archives 2.0, the archives hub and aim25

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Approaches to 'Archives 2.0' from the perspective of the Archives Hub and AIM25 services


  • 1. Innovative ways, sustainable means The Archives Hub and AIM25 Jane Stevenson and Geoff Browell

2. Hub and AIM25 benefits

  • Locate archives across a range of institutions
  • Save time and resources
  • Search by subject / name / place
  • Focus for archive community
  • Promotion of standards for robust and sustainable descriptions
  • Innovation and experimentation

3. JISC Information Environment

  • Providing a range of meaningful, rich and innovative methods of accessing electronic materials
  • A collaborative landscape of service providers who work together to seamlessly cater for the needs of the community on a national basis
  • Underpinned by real world interoperability, based upon a common standards framework
  • JISC Information Environment Development Strategy [2001]

4. British Archives: the vision

  • Our vision of the future of British archives is of a flow of archival information which takes account of all the opportunities offered by digital networks and offers opportunity for exploration - historical, personal, social - to the broadest possible range of people wherever they can use it - in the home, the classroom or the office.

British Archives: The Way Forward (NCA, 2000) 5. The Archives 2.0 Manifesto

  • Positive
  • Active
  • Responsive
  • Open
  • Interactive
  • Experimental
  • User-focused
  • Participatory

6. A new Mindset

  • An open and flexible approach to access, archives 2.0 should, fundamentally, be about developing a collaborative, transparent and user-focused approach, based on agreed standards, that enables others to engage with us and with the data that we hold on their own terms.

7. Implementation

  • How to move forward in a sustainable way?
  • What underlies an effective Archives 2.0 approach?

8. Underlying principles of the Hub

  • Data standards, quality
  • Software open source
  • System interoperable, distributed
  • Development user-focused, innovative

9. Data

  • EAD Encoded Archival Description
  • ISAD(G)
  • Indexing standards
  • Manual data editing
  • Validation through Template for data creation and editing
  • Training and raising awareness

10. Software

  • Cheshire 3 and Cheshire for Archives
    • Open source
    • Flexible
    • In-house development

11. Interoperable System

  • Ability to interoperate exchange data between systems
  • Data working for benefit of users
  • The Archives Hub and AIM25 - EAD
  • CALM and AdLib
  • Datasets?

12. Distributed System

  • Spokes institutions
    • control
    • administer
    • customised web interface
  • Hosted spokes

Flickr cc licence : Thomas Hawk 13. Open System

  • Machine-to-machine interfaces
  • Z39.50; OAI-PMH; SRU
  • Genesis portal for Womens Studies SRU search of the Hub

To be a part of the JISC-IE, content providers need to support machine- oriented interfaces to their resources. 14. Development

  • Steering Committee
  • Contributors Forum
  • Contributors Community
  • Blog, newsletters, email lists
  • National Archives Network

15. National Archive Network 16. 17. AIM25

  • 10 years-old
  • 10,000 descriptions
  • 100 partners
  • Up to 2m hits per month
  • Google-visible
  • Becoming a hub for London
  • LMA latest partner
  • 2008-2009 upgrade new descriptions, improved website, interoperability with M25
  • Partner-led with central indexing standards
  • Forum to lead on standards, fundraising, sector issues

18. AIM25 and Archives 2.0

  • Asked ourselves- who uses it?
  • Avoid features for sake of it what is the demand? Do users have the time vast majority of users are under 1 minute
  • If colleagues dont know what a tag cloud or social networking are, will users?
  • Can we afford it or do others do it better already Facebook?
  • Most users are probably not Californian teenagers

19. AIM25: What did we do?

  • Moderated Web 2.0 democracy or benign dictatorship?
  • Avoided social networking
  • Hybrid tag clouds
  • Information alerts on new collections RSS
  • Improving searching with cross searching with M25 (isnt it all just information?)

20. Benefits

  • More contemporary feel
  • Help with fundraising
  • Users able to sift information more effectively and cross-search
  • Helps cultivate a brand. As catalogue information becomes more easily retrievable and machine-readable, so the extra features and the trusted name become more important
  • These extras might include podcast lectures, National Curriculum tie-ins or dramatic re-enactments, extra bibliographic or catalogue content (youre interested in that item, have you seen this?), mapping or the ability to interact with other users

21. Right and wrong reasons

  • Right: improves the work of Archives, collecting, preserving and making records accessible for current and future generations
  • Wrong: for its own sake; next thing; pressure to be fashionable; cure-all or technical shortcut

22. Archives 2.0: Barriers

  • Legal barriers (cant publish everything)
  • Cost barriers (hidden costs such as training, IT development, policing UGC)
  • Conflicting audiences (all things to all men)
  • Over-expectations (limited resources of sector): will users become restive if they are used to Flickr or Facebook and get FORTRAN?
  • Cant manage resulting demand
  • Knowledge/training gap (many archivists are unfamiliar with standards or terminology)
  • Danger of following fashion for its own sake when is a paradigm shift not a paradigm shift?

23. Searching Questions

  • How far do we want users to be sharing and engaging do they want to?
  • Danger of users thinking everything is up for grabs,Cant I just publish any photograph I come across in your archive?
  • Role of the finding aid and its integrity reliability of catalogues. What role is there for expert input?
  • Danger of never mind the quality, feel the width

24. Talking points

  • Better market research needed
  • Greater standardisation of statistics to gauge usage
  • Do users want it and can we afford the time, money and energy to handle the consequences?
  • Will management understand the implications or do they think it is technological panacea?(Cant you just digitise everything?)
  • Archivists need to understand the implications in order to educate institutions of the costs/benefits
  • Technologising the relationships which archivists have always cultivated with donors, users and the public. So is it doing more of what we do well already?

25. Talking points

  • Do we get the basics right first? (cataloguing backlogs, basic digitisation and improved physical access)
  • Standards electronic and ethical
  • The role of the archivist from intercessor/ intermediary to facilitator in a personal relationship or journey of discovery through records: an Archive equivalent of the Protestant Reformation?
  • Knowledge, expertise and interpretive skills remain at the heart of the profession

26. Archives 2.0 will be

  • Relevant
  • Sustainable
  • Skills-based
  • Fun
  • Result in greater co-operation and networking between all types of archive institution
  • A journey not a destination

27. Contact details

  • Jane Stevenson:[email_address]
  • Geoff Browell:[email_address]
  • Visit the National Archives Network social space:
  • Check out the Hub blog:
  • Check out the Archives Hub twitter