Personal archiving : preserving our digital heritage Ed. Donald T. Hawkins | review

Personal archives | Digital preservation | Electronic records managment

Reviewer: Stephanie L. Gross, MSLIS


Personal archiving : preserving our digital heritagePersonal archiving : preserving our digital heritage by Donald T. Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewer bio:

I am an academic librarian whose primary responsibility is to oversee the electronic reserves component of Springshare LibGuides. Recently I was appointed to serve on the task group to explore, report and advice the establishment of an institutional repository at my university. Having already read much literature concerning IR, I have begun widening my reading to include material that examines IR and its various components from a variety of viewpoints, academic, technical and personal.

Review:

This book is an anthology created by specialists in libraries, archives and technology. It is a rich, yet succinct, volume compiled as a primer for lay individuals who are involved in archiving personal material. Much of the focus is on preserving, organizing and sharing memorabilia. However, true to expectation, an equal emphasis is given to the preservation of digital files from various formats. Some attention is devoted to records management, although that is from a more introductory, philosophical perspective. What I believe to be the strength of this work is its practical advice to both lay and professionals alike. It is specific and technical enough to satisfy academic librarians who are not trained as archivists. Often we are tasked with aiding and guiding library users (students and faculty) in the preservation of their personal data. Those who are interested in understanding specific aspects of establishing and maintaining an institutional repository, including the compilation and promotion of best practices will certainly need to research further. However, this handbook does indeed list and annotate various resources (e.g. Library of Congress, Internet Archives) which is extremely helpful. There are two chapters dedicated to the preservation of email from faculty, scholars and researchers. Much is made of the chronic conundrum of “store and ignore”, benign negligence, concerning the backing up of files and precious data. The mandate to keep up with current technology, upgrading equipment and the appropriate hardware and software is underscored. (A pitch for able institutions to take on this responsibility is made, especially regarding work by scholars and communities.) Budgeting is given sufficient space to gain an appreciation of the magnitude of the demands on resources, both monetary and human. The final chapters look into the future, including intelligent discussions and projections relating to issues of ownership, copyright and social media. Although various software firms and websites are mentioned by name and have already disappeared by the time of this writing, their absence does not diminish the usefulness of their mention. The principles and philosophy of the services remain valid into the present.

Recommended audience:

Public libraries, academic libraries, special libraries, archives, museums

Recommended added subject heading:

Institutional repositories.
Digital libraries.

View all my reviews

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Librarians of the 21st: The Ultimate Superheroes of Research

Librarians | Archives | Career advice

Stefanie Maclin-Hurd | June 15, 2017

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There’s a reason why, when you meet a librarian for the first time, she sometimes looks hesitant to tell you what she does for a living—we’re far too used to sharing our profession and hearing that libraries are dead because of Google. (They’re always shocked to hear that libraries are actually far more alive because of Google.) And even regular library patrons are sometimes shocked by the amount of research and reference that are part of a library’s daily work. In this essay, Stefanie Maclin-Hurd uses her wide range of library jobs to demonstrate that for all its changes, librarianship in the 21st century is still very much about research.

–Stephanie Anderson

I learned research before I learned to catalog, if one considers digging through websites as a high school student to be research. When considering the whys of being a librarian, research was something I knew I wanted to do. Not just because I loved to learn, but because I needed to know the reasons why behind each thing I learned. If I read a book, I needed to know what was true and what was enhanced, and research was the way to do it. In learning how to be a librarian, this need to know, this thirst for knowledge, was welcome. I studied archives in library school, and loved that I was able to search for the meanings and history behind the objects I was studying. Research is something which has followed me into every library and every archives job I’ve held. Research has made me a better librarian. Read article

 

 

Preserving U.S. Government Websites and Data as the Obama Term Ends

Archives | Internet |Government websites

Jefferson December 15, 2016

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Long before the 2016 Presidential election cycle librarians have understood this often-overlooked fact: vast amounts of government data and digital information are at risk of vanishing when a presidential term ends and administrations change.  For example, 83% of .gov pdf’s disappeared between 2008 and 2012.

That is why the Internet Archive, along with partners from the Library of Congress, University of North Texas, George Washington University, Stanford University, California Digital Library, and other public and private libraries, are hard at work on the End of Term Web Archive, a wide-ranging effort to preserve the entirety of the federal government web presence, especially the .gov and .mil domains, along with federal websites on other domains and official government social media accounts.

While not the only project the Internet Archive is doing to preserve government websites, ftp sites, and databases at this time, the End of Term Web Archive is a far reaching one.

Read more…

002: The French Dressmaker (1906)

Podcast | Archives | Women’s Studies | US in the 1900s | Immigrants in the US

In this episode we hear from twenty-five-year-old Amelia des Moulins, a French dressmaker and immigrant living in New York City. Amelia came to the U.S. in 1899. Amelia talks about life in Paris before coming to the U.S., the fashion industry in Paris and New York, and her hard work to be a success in a new country. Her story was collected as part of an anthology published in 1906, titled, The Life Stories of Undistinguished Americans. The anthology was edited by Hamilton Holt, editor and publisher of the liberal weekly The Independent and later president of Rollins College.