Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Electronic records potpourri

Lots and lots of stuff relating to electronic records (and Web 2.0) this week . . . and it's only Tuesday.

This week's New York Times Sunday Magazine features a lengthy article about data centers -- those huge, ever-growing, geographically dispersed, and interconnected banks of servers that support Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Blogger (l'Archivista's host), and Web-based e-mail, gaming, and applications. If you've ever wondered what makes all this stuff work (and how much power it consumes), this article furnishes a good non-technical overview . . . .

. . . . And if you've ever wondered about the robustness of the networks that support our online lives, check out what's happening in Iran: the government may be limiting access to social media in an effort to hamstring the opposition, which has been using Twitter and other tools to coordinate protests and disseminate information. (More info here, here, and here. If you want to see how these tools are being used, Andrew Sullivan and crew have been compiling and linking to English-language information sent out by Iranians involved in the protests. You can also follow real-time updates on Twitter.)

The Spring/Summer 2009 issue of the American Archivist is out, and it includes articles concerning cell phone-generated archival records, collaborative efforts to preserve electronic data, and conversion of electronic records to preservation formats.

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration anticipates that President Obama's administration will create petabytes of archival electronic records.

Ian Wilson, the just-retired Librarian and Archivist of Canada, reflects upon Library and Archives Canada's digitization program, efforts to capture the federal government's Web presence, and records management initiatives.

Finally, every electronic records archivist has to contend with vendors that believe (or at least hope) that they've managed to develop a permanent storage medium for electronic records. Invariably, each vendor is the sole source of the medium it trumpets, and after a while the high-pressure sales pitches and breathless news releases make one a bit cynical -- which is why Bruce Sterling's snarky reaction to a giddy news article about a nanoscale storage research project brought a big smile to my face.

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