Poster Abstracts

The AERI 2015 Poster Session will feature 26 posters. Enumerated below are the poster presenters and abstracts. Poster presenters will find the Guidelines here. For more information, please contact the AERI 2015 Poster Session co-chairs, Dr. Lorraine Richards Bornn (llr43 [at] drexel.edu) and Dr. Michelle Caswell (caswell [at] gseis.ucla.edu).
Karen Anderson (Mid Sweden University)
The Role of the Archivist in Stockholm City’s Open Data Strategy 

In Sweden there is a long tradition of openness and citizens´ right to access public records. But with the implementation of e-government at all levels of government, a new perception of what openness means is developing: “open government” is a concept that seems to be more proactive. The City of Stockholm is one of the most progressive municipalities in Sweden in its vision for and approach to open data. The Stockholm City Archive plays a key role in the City’s Open Data Project and has developed a strategy for managing open data via the archive. Several independent political committees are involved and there is a risk that tasks may be doubly assigned, so the IT Department is working on a project to explicitly define roles and responsibilities and to develop routines and cooperation around open data.

Text analysis was used to identify definitions of open data and open government as they are used in Sweden and to analyze how the use of ‘open data’ differs from ‘public records’. Statements of intent presented in political decisions and strategic documents within the City of Stockholm concerning the role of the City Archives and archivists in digital information provision and management of open data were also sought. This case study interviewed stakeholders within Stockholm City as well as representatives of two external stakeholder organizations to explore the role of the archivist in managing, exploiting and accessing open data as public records in an open government environment. The internal interviewees included archivists, IT professionals and the manager of an administrative unit. The aim was to gain an understanding of the views and perceptions of these three professional groups concerning the potential roles, responsibilities and mandate of an archivist in this new public sector context. Some differences in definitions and usage of key terms such as ‘authenticity’, ‘reliability’ and ‘accuracy’ were encountered among the interviewees, with differing opinions about who is responsible for accuracy of open data.

Identifying shared concepts and defining their varying nuances in different domains may be a positive strategy for eliminating some existing uncertainties about archivists’ roles and professional expertise.

Keywords: Open Data; Stockholm City Archives; Archivists; Professional roles; Public records

Hang Cao (Shanghai University)
Study on the Loss of China Historical Archives 

China is an ancient country. The history of archives is very long, but due to the war, vandalism, improper storage, natural disasters and other factors, most of the historical archives have disappeared. In modern times, lots of Chinese history archives was shipped to foreign countries. Archives is the memory of a country and the witness of historical development, the loss of historical archives has brought great inconvenience to our research of the history of China, and undermined the continuity and integrity of the country’s cultural heritage. In recent years, some local Chinese archives began collecting historical archives from overseas, but it’s only a very small part of it. Our research investigate the reasons of loss of Chinese history archives and the loss of the distribution of historical archives, hoping through international cooperation exchange the archives’ copies, etc., improving the Chinese archival resources system integrity.

Lorrie Dong (University of Texas Austin)
The Institutional and Archival Social Ecologies of a State Mental Hospital’s Records, 1870 to Present 

I will present a paper on my completed dissertation. In my dissertation, I construct the social ecologies of records from a state mental institution in order to explicate the impact and value of the records to different groups and individuals over time, with a focus on the social implications of the organizational records becoming archival objects. I engage with the repercussions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 on the access of health information, and posit what are the social complexities underlying potentially sensitive institutional records in general. My research site is a still-active facility that arose out of the Reconstruction South, and exclusively served the state’s African American population until it was desegregated after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Through the theoretical frameworks of social constructionism, and specifically Actor-Network Theory, I examine the discursive work that mental hospital records perform in order to mediate relationships between people. The design of the research is rooted in sociological and archival activist research, so that I can focus purposefully on the power inequalities and silent participants within record ecologies. I collected data for my study from archival registers and minutes from several distinct eras in the hospital’s history and from interviews with people who currently have or had substantive connections to the creation, management, or use of the archival collection, including former and current facility personnel. In order to construct themes from the data, I used grounded theory with an emphasis on situational analysis and critical discourse analysis. By employing multiple means of analysis, I formed a longitudinal picture of the human and non-human participants involved in record-creation and record-keeping work at the hospital. I also developed several major themes, including accountability, classification, the development of psychiatry, and power, which point to the overarching institutional use of records to help bureaucratic bodies control various populations and maintain hierarchies. In illustrating how the records support and perpetuate hegemonic structures, I advocate for a pluralization of the stakeholders included in the discussions about if and how the historical records are to be preserved and accessed.

