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Archive for 2010

  • Just as plenty of others have, I recoiled in horror when I heard that Delicious (née was being "sunsetted". Regardless of the red flags that have been raised about its potentially imminent demise, I've still been using it on a daily basis. I've been an active user for over 6.5 years, which is longer than I can say for just about any other web platform or service. I deleted my Friendster and Myspace accounts quite a while ago; I've been on Flickr almost as long as Delicious, but the bookmarking wins out by a good four months or so. I started using Delicious in my final semester of library school, and it shows. I used it for procrastinating as well as a way to organize research materials before I had Zotero. The bulk of the bookmarks from that first day of use (February 24, 2004) were likely imports from my browser, but I quickly showed a facility for adding stuff that I saw as interesting, useful, etc.
  • Update: Aus-Archivists Not Dead?

    Earlier today I'd posted about the Australian Society of Archivists' announcement about the Aus-Archivists listserv being "lost." Tim Sherratt, an Australian colleague and friend of this blog, announced this post on ArchivesLive, the Ning group created by the ASA seemingly to replace the listserv. Pat Jackson, ASA President, has already responded with an update: The ASA National Office has not lost the Aus-Archivists list-serv. We have moved from an outsourced service provider to managing our new server at the National Office. The Aus-Archivists list-serv was a bit too ancient for our spanking new server to manage. In terms of the posterity of the contents of the list-serv, the wonderful discussions and debate it fostered and engendered, they are not lost. It is our intention to post them to the ASA website where they can be perused. Further to that, it is my understanding that the Aus-Archivists list-serv is also deemed to be permanent under the ASA retention schedule. The ASA will be investigating other methods of storing the list-serv for permanent retention.
  • Goodbye, Aus-Archivists: Listservs and the Commitment to Digital Preservation

    [Update: Aus-Archivists might not be gone for good, as ASA intends to share the entire run of postings on its website. See this post for details.]

    Despite my relative distaste for the A&A list, I have previously found it useful and argued for its retention when it was threatened in 2007. I still agree with most of what I wrote 3.5 years ago, although I might have toned things down in retrospect. In an effort to find other e-mail discussion lists on archives that engaged my interest, I joined Arcan-L (the Canadian archivists' listserv) and Aus-Archivists (the Australian archivists' listserv, maintained by the Australian Society of Archivists).

    Surprisingly, Aus-Archivists had been idle since around the end of October. I noticed this tweet from the Australian Society of Archivists only in passing at the beginning of November:

    The ASA Office would just like everyone to know that our List Serv is still currently unavailable, we apologize for any inconvenience...

    I didn't hear anything else between then and earlier today. I should note that I'm not a member of ASA, and so I can't speak to any communication they had with their membership. However, today a message was sent out by Pat Jackson, the ASA President, to all Aus-Archivists subscribers, announcing that the listserv was lost entirely.

  • Disco-Powered pymarc

    I'd been long interested in starting to develop code using some sort of MapReduce implementation for distributed computing. I have never been able to get my head around Hadoop, so I gave up with that pretty quickly. I recently discovered Disco, a MapReduce framework with an Erlang-based core. Disco also allows you to to write your worker code in Python, which was a huge plus to me. After stumbling through the tutorial, I took the word count demo and put together some basic code using pymarc that gathered tag count statistics for a bunch of MARC files. The code's still in a very early form, and arguably should carve up large files into smaller chunks to pass off to the worker processes; I've gotten around this for the time being by splitting up the files using yaz-marcdump. Once I split the files, I pushed them into a tag of DDFS, the Disco Distributed File System. This was a useful way for me to write some demo code both for using pymarc and Disco.
  • The Future of ArchivesBlogs

    Every project has it's day. I've administered ArchivesBlogs for four years now. Originally, I created it to fill a void when blogging was new to the archival profession, and archivists were having to make the case for dedicating staff time to shepherding early social media projects. Four years later, things are much different; I'm less interested in Web 2.0 (professionally speaking), more archivists are blogging, and more repositories are maintaining their own blogs. Despite the changes in the archival blogosphere and repository administration, archivists still contact me occasionally and remind me of the value of ArchivesBlogs. It's also lead to some interesting debates in the past. I still think it has its place, but I don't want to be the only person shaping its future. I've also been thinking for a while that I want to get out of the aggregation business, and I believe time to put together a succession plan. The reality is that I don't have the time to rethink what ArchivesBlogs could be, or even give it the care and feeding it needs to keep running.
  • Findability in the Flow: Discovery through Linking

