Thursday, February 28, 2013

Electronic records disaster preparedness workshops in New York State

Owing to the extensive damage that eastern New York State suffered as a result of the remnants of Hurricanes Irene and Lee and that New York City and Long Island experienced as a result of Hurricane Sandy, archives throughout the state are devoting a lot more attention to disaster preparedness and recovery.  They're also trying to fill in some gaps in the existing professional literature, which is pretty squarely focused on paper and film-based records.  In an age in which ever-increasing quantities of archival records are created and housed digitally and repositories create and maintain access tools electronically,  archivists and records managers need to know how to protect their digital assets and recover data stored on electronic media.

In an effort to give archivists and records managers the tools they need, two organizations are offering electronic records disaster preparedness and recovery workshops next month.

First, on 7 March, the Metropolitan New York Library Council and New York University's Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program are offering an all-day Disaster Preparedness and Response Bootcamp for Mixed Media Collections workshop in New York City:
When a disaster strikes and valuable collections are damaged, the clock begins ticking. The actions taken in the first few hours and days are critical to the long-term recovery of the material. Yet this is also the time when more damage can be done due to chaos, carelessness, and lack of preparation. Disaster preparedness plans can provide guidance, but every disaster is different and disaster plans need to be adapted to the specific response scenario. This workshop will focus on disaster preparedness planning and first response, and will provide participants with the opportunity to think on their feet, get hands-on handling experience, discuss challenges, and learn from real-world case studies.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will be introduced to critical first response steps as well as logistics considerations and operational requirements of a salvage and recovery scenario for cultural heritage collections. Participants will also learn how to improve their disaster preparedness plans so that when the next disaster strikes, caretakers will be ready to respond. While handling and recovery procedures for different media types will be discussed, it will not go into great detail on conservation procedures for specific media types. Recovery procedures for media such as video, audio, and film will be emphasized, due to the unique requirements of these media, and lack of available literature.

Portions of this workshop will be videotaped.
By registering to participate in this workshop, you grant METRO and MIAP the right to record and distribute through audio/video recording your image and/or comments or questions that may result from your participation.

Please be advised that you will get dirty during the course of this workshop. Please dress accordingly.
This workshop is being taught by Kara van Malssen, who is a Senior Consultant for AudioVisual Preservation Solutions and a graduate of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program who first started doing multimedia disaster recovery work in Katrina-stricken New Orleans.  (Check out her master's thesis -- it's superb.)

The registration fee for this workshop, which is partially supported by the Institute of Library and Museum Services, is $45.00.  The workshop will be held at the Metropolitan New York Library Council's Training Center, which is located at 57 East 11th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10003.

 Second, on 26 March, the New York State Archives is offering a three-hour Electronic Records Disaster Planning & Response workshop in Albany:
This workshop specifically focuses on electronic records disasters. Electronic records are susceptible to damage from water from floods or fires, heat from fires, power surges, computer viruses, and accidental or intentional destruction of data. Participants will learn how to mitigate these risks and respond should disaster occur.

This workshop will explain:
  • How to assess your organization's risk of experiencing an electronic records disaster
  • How to reduce the chances that a disaster will damage your electronic records
  • How to salvage various types of electronic media
  • How to recover data stored on damaged electronic media
Although this workshop has been customized for Records Management Officers employed by New York State government agencies, anyone may attend and most of the information contained within it will be of use to archivists and records managers working in a wide array of settings.

Although my employer's website doesn't identify any workshop instructor by name, I developed and am teaching this particular offering (apologies for the shameless self-promotion).  If you can't make it to Albany on 26 March, please note that we're planning to offer it again in the reasonably near future -- perhaps in person, quite possibly online.

There is no registration fee for this workshop, which will be held in the 11th floor conference room of the Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230.


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