Chad Doran (University of Maryland)
The Government Gets Social: Preservation of Social Media Records at a Federal Agency 

Maintaining and preserving records has long been regarded as essential to the functioning of government and to related open government initiatives in particular. However, the literature identifies specific technology and policy-related challenges of managing and preserving social media records.   While there exists, in the literature, a limited examination, via interviews, on the management of social media content in federal agencies, a close analysis is needed to identify how social media records are being managed in practice.

The proposed study provides an in-depth analysis of this issue within a federal executive agency, utilizing a mixed-methods approach consisting of website review, document review, and follow-up interviews.

This study presents theoretical as well as practical implications. On the theoretical level, the study contributes to records management theory, application of information models, and the definition of the record in the social media environment.   On the practical level, this research provides recommendations to industry and federal agencies for the development of standards, guidance, and technologies for the management and preservation of social media records.

Nitoshia L. Ford (Dominican University)
We Must Document Ourselves Now: Black Feminist Archival Practices for Survival 

Archives have long been considered the scientific laboratory of historians, the powerful sites of uncontested authority and knowledge for “historical investigation”. The administration of archives ensured that a particular truth and historical account could be replicated from its holdings. The growth of cultural studies scholars utilizing the archives in their scholarship, and discovering what is not written, has led many to question the privilege of the documents chosen for preservation, the validity of this truth, and interrogate what legitimates knowledge. As the invisibility of minority groups becomes more apparent in these “truth” holding institutions, it is necessary for users to become ever more critical and proactive in their engagement. As authoritative history often guides social memory, the suppression of voices and subversion of character suggests a complicity of those groups in the mainstream representations; however, this is not the case.

This project examines the various methods of knowledge production, self-documentation, and history making by Black Feminists against the pervasive Anglo-centric bias of traditional academic and public archives and the history produced from them. In the 1978 essay “‘I Am Not Meant to Be Alone and Without You Who Understand’: Letters from Black Feminists 1972-1978”, published at the height of the Black Feminist Movement, Black Feminists Barbara and Beverly Smith highlight the importance of Black Feminists documenting themselves rather than depending on traditional archival institutions to value their place in history. Accordingly, Black Feminists have set about filling in the gaps left by traditional archival institutions. These community based archival practices are sites of cultural affirmation, political agency, intellectual expression, and healing.

Katherine Gallen/Jarvie (Monash University)
What Gaps Exist in the Archival Representation of Animal Rights History? 

This presentation will introduce a new appraisal ontology that resonates with the archival multiverse by incorporating the unique recordkeeping and archival needs of animal activist organizations. Illuminating and critically analyzing the gaps in appraisal artefacts and the archival representation of animal rights history will inform a functional analysis instrument that overcomes alienation of disruptive community voices. 

Key to this research is the role of the archivist to critically review dominance in appraisal practices and input into technological solutions that include multiple views and voices, to redress activist community memory loss.   

Jamila Ghaddar (University of Toronto)
For What Ends? Outlining a Research Agenda on Archives in Lebanon

Archival practice in the Middle East, and the scholarship that seeks to study it, must grapple with the dual challenge of, on the one hand, thinking critically about the transmission of western paradigms, methods and goals while adapting the insights and knowledge of a tradition most often associated with the west; and of combating the Orientalist tendency to essentialize the cultures and societies as timeless and monolithic, on the other hand (Mejcher-Atassi & Schwartz 2012, 1). This profound challenge is further exasperated by the general lack of information studies departments at the graduate level, not to mention programmes in archives and records management, in the region. Archival scholarship outside the region boasts an extensive literature, but one that deals largely with western archives and settings to the neglect of those of the Arab world, as well as other non-western settings. Hence, while much as been written about museums, archives and libraries (LAMs), this is not the case where the Arab world is concerned.

Against this background, my poster outlines the necessity, rationale and context of a research project that seeks to fill the gaps in our knowledge of archives in Arab settings. This research is concerned with how archives in and of Lebanon can show the lives of the country’s people outside of elitist and paternalistic frameworks, and within the conditions of ongoing war and material heritage destruction. In what circumstances and for what ends do archives in Lebanon and the region operate? What stories do they allow us to tell? And how can scholarship critique, intervene in, and make sense of them? In considering these questions, I aim to develop intellectual work that contributes to the multifaceted efforts of people in the Middle East to grapple with histories and memories of violence and conflict in the region. This research is situated within a larger body of relatively recent scholarship concerned with interrogating the dynamic and complex relationships between history, memory, material heritage and politics in an Arab world often stereotyped as hung up on its past, unable to change, and hostile to modernity (Volk 2008, 292). It also addresses the increasing interest of archival scholarship in exploring issues of memory, identity and power, as well as archives in non-western and postcolonial settings.

