Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Best Practices Exchange wrap-up

Picacho Peak, Pinal County, Arizona, as seen from Interstate 10, 1 October 2010.

Now that I've had a little time to reflect upon the 2010 Best Practices Exchange (BPE), here are a few final thoughts I want to share:
  • Archivists and digital forensics investigators have similar needs: both need to produce exact copies of the files with which they work and to document their own activities. However, archival use of digital forensics tools poses some ethical questions. If, for example, a tool reveals that a transferred hard drive contains deleted but recoverable files, is the archives obligated to make the deleted files accessible? In some instances, it may be possible for archivists to conduct a preliminary analysis of media slated for transfer and then negotiate with the creator. However, in some instances, such negotiations may not be possible; owing to this possibility, repositories may want to state publicly that they use software that can recover deleted files.
  • The Utah State Archives and Records Service is seeking repositories interested in beta testing its Archives Enterprise Manager (AXAEM) system. AXAEM automates the creation of records schedules, supports creation of MARC records, EAD-encoded finding aids, and EAC-encoded data about records creators, tracks agency records office training histories and contact information, and allows searching of electronic indexing. It will soon support ingestion of electronic records and supporting metadata and map searching. If you want to be a beta tester, contact Elizabeth Perkes at eperkes[at]
  • As Laura Campbell of the Library of Congress noted, weak social ties are sometimes incredibly durable and strong. The BPE, which promotes the development of informal professional and personal links between cultural heritage professionals seeking to preserve digital information, sustains these weak ties. And -- sorry SAA, sorry MARAC -- that's one of the reasons why the BPE is the archival professional meeting that I love the most.
This post was written at my parents' house in Ohio and posted at CLT, where I rather unexpectedly ended up tonight; thanks to some last-minute mechanical problems, I got to choose between spending a long evening in Charlotte or spending the entire night in Philadelphia. I anticipate being in Albany for the remainder of October and almost all of November, and I'm hoping to get back to posting at least three times a week. Apologies for the slack pace as of late.

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