Archive for the ‘Preservation’ Category
My friend Robbie Sagers addressed the topic of social media preservation in a post on Justin Taylor’s excellent blog today. In light of Robbie’s post, I thought I would point out a poster on Blogger Perceptions on Digital Preservation that was presented at the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries back in 2007. Some of the more interesting data from the poster includes:
- Over 43 percent of the respondents attempt some self archiving of their blogs
- Nearly 71 percent of the respondents believed that their blogs should be archived
- Nearly 50 percent of respondents believed that preserving the audio and video embedded in a blog was important
- Over 30 percent of respondents believed that archives and libraries had an obligation to preserve blogs in general
I just wanted to mention a couple of things in relation to preserving blogs. First, I wanted to thank Marty Duren, formerly of the influential Baptist blog SBCOutpost. Marty now blogs at ie:missional (I’m not sure what ie stands for, but I hope he’s not endorsing the web browser that dare not name it’s name.) Marty was taking down his SBCOutpost blog, and he graciously provided me with a full digital copy of the blog. I like to think of it as SBCOutpost 2.0, because Marty used to have a Blogger blog before he was converted to WordPress. SBCOutpost is now at version 3.0 as a collabroblog.
Second, I think I am getting closer to an answer on how to grab blogs and store them in a way that will ensure that their arrangement remains intact. I also think that I have a solution for how to ensure that various iterations are distinctly recorded. In other words, I believe that I will be able to do for blogs what the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine does for regular sites. Better yet, I believe I can do it with entirely free software. I also think that this solution can be used for other web resources. We will see how it turns out, but at this point I have reason to be very hopeful. At this point, I am more concerned with preservation than access. I need to preserve all these “wet blogs” before they dry up.
In my previous post on wet blogs (ie. Baptist blogs), I noted that I would be doing a series of posts dealing with preserving wet blogs (and blogs in general). I just wanted to point out a couple of people that seem to have similar concerns.
First, Marty Duren posted today about the relationship between blogs and traditional denominational media outlets. He argues that media outlets such as Baptist Press should be more open to publishing blogs and bloggers on their sites. Marty rightly recognizes the influences of blogs on denominational life.
Second, Timmy Brister, Owen Strachan, and Tony Kummer have developed a collaborative blog project called Said at Southern Seminary. The project aggregates blogs from many bloggers related to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and publishes content on a variety of issues. Appropriately enough, you can find out more about the project at its About page. While this project in no way guarantees the permanence of blogs or blog content, it demonstrates the concern of some bloggers for bringing together blogs related to a common object of love.
For Baptists, especially Southern Baptists, it’s been a busy year. If you don’t believe me, one Baptist blogger has been keeping a log.
Ironically, it was about this time last year that I struck up a conversation with another Southern Baptist archivist about Baptist blogs while attending the ALABI meeting in Richmond. I mentioned that the whole idea of Baptist blogs and how to preserve them really troubled me, and I asked if his organization was doing anything in the way of preserving blogs. Read the rest of this entry »
And before you ask, digital ice age does not refer to my lack of posting (Peggy, I promise I’ve not forgotten you). The title refers to two interesting pieces that I enjoyed reading today and wanted to mention. The first is a post by a “Dangerous” LIS student who wants to be an archivist. She’s asking some of the questions that should keep us up at night, especially if we believe Ham was correct about selecting materials that document human experience.
The second is a piece from Popular Mechanics on the instability of digital information (HT: Russ). I really enjoyed this article. It basically repeats some of the same things I have read and heard archivists say about digital preservation, except for the final line:
And remember, a printed copy is sometimes the best form of backup.
It’s funny. I often think that too. Almost every digital preservation work I have read and workshop I have attended says this is not the case. After all, archivists rightly contend that metadata is important to ensure the authenticity of documents. And authenticity is extremely important. Still, I often think that it’s better to have a printed, stable copy of a work with little or no metadata, than it is to have no document at all.
On Wednesday, May 31, I will be speaking at the ALABI meeting in Richmond, Virginia. I am involved in a section on Baptist Research and Statistics. Basically, I will be looking at the way researchers at my institution use Baptist statistics, and proposing a way that I think librarians, Lifeway, and the entire Southern Baptist Convention could work together to better preserve and make accessible our data. My proposal is just an idea that I had, and should in no way be construed as anything more than this. I would love for the convention to consider it, but it could be nothing more than one archivist's pipe dream. I will try to post a series that will better explain all this later, along with what I see as the advantages and disadvantages of my proposal.
As a service to those attending, I include the text that will appear in my Power Point presentation below. For the record, the section on connectors, mavens, and salesmen is taken from Malcom Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point.