Works Cited:

Mejcher-Atassi, Sonja and John Pedro Schwartz (eds.). (2012). Archives, Museums and Collecting Practices in the Modern Arab World. Surrey, England: Ashgate Publishing.

Volk, Lucia. (May 2008). When Memory Repeats Itself: The Politics of Heritage in Post Civil War Lebanon. International Journal of Middle East Studies 40(2): 291-314.

Asen O. Ivanov (University of Toronto)
Authenticity and Value In Situ: A Case Study of Appraisal and Preservation Practices of Digital Moving Image Archives 

This poster outlines the background, theoretical foundations, conceptual framework, research questions, and methods underpinning my doctoral research on appraisal and preservation practices of digital moving image (film and television) archives. In my doctoral research, I intend to study the appraisal and preservation practices at two Canadian digital moving image archives. By comparatively analyzing the appraisal and preservation practices at two institutions that exist in largely the same socio-economic context but have different organizational structures and operational mechanisms, I will be ideally positioned to advance the understanding of the factors and processes influencing the determination of authenticity and value of digital moving image archives. The central argument underpinning my research is that appraisal and preservation in digital archives must be understood as kindred practices. This is because the question how to best describe the “significant properties” of digital materials for the purpose of digital preservation is inseparable from the question what is valuable about digital materials and necessarily must be preserved. I believe that this peculiar relationship between appraisal and preservation of digital archives deserves more scholarly attention than it has thus far received. Furthermore, I propose to analyze it in the context of digital moving image archives by drawing on theoretical literature in the fields of archival science, organizational studies, and practice theory and by using a qualitative research design. It is my contention that this analysis will shed light on the deliberations and processes through which the value and authenticity of digital moving image archives are identified, described, and possibly negotiated. In this way, my research will also contribute to the larger debate of whether the determinations of authenticity and value of archives are more accurately described as products of organizational practices or stem from the inherent properties of archival materials.

James King (University of Pittsburgh)
Archival Afterlives of Civil Rights Movements 

While the interconnected historical roots of the Northern Irish and American civil rights movements have been well documented, how those intertwined movements persist within archived materials remains largely unexplored. What happened, for instance, after the marches stopped and the placards, newsletters, and pins were no longer needed? While some materials—along with the photographs, scrapbooks, and oral histories that came later—may simply have remained idle on archival shelves, other vestiges of the these historical movements have been digitally reformatted and repurposed for educational and social needs. By charting the archival afterlives of these historic social movements, I hope to reveal to what extent the spirit of the movement continues on within those archives that disseminate and repurpose civil rights materials. Overall, my poster will describe proposed research into how digitized and anlogue archival materials from past civil rights movements in Northern Ireland and the American South continue to impact contemporary civil rights struggles. Specific research questions include, how have contemporary social justice actors drawn on archival materials of the historic Northern Irish and American civil rights movements to facilitate current civil rights struggles within both local and global contexts? In what ways have approaches to archiving civil rights materials in Northern Ireland and the American South intersected and diverged? And how and with what effect have present-day civil rights struggles drawn specifically on digitized and reformatted archival material? My poster will reflect the early stages of this project by describing my proposed methodology, showcasing specific instances of my research problem, and presenting any preliminary findings.

Ann-Sofie Klareld (Mid Sweden University)
eGovernment and the ‘Archive’ 

Introduction: What is an ‘archive’ in the context of eGovernment? And what could it be? An ‘archive’, or ‘archives’, can be described as a place, a system, an artifact, a growing organism; a knowledge resource; a prerequisite for democracy, and many other things. These perceptions continuously develop alongside technological achievements, political visions, etc.

eGovernment & information: eGovernment development means using the combination of information technology, organizational changes and new skills in public administration to improve the quality of public services, reinforce the democratic process and support community objectives. The creation, management, use and preservation of digital records requires a holistic view of information governance. Cedif, Center for Digital Information Governance, conducts research within Archives and Information Science with a special focus on business information.

Aim: My aim is to broaden and deepen the understandings of, and discussions about, ‘archives’ in the context of eGovernment.

Motivation: Realization of political visions and incorporation of solutions to practical problems need to be discussed in relation to existing administrative, legal and theoretical frameworks. Otherwise, there is a risk that inconsistencies are unintentionally built into the procedures, something that will affect the archives of today, and thereby of the future.

