Archival Management

The Current State of Description for Archives

The Current State of Description for Archives

In July 1945, Atlantic Monthly published “As We May Think,” by army scientist Vannevar Bush, an essay that had an immense influence on the history of computing. Bush was concerned about the explosion of information without a means to quickly retrieve data.

The article described a device called a Memex, an intuitive, associative retrieval system designed to supplement memory. He envisioned a desk with screens that would allow users to view documents, add notes, and create associations through a body of work.

The Memex was a conceptual ancestor to electronically linked materials and, ultimately, the Internet. Bush’s ideas were expanded by Theodor Nelson who, in 1961, coined hypertext and hypermedia to describe the environment where text, images, and video could be digitally interconnected.

Metadata for Archival Collections: Challenges and Opportunities

Metadata for Archival Collections: Challenges and Opportunities

Metadata is one of the significant costs of digitization. Although archival items can be digitized without cataloging, a digital collection cannot be created and delivered without metadata.

Providing sufficient metadata promptly for the abundance of digital resources can create a bottleneck in a workflow. Creating and maintaining metadata about objects—and in particular digital information objects—is time consuming and costly. Metadata creators must provide enough information to be useful but cannot afford to be exhaustive.

Image Description Practices for Digital Archives Projects

Image Description Practices for Digital Archives Projects

Formal standards, such as Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS), Graphic Materials, and Rules for Archival Description (RAD), have been developed over time for the description of archival materials. While descriptive standards offer consistency, archival repositories employ descriptive systems suited to their holdings, not universal access, and description continues to be idiosyncratic.

Selection for Digitization – Best Practices

Selection for Digitization – Best Practices

The development of selection policies is a core component of digital projects, and many selection guidelines and criteria have been developed by institutions, national governments, and international organizations. Institutions need to validate their selection procedures for digitization concerning external criteria, especially with the increase of collaborations for digital projects.

In-house and Outsourced Archives Digitization

In-house and Outsourced Archives Digitization

Digitization can be performed either in-house or outsourced. In-house implies that a department of the institution captures the images—supplying hardware and software, trained personnel, and overhead. Outsourcing requires entering into a contract with a vendor who will receive the images, convert them, and return the originals with the required digital files. Both in-house and outsourced alternatives should be considered when embarking on a digitization project.