- How researchers at SBTS use statistics
- To answer cultural questions
- To corroborate findings
- To analyze worldview patterns
- To analyze church health
- For background information on a potential employer
- Statistical resources researchers use
- Diaries, journals, serendipitous reading
- Reports from Joshua Project and IMB
- World Christian Database and CIA World Fact Book
- Baptist newspapers
- Baptist Minutes
- Southern Baptist Directory Service
- Baptist Quarterly Review
- What SBTS Researchers Want
- The nearly impossible
- Ease of access to Baptist statistics
- Ease of access to non-Baptist statistics
- Standardized data
- Difficulties for creating access
- Acquisition Issues
- Collecting minutes takes time and space
- Who is responsible?
- Preservation Issues
- Proprietary formats
- Acquisition Issues
- An Answer
- A web based solution for Baptist minutes
- Open Source
- Exports to multiple formats (XML, HTML, PDF, .txt, .doc)
- Able to handle all types of minutes
- All levels (Convention, State, Associational, Church)
- All time periods (retrospective and prospective)
- All data (statistics, reports, circular letters, queries, list of ministers)
- A Convention wide effort
- Promoted and underwritten by Lifeway
- In conjunction with the research initiative
- Lightning press printing of minutes
- Able to be contributed to by people at every level
- Spreads labor
- Many eyes looking at it
- Promoted and underwritten by Lifeway
- A web based solution for Baptist minutes
- What can we do
- Volunteer to help work on an answer
- Talk to others about preservation and access problems
- Connectors– unique people who connect us to everyone else
- Mavens– those who accumulate knowledge
- Salesmen– persuade people to accept new information
Urge better statistic gathering practices
- Make relationships with archivists from other denominations
- Ritzenthaler, Mary Lynn. Preserving Archives and Manuscripts, Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 1993.
Preserving Archives and Manuscripts details how preservation should take place in an archives or manuscript repeository. The term preservation generally denotes the "activities and functions designed to provide a suitable and safe environment that enhances the usable life of colletions." In order for an institution to implement a preservation program, it generally needs to recognize that preservation needs to take place. The institution should then set initial goals and a program policy for the program. Surveys of the repository must take place on the institutional and collection levels. These surveys allow for the archives to set its priorities and make decisions about how it can most effectively do its work. A budget for preservation should represent at least ten percent of total archives expenses in a year.
The materials stored in archives come in a wide variety of formats. An archivist needs to have a general understanding of how to preserve various types of paper, inks, skins, textiles, and photographic materials. Likewise, archivists must understand the types of adhesives used on these materials, including the ways in which they can be used and the damage they can cause to collections. Ritzenthaler addresses all of these issues in her third chapter. In particular, her discussions of papers and adhesives were especially detailed and helpful.
Ritzenthaler notes that the main causes of deterioration for records are usually temperature, relative humidity, light, biological agents, abuse, and disasters. The best way to prevent damage from these causes is to monitor and evaluate the conditions within the archives, and to have a good HVAC system. She points out that a ten degree reduction in temperature can double the life span of paper, while a ten degree increase will cut its life in half. Likewise, relative humidity should be well regulated.
She notes that the best conditions would be 40-65 degrees Farenheit, but condtions of 70 degrees and a relative humidity of 45%, plus or minus 2 degrees and 2 percentage points, are acceptable for an archives. She suggests that an archives have at a minimum a thermometer and a hygrometer. However, she recommends that archives purchase a hygrothermograph and a psychometer to track conditions over long periods of time. To protect materials from light, archives should have shades or UV filters over all windows and flourescent lights. Lights should be cut off when they are not needed. An acceptable level of light in reading room areas ranges from 30 to 60 footcandles.
Concerning handling, Ritzenthaler basically urges using common sense. She recommends the use of gloves, fully supporting all types of materials that are being handled, using trucks and multiple people to transfer materials, avoiding materials like tape, and handling photographic and magnetic media by their edges.
Ritzenthaler offers advice on storing and handling materials. She stresses that handling and storage decisions should be based upon what best preserves materials in light of their format and condition. She describes the various types of shelving and furniture that is available for use in archives. She also describes the methods and products one should use to store various tupes of record formats. Her chapter on preservation and administration supplies a brief guide for administering records throughout the entirety of their lifespan. She notes various threats to preservation that occur during this time. She also discusses preservation solutions like photocopying and microfilm, and points out best practices for using both.
In my opinion, the most useful chapter in the book is the final chapter, which addresses conservation. Here, Ritzenthaler discusses in great detail the various conservation options, such as deacidification and paper strengthening, that archivists have at their disposal. Equally helpful, though, are her discussions about making conservation decisions. She supplies information about determining when conservation treatment is needed, and she provides a philosophy for making informed decisions about good conservation practices.