Archival and recordkeeping issues are closely connected with eGovernment, due to the strong focus on trustworthy information. My research focuses on current visions and change processes connected with archives and recordkeeping in the digital environment.

Methods: I use archival theory in combination with concept analysis and discourse theory to study definitions and development of new concepts, political visions connected to archives, and the effect of eGovernment on what an ‘archive’ is, and can become.

Elisabeth Klett (Mid Sweden University)
A Channel for Knowledge – the Future of the e-Archive?

This abstract presents the commencement phase of a study focusing on problems connected to appraisal of digital records in the light of new expectations on usability of public records. These expectations are emerging around the notions of open data, open access, e-governance and big data. A variety of smart solutions and e-services are being developed and implemented by public authorities in order to increase security, provide social and other services to citizens and to meet open data requirements for economic and democratic development. Within the administration of the City of Stockholm the number of systems and applications, and the amount of records in these systems and in communication channels is increasing, including systems that feed other systems with records across organizational boundaries. Controlling and taking responsibility for creating and capturing what is relevant and rejecting what is not is a question of wide scope for appraisal in the digital environment.

The Swedish Archival Act requires public authorities to capture, appraise and preserve public records for as long as needed according to certain interests identified in the Act. Swedish archival authorities are responsible for providing support to public organizations to ensure good records and archives management. They are empowered to regulate, supervise and give advice within their respective jurisdiction.

The aim of the study is to consider appraisal strategies necessary to meet expectations of the users of digital archives and to diminish risks to usability, quality and comprehensiveness if future digital archives. The study will focus on risks arising from appraisal policies, processes and methods which are largely based on traditional ideas, long experience and practices developed for paper records.

The research questions for this project are: How are appraisal policies, process and decisions on digital records in municipalities affected by the technological change from paper to digital records? How do stakeholders cooperate to take responsibility for the records that flow into and through systems for operations and e-governance? How does the distribution of power in the appraisal process affect the final decision? How well do the resulting archives meet the expectations of users?

The research will be situated in the city of Stockholm and in two other Swedish municipalities. In the next phase of the research project comparative studies with two other cities are proposed: one within the European Union and one in North America. This international outlook is interesting for two reasons. One; this is a common development in western countries, and two; there is governmental pressure emanating from the Public Sector Information (PSI) legislation in the European Union and in the statement on Open data from the G7 leaders, among them the President of the United States.

Allan Martell (University of Michigan)
The Experience of the Victims: the Forgotten Memory of the Civil War of El Salvador 

The polarized memory landscape about the Civil War in El Salvador is primarily comprised of two opposing memories: the anti-communist and the revolutionary. According to the anti-communist memory, the victims of human right abuses perpetrated during the civil war and the former guerrilla are the same group, which would imply their memories are also the same. This essay suggests that the mixed perception of both factions may be the result of the overlapping dynamics between the victims and the former guerrilla. However, the author contends that the revolutionary memory fails to account for the experience of the victims and argues instead for a nuanced vision that distinguishes the memories of the two groups. To support this claim, the author analyzes testimonies from victims told during and after the war. In contrasting both sets of testimonies, the author builds an argument about the militant component of the stories told by victims during the war, which differs from the emphasis on helplessness of the post-war testimonies. Victims in the post-war period do not link their memories of the abuses they suffered to militant statements neither in favor nor against any of the two groups who fought the war. The differences between the revolutionary memory and those of the victims suggest that deepening our understanding about the ways victims remember the war may broaden our overall understanding of how the civil war in El Salvador is remembered. In a society that remains divided over the memories of the war, adding nuances to the juxtaposed memories of revolutionaries and anti-communists may contribute to promote post-conflict reconciliation.

Lindsay Mattock (The University of Iowa)
Mapping the Independent Media Community

The ‘independent filmmaker’ is a phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s. The availability and affordability of 16mm film and video technology spurred production from amateur, independent, and underground film and video-production during these decades. This growing sector of independent media production worked in opposition Hollywood, the dominant force of media creation. With few resources and little support from traditional institutions, avant-garde and independent artists worked to legitimize film and video production as an art form.

This growth of independent media creation throughout the mid- to late-twentieth century was supported by a network of organizations, including museums, archives, artist collectives, and equipment access centers. Initially proposed as “Regional Film Centers” in 1972, these organizations were known as “Major Media Centers” or “Media Arts Centers,” and became part of grassroots movement to create a network of organizations supporting the production, distribution, exhibition, preservation, and study of non-commercial media.

This poster will report on the development of a Digital Humanities project aimed at tracing the legacy of the Media Arts Center Movement. Working in collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Art, this project will use records from the archives of the now defunct Film Section to generate visualizations of the network of organization and artists that fueled the growth of the independent media arts in the United States. The project aims not only to provide a clearer understanding of the Media Arts Center Movement, but to better understand the network of cultural heritage institutions that supported the exhibition and preservation of media art. The analysis of these datasets may suggest sites where hidden archival collections are located (like as the CMOA archives) and assist in the identification of key institutions that may hold collections of possible interest for archival institutions.

The poster will report on the design and development of the DH project, present the initial findings, and suggest ways in which this data can be re-used by scholars and cultural heritage organizations, such as archives and museums.

Nathan Moles (University of Toronto)
Exploring Conceptions of Users at Digital Repositories

In today’s digital world, scholarship, industry and the cultural heritage sector depend on continued access to the wealth of existing digital resources as well as those that will be created in the future. The process of preserving digital information for longevity however, is a complex and problematic undertaking. Unlike analog archival or archaeological items, digital objects require a process of nearly continuous change and migration in order to remain viable for the long term. The actions required to navigate technological change need to be considered in the context of the uses to which the objects will ultimately be put, the information needs of users, and the knowledge base through which they approach the data. These considerations are encapsulated by the Open Archival Information Systems (OAIS) concept of a designated community.

Scholars and practitioners working within an archival science paradigm, largely defined by analog media, have traditionally struggled with the need to modify digital objects out of concern it will compromise the historical legacy and are reluctant to allow users to provide input into preservation. Unfortunately, as software and hardware technologies change over time, an understanding of user characteristics will become increasingly important as a reference point if the digital resources in question are to remain usable in contemporary computing environments. The related fields of information systems and computer science have developed a range of tools for conceptualizing and modelling users for systems development. However, it remains unclear how effective these tools are beyond this process, or as a means for conceptualizing long term potential users.

Both of these perspectives must co-exist within digital repositories and play a role in preservation processes. The doctoral research reflected in this poster aims to contrast these approaches, exploring how repositories and information professionals navigate tensions between the two, with the aim of using insights from each to construct best practices for this crucial component of digital preservation. To this end, the target of analysis will be three specific dimensions of how repositories conceive of designated communities: how these conceptions interface with and are used in systems development processes; how these repositories achieve a balance between the authenticity of the digital objects in their care and providing digital objects that are usable in contemporary computing environments; and how the definitions and boundaries of designated communities correspond to the specifics of the domains they purport to serve. Although in its early stages, this research holds the potential to provide a critical evaluation of current approaches and the effectiveness of repositories in applying this concept. Constructive feedback from the broader Archival Studies community is being sought.

Angela Murillo (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill)
Investigating Infrastructure Factors of Data Sharing and Reuse 

This talk will present an overview and findings of a doctoral dissertation investigating factors that influence data sharing and reuse. This study specifically evaluates data sharing and reuse within the DataONE environment, an NSF DataNet. By using a mixed-methods approach this study evaluates both the sharing and the reuse sides of the data cycle.   This study investigated specific research questions: 1) What data packages (data, metadata, etc.) are being made discoverable through the DataONE?, and 2) How is data being reused through the DataONE?. To address research question 1, the researcher has conducted a quantitative content analysis of data and metadata that is being deposited into the DataONE. To address research question 2, the researcher has conducted a quasi-experimental think-aloud to investigate which data are being reused through the DataONE. This talk will present the findings of this investigation that provides an overall understanding of factors that influence data sharing and reuse within the DataONE, as well as provides an understanding of how these factors facilitate or inhibit sharing and reuse of scientific data. This understanding is essential for creating systems, assisting scientists with their long-term needs, and for education within the archival community.

Marianne Paasch (Aalborg University)
Digital Preservation Processes and Strategies – From a Danish Perspective

In the poster presentation I will present the initial empirical findings and analyses from my research contributing to the institute with a case study from Denmark. I will present how the Danish digital preservation strategy looks today, which challenges it faces and how my research can contribute to the ongoing debate of how we create digital archives in Denmark.

I will present a brief overview of my PhD project which seeks to study how the Danish local authorities have accommodated to the digitization of information in regards to the formation of digital administrative and historic archives. The study of the digital preservation processes (how and why records are stored) will be conducted at the level of the records creators (management, IT, EDERM-specialists etc.); on the level of archives (municipal archives specialized in digital preservation); and digital records which have entered permanent storage. The idea is to follow the records through their entire lifespan.

