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All things digital

August 10, 2015

On 10th July 8 archivists and records managers from the south met at a bistro in Bournemouth to discuss all things digital!

We came from a range of backgrounds, from universities to local authorities to a religious order. This was great because those experiences meant we had different perspectives on what to digitise and how to deal with born digital records.

Our first subject for discussion was the blog post “For God’s sake, stop digitizing paper” by Joshua Ranger. We thought the blog’s message wasn’t clear enough and wished it had more of the argument that audiovisual materials are in greater danger of obsolescence. Even so, it provoked discussion about how the public expects to find records online but don’t understand the amount of work needed to get them there.

Next, the 2011 presidential address by Helen Tibbo in the American Archivist led us to talk about opportunities for the profession. Ideas from the group included how to help our organisations deal with huge digital volumes by promoting/legitimising destruction and being a hub of knowledge. We spoke about how archivists are often driven by a love of content and preserving history, which may be limiting how we take these chances.

We talked about it being difficult to make decisions about what digital records to keep. Decisions are needed upfront but we can’t always foresee future uses. A useful example was that digitised records can be used to study physical formats when the quality and resolution is high enough.

It was a helpful get-together as the subject meant everyone had something to offer, though with it being so broad we went off on lots on tangents! Looking forward to the next one…

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