In which there are too many hashtags

For the past two weeks I’ve been following a number of conferences and seminars. Each hashtag becomes a new column in my deck, and the font becomes correspondingly smaller. It’s been an incredibly fruitful and, at times, frustrating period, where ideas are reflected and refracted across the streams, often without reference to each other. We are all playing in the same spaces but sometimes the connections are only on the internet.

The first tag to catch my eye was #rd-alliance. Research data and data repositories are becoming an ever increasing part of the academic world. Keeping and maintaining data and providing access to it is a challenge, and one in which archivists and records managers have a role to play. Currently, at my own institution, researchers prepare data management plans, where they assess the longevity of the data based on the significance of their research project. But, of course, the significance of the data set and the significance of the project may not be related. The data could be a baseline population study, or may have informational value beyond that of the project. I’m not sure who reviews and appraises the data, or even if the management plans are used as some form of early automated appraisal, which is then checked by an archivist and other researchers.  Because these sorts of questions exist, I’m glad that the Research Data Alliance now has a special interest group for archivists and records managers in this growing area –

From research data to coding for libraries and #c4l16. Here, information professionals considered what was needed to make content management systems, data sets (see where this is going ?) and digital objects more accessible and usable. They played with APIs and considered gamification, struggled with ethics and activism. Digital preservation was a consistent thread through the discussions.

From #c4l16 to #pasig2016 – Preservation and archiving special interest group – and the digital preservation discussion was kicked up a notch. Data management and data management plans were back in the fray, with a note that the SKA, for example, creates around a petabyte of data a day. Open source products, vendor lock ins, Lots of copies keep stuff safe, openpreserve, the Digital preservation coalition  and many others made great contributions, and the Prague location made me wish desperately for a matter transmitter in my backyard. #pasig2016 saw some cross communications with #ourdigitalfuