by D-M: better understanding of barriers and opportunities faced (technical, institutional, temporal, pedagogical), understanding of potential tools and potential networks to interact with #preservingcommunityarchives #digitalpreservation

— Dr Sharon Webb (@wsharon145) June 20, 2018

D-M: ‘Speculative Pedagogies’ - 'what the digital archive “might be” through educational encounters. The digital archive is “not yet” and “to come”’ #digitalpreservation #preservingcommunityarchives

— Dr Sharon Webb (@wsharon145) June 20, 2018

Loss of intimate relationship with what we create in a digital age .. mind, body, hand the full circuit of creating knowledge .. embodied encounters with digital grammar as a means of understanding collections ..

Inspiring speculative work from D-M Withers about the need to, inter alia, attend to the grammar of the digital, and how our archival activities - such as metadata creation - can be political and underscore our social relationships. … #preservingcommunityarchives

— Laura Molloy (@LM_HATII) June 20, 2018

So pleased to hear someone directly tackling the social and political outcomes of infrastructure development, particularly from a feminist standpoint. #preservingcommunityarchives

— Laura Molloy (@LM_HATII) June 20, 2018

Lisa Redlinski, Radical Brighton: ‘Radical Brighton’

Alternative, life, freak, radical, hippie press. Value of alternative papers being publicly available. Provide counters to public narratives. Librarians for Social Change (who were at Sussex!):;

15.15 – 16.15 Session: Community Digital Archives: approaches, practice, challenges

Orla Egan, Cork LGBT Archives:‘Out of the basement: creating the Cork LGBT archive’

If you are a skilled carpenter you can build a beautiful wardrobe...if you are not you may need the IKEA model! @OrlaEgan1 metaphor for necessity of using out of the box solutions, Omeka,for the @CorkLGBThistory #preservingcommunityarchives #digitalpreservation #communityarchives

— Dr Sharon Webb (@wsharon145) June 20, 2018

Omeka site: .. Motivation of archive to move LGBT narrative from Dublin centric perspective .. argued fair dealing .. controlled vocabularies often don't work or are inappropriate (pejorative) for LGBT archives: Homosaurus as an alterative

Egan: How do we do metadata description in a standardised way, when some major controlled vocabularies are unacceptable for ethical description of e.g. some queer communities? #preservingcommunityarchives

— Laura Molloy (@LM_HATII) June 20, 2018

#preservingcommunityarchives Key theme of this afternoon: old metadata is political; new metadata is political; metadata standards are political; metadata categories are political; controlled vocabularies for metadata creation are political; archival work is political.

— James Baker (@j_w_baker) June 20, 2018

Andrew Flinn: challenges of community archives on archival practice, demanding representation .. Jamie Ann Lee (2015) queering the archive, not just adding a bit of LGBT to an archive but rather upsetting structures that are designed to exclude .. by daring to archive the way I want to, I am a queer archival activist

.@OrlaEgan1 is daring to archive, she describes herself as a ‘Queer archival activist’ to ensure the archive reflects the community and the community is reflected in the archive #preservingcommunityarchives #digitalpreservation

— Dr Sharon Webb (@wsharon145) June 20, 2018

Kevin Long, Digital Repository of Ireland: ‘From our side of the table: a digital repository’s experience of working with community archives.’

Launched 2015, consortium, long term govt funding to preserve digital objects and data .. Trusted Digital Repository: 'peer review from the community'. List of services that have TDR seal .. DRI offers services to community archives: preservation, publication, control .. OA as much as possible ..

Supporting community archives in sharing and problem solving #preservingcommunityarchives

— Jan Pimblett (@JanPimblett) June 20, 2018

Working on batch import into Dublin Core: easier to teach people how to clean their spreadsheet (OpenRefine) than learn Dublin Core .. also, test runs of ingest, early stage input to help communities develop their work, advice / trusted vendors on digitisation .. collaborators groups like

Some admin...

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