With the empirical studies and analyses as a point of departure I will contribute to a discussion of the current preservation strategies and also how we potentially can optimize the strategies to better suit the digital work processes. This will include international archival research in a debate about future digital archives; what challenges and consequences do the preservation strategies entail and how can we best take advantage of the development potential and new opportunities for digital archiving in the future?

Saara Packalén (University of Tampere)
Recordkeeping Professionals’ Perceptions of the Structure and Concepts of Functional Classifications in Finnish Public-Sector Organizations

Functional classification is a widely used and internationally accepted method for records’ organization. Also, classification by function is valued by recordkeeping professionals. At the same time, however, there is increasing acknowledgement that functional classifications involve usability issues and confusion of concepts, and that the classifications are inconsistently applied. “Functional classification” is an ambiguous notion in itself. In reality, classifications that claim to be based on functions may actually follow e.g. existing organizational structures.

In Finland, public-sector recordkeeping is strictly regulated. Generally, the guidelines, which are issued by the National Archives Service of Finland, are strictly followed. In Finnish public-sector organizations, function-based classification is a recommended method for organization of records and in widespread use. A typical functional classification system in Finland’s public sector has a three-level hierarchical, enumerative structure. The system’s design and decisions on its structure and concepts, however, are at the organizations’ discretion and are their responsibility. Therefore, actual classifications may vary even when the function in question is common to several organizations. The study was designed to create better understanding of functional classifications in practice and their structure. Hence, the study focused on recordkeeping professionals’ perceptions of the structure and concepts of functional classifications as used in public-sector organizations in Finland.

Data for the study were gathered via interviews with 22 recordkeeping professionals. The informants worked in three separate Finnish public-sector organizations, at various organizational levels. They acted as, for example, registrars, archival secretaries, and records-management planners. All of the case organizations reported that they used functional classification in records organization. The data were analyzed with qualitative methods.

Preliminary analysis of the data uncovered the elements that recordkeeping professionals perceived as suitable or problematic structurally and in the concepts used in functional classifications in Finnish public-sector organizations. A three-level hierarchy was usually seen as sufficiently deep. Concepts used in the systems were partly perceived to be too abstract and difficult to understand. Hence, the systems applied were not entirely intelligible even for the recordkeeping professionals themselves.

Katie Pierce Meyer (University of Texas Austin)
Creating and Selling CAD: An Examination of Computer Technologies for Architecture 

Architectural firms have been using computers as an integral part of everyday practice since the 1970s. With the shift to digital design and asset management within contemporary architectural practice, libraries, archives, and museums face new challenges in the acquisition, appraisal, and preservation of records. Firms produce and manage a variety of digital records – drawings, photographs, specifications, and correspondence – many of which are created using proprietary software. In addition to the digital files so generated, many firms still print and make changes on paper drawings and retain legally required documentation. Preserving artifacts to document architectural practice requires understanding digital record creation as well as the paper production of a firm.

Long-term preservation of records is not generally a high priority in the deadline- driven contemporary architectural environment, but preserving artifacts has been a high priority for archives that function as stewards of architectural materials. Changes in the way architects work and the technology used must be examined in order to develop criteria for preserving contemporary architectural artifacts. This paper will explore the history of technology development for the architecture industry and the diffusion of knowledge about computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) in architectural practice, with a particular emphasis on the flow of information between influential theorists, firms, professional organizations, and software companies.

Drawing on the American Institute of Architects archival resources, industry publications, and architectural theory, I will examine the changing use of computer technology in architecture. The focus is on changing technologies and changing practices, specifically how these changes over time have resulted in new artifacts with implications for archival preservation.

Heather Ryan and Jane Nelson (University of Denver)
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bits 

Why do people become archivists? Historically (and anecdotally) it was a deep love of musty, old records that drew people to the profession. While there have been many other motivating forces that inspired would-be archivists, it is most often that one hears of people seeking jobs in archives for love of “the stuff,” as evidenced in Kate Thiemer’s blog post, Honest tips for wannabe archivists (2012).

As a result of the continually advancing presence of digitized and born digital archival collections, the physical nature of archival “stuff” is changing. While there remains the physical imprint of digital information on floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, hard drives, and old computers; the aspects of these physical artifacts might not evoke the same visceral pull to the profession as musty, raspy, paper-based documents. In light of this shift in physical presentation of information, we are faced with the question: how does love of archival “stuff” translate to work in digital archives? What is and/or will be the pull to become a digital archivist?