  • Accessioning, Transfer, and Ingest Workflow for Born-Digital Archives in Collecting Repositories

  • Why I Have Given Up On the Archives and Archivists List

    I am certainly not the first person to chime in on this topic, and I certainly hope not to be the last. Inspired by two fantastic posts by Ben Bromley and Maureen Callahan, I have chosen to discuss the reasons why I have given up on the Archives and Archivists List. Unlike Ben and Maureen, who discuss why they choose not to post to the list, I'm also including reasons why I choose not to read or subscribe to the list anymore. For what it's worth, until yesterday, I had been on the A&A List for almost nine long years. I don't think the majority of the traffic is terribly useful. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially there's a question on topic you happen to know something about. Telling someone how to perform a Google search is not an adequate response.Given the signal-to-noise ratio of the list, useful or timely messages can be easily buried. Off-topic messages seem to be the rule rather than the exception.
  • ArchivesSpace Technical Design Meeting: Summary Report on Technical Architecture

  • Linked Data and the Future of Archival Description

  • Learning to Take, Learning to Give: Linking as Repurposing Metadata

  • With Little Fanfare, dLIST Goes Down

    I've been meaning to blog about this for a while. DLIST, the Digital Library of Information Science and Technology, maintained by the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science, has been down for at least three months. Any URL formerly part of DLIST gets automatically redirected to an announcement page that reads as follows: Aging hardware and conversion issues following a system crash have taken their toll on DLIST, the University of Arizona's Digitial Library of Information Science and Technology. We are currently exploring choices and alternatives both to short term recovery and long term sustainability. The resources and metadata are fully recovered, and we hope to put them back online in a new repository soon. If you or your institution would like to assist with the DLIST project, please contact us at Thanks for your support! While I feel for the difficulties they've had in maintaining it, I have to admit that it's a bit frustrating for me from the standpoint of someone who submitted material to DLIST.
  • Code4lib 2010: Southern Hospitality

    I recently returned from a trip to Asheville, North Carolina for this year's Code4lib conference. Despite the unavoidable hiccups that some attendees experienced as they tried to head home from the conference, I believe that this year's conference was the most successful one that I happened to attend. If I'm right, I think this year had a record number of attendees, a record number of new attendees, and much tighter organization to make the new folks feel welcome. The social activities were certainly more planned and organized than last year, which was a welcome change. While I certainly didn't mind hollering out to the crowd that I would be going to see some bands or to a particular restaurant like I had in previous years, it was nice to see other folks take the lead. The newcomer dinners seemed to go pretty well; the brews cruise and barbecue excursions went smoothly; and even the game(s) of Werewolf seemed to take a life of their own.
  • Linked Data and Archival Description: Confluences, Contingencies, and Conflicts

  • EAD and MARC sitting in a tree: D-R-U-P-A-L

  • Over, Under, Around, and Through: Getting Around Barriers to EAD Implementation

  • Description Peddlers and Two Peas In a Pod

    As you may have heard, the National Archives issued a press release today announcing the release of three data sets on The first milestone of the Open Government Directive was met on January 22 with the release of new datasets on Each major government agency has uploaded at least three datasets in this initial action. The National Archives released the 2007—2009 Code of Federal Regulations and two datasets from its Archival Research Catalog. This is the first time this material is available as raw data in XML format. The Archival Research Catalog, or ARC, is NARA's primary access system for archival description, representing 68% of NARA's entire holdings. This breaks down to the following: 2,720,765 cubic feet 520 record groups 2,365 collections 102,598 series 3,265,988 file units 292,887 items In addition, there are 6,354,765,793 logical data records and 465,050 artifacts described in ARC. NARA's decision to share this data is a breakthrough for archives and people who love data.