To answer these questions, we will perform a survey-based study where we will invite archivists who work with both traditional and digital archival material to answer questions related to the aspects of their work that inspired or motivated them to join the profession. What motivates people to become archivists? What aspects of digital archives do or can potentially motivate people to seek out a career as an archivist? What, if any, motivational factors for becoming a traditional archivist are the same as those for becoming a digital archivist? What, if any, motivational factors for becoming a traditional archivist are different from those for becoming a digital archivist?

By answering these questions, we hope to expand the archival discussion on what it means to be an archivist in the digital age. What compelling intrinsic, evidential, or informational values are present in digital archival content that will draw professionals to the field? Are there other values inherent in digital content that are currently unexplored? In our poster, we will present our discussion of the topic, our survey design, and results we have at the time of the Institute.

Thiemer, K. (2012). Honest tips for wannabe archivists. Archivesnext blog. Retrieved from http://www.archivesnext.com/?p=2849

Pimphot Seelakate (University College London)
Standards for Archival Practices in the National Archives of Thailand 

The presentation is a part of research “Standards for Archival Practices in the National Archives of Thailand”. The aims of conducting the research are to explore the efficiency of two current standards at the National Archives and to analyse how the standards function and develop the archival practices in Thai society and a possibility of implementing other international standards in the archives in Thailand.

After the National Archives Act 2013 promulgated on 13 March 2013, records and archives are increasingly considered to be a significant source as an element to portraying national history in Thailand as they are information showing the facts, history and cultural heritage of the nation. At present, to manage the overall records and archives of Thai bureaucracy, it is obvious that the National Archives of Thailand (NAT) is a major institution that performs its duty according to the Act. However, it can be seen that the traditional archival practices of the practitioners in the National Archives under the current directives and standards are challenged by the changing environment in the present time, especially so in the digital age. The question has arisen about the indicator of effective performance to ensure the good quality of preserving a national legacy. Therefore, it is worth studying whether the current standards adopted in the National Archives if they are still valid and fit with the current changing environment. Also, it is interesting to consider the possibility of applying international standards relevant to archival practices in the local community outside the English-speaking world. Therefore, a study of the standards and results of standardising archival practices in the National Archives and its branches needs to be conducted to testify whether adopting standards can guarantee a better quality of archival practice or not.

The presentation is a summary of data collected from interviewing practitioners in the National Archives which covers 4 areas which are 1) the method of quality control of archival operation 2) opinion on efficiency of using/not using standard in workplace 3) their role or participation on standard and standardization and 4) the attitudes of archival professionals towards compulsory and voluntary standards and standardizing archival practices in the future.

Rebecka Sheffield (University of Toronto)
The LGBTQ+ Oral History Digital Collaboratory

This poster introduces the The LGBTQ+ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, an ambitious team endeavour that brings together 200+ previously inaccessible oral history interviews and connects these life stories with new methodologies in digital history, collaborative research, and archival practice. Supported by a 5-year SSHRC Insight grant, this project explores the histories of trans* people, queer women, gay men, and lesbians in the U.S. and Canada through the creation of a virtual research meeting place, the completion of four distinct oral history projects, a digital LGBTQ+ oral history hub, and a digital trans* archival collections pathfinder. As collaborator Elise Chenier has written, “In Canada, no single institution or archive actively supports and promotes the production and preservation of oral histories of lesbians, gays, or members of any other sexual minority group” (Chenier, 2009). This project seeks to change this. Collectively, this research will provide unprecedented historical insight into the lives of lesbians, gay men, queer, and trans* people from 1945 to the present in both the U.S. and Canada. This project is led by University of Toronto Associate Professor Elspeth Brown and embedded at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (CLGA). 

Heather Soyka (University of Pittsburgh)
Pedagogy of the Continuum: Critically Evolving, Always ‘Becoming’ 

This presentation will discuss possibilities for pedagogy that can facilitate critical thinking in archival education using continuum theory. Drawing upon educator Paolo Friere’s concept of “critical consciousness” as a bridge between theory and classroom, this presentation will consider and reflect on pedagogical approaches for archival education that foster the process of individual learning and development of critical thinking and information literacy skills. This presentation will assess strategies from archival educators in the literature for teaching the records continuum and for using continuum thinking to inform the archival curriculum. Discussion is drawn from a qualitative survey of the archival literature and a case study, which uses the continuum as a framework for understanding records.

More broadly, this research contributes to understanding how using, understanding and testing theoretical concepts can help to build a broader infrastructural foundation and reasoning for archival research and education.

Biyong Tan (Shandong University)
Undergraduate Education 

At present, China’s archival profession development is plagued with problems, which is one of the reasons for the lack of core skill and the system of professional qualification admittance in archival profession. From the point of view of professional competitiveness, the author analyzes the status of China’s archival profession & archival undergraduate education, and then points out that archival educators should scientifically locate the objectives of archival undergraduate education, rationally plan the archival undergraduate curriculum, actively explore the open teaching pattern of archival undergraduate education, which will impel the development of innovation in China’s archival undergraduate education. Besides, the author suggests that the top rank universities should carry out a special strategy to develop archival graduate program instead of undergraduate education.

Narissa Timbery (Monash University)
Beyond Animation: 3D Models and an Indigenous Community Archive 

My PhD research Beyond Animation: 3D Models and an Indigenous Community Archive is attached to the Monash Country Lines Archive (MCLA) which assists Indigenous Australian communities in the animation of stories that combine their history, knowledge, poetry, songs, performance and language to provide material for intergenerational knowledge sharing and learning. This is achieved through the use of world-class 3D animation to assist the sharing and preservation of knowledge and stories.

Throughout the MCLA project both the MCLA team and community have expressed concern about the preservation and future access of the material not used in the final animation.

The aim of my research is to design and develop an online interactive archive to enable Indigenous communities to access and use the 3D models that were used to create virtual cultural worlds that: 1. Is intergenerational in its appeal and usability 2. Easily customised to individual community needs 3. Upholds archival principles both Archival Science and Indigenous community.

While the research is specifically aimed at the access and use of the 3D models, dependent on the findings of what the partner communities want from the archive, the system may need to be flexible enough to include other material associated with the partnerships.

I hope to examine what are the specific cultural, social, functional and technical requirements for an online archive of virtual 3D models of Australian terrain, fauna and flora. In doing so, explore the concept of a sustainable living archive that reflects community protocols and archival principles through the use of innovative information technologies.

My research methods will be within a participatory action research framework. I hope to demonstrate my passion for archives and commitment to respectful research.

Diane Travis (University of Maryland)
The Vicarious Traumatization of Archival Professionals 

As archives take a more prominent role in collecting, documenting, and preserving materials related to traumatic events, archivists themselves face greater emotional and psychological impacts from working with such materials. These particular issues arise in archives of human rights materials, truth commissions, and accounts of war, disease, genocide, and colonialism, among others. Few archives researchers have acknowledged that archivists working with these collections may face heightened stress, leading the true nature of the impacts and their implications on the individuals and organizations to be understudied. Drawing upon research from several fields including archival studies, psychology, management, medicine, and emergency response. We will outline the approach was are taking in order to: describe these types of traumatic impacts on archival professionals, analyze the implications for archivists and archives, and propose ways in which archives can create work environments that mitigate the stress of the emotional work in rights collections.

Wenhong Zhou (Renmin University of China)
Towards the Equalization of the Basic Public Services from the Records and Archives Management Perspective: A Research Proposal

Providing citizens with basic public services is the main function of the Chinese government for meeting the basic need of citizens. Ensuring the equalization of the basic public services is one of the significant goals of the government in China. Records and archives are important public information resources that play a key role in achieving the goal of equalizing the basic public services. There are various strategies and policies including The government information disclosure regulations and Guidelines on strengthening and improving the recordkeeping and archiving under the new situation that have been formulated for facilitating the achievement of this critical goal. Researchers in both the archival field and the basic public services field have explored the adoption of various archival approaches including public scrutiny and participation for achieving the goal of equalizing public services. Equalizing the basic public services also provides a new perspective for records and archives management research on the development of service-oriented democratic government, leading to the formulation of new archival theories and methodologies that contribute to the equalization of basic public services. There are, however, specific gaps existent that need to be brought together for further study. Records and archives are not sufficiently supplied and used in the provision of basic public services. Not enough attention is paid to the mutual relationships between the equalization of basic public services and the records and archives management. Furthermore, there is the problem of dualism in research, such as emphasizing on the opposition and conflict between the mainstream and the marginalized, the rural and the urban, as well as citizen and government. A study to complement the gaps in research and practice is therefore significant. This paper proposes a research agenda to study the mutual relationships of both from pluralistic thinking. It aims to explore the mutual relationships between the records and archives management and the equalization of basic public services in the framework of the new public services theory. It covers the archival theory construction in a new social and technological context from the perspective of public services equalization by proposing specific concepts, principles and models on how recordkeeping and archiving facilitate the equalization of basic public services. With the research proposal, the paper enriches archival theory by embedding theory of public service and provides equalization of basic public service with archival method. Further, the paper implicates that recordkeeping and archiving facilitate performing different functions in practice and different functions also contribute to archival theory construction from various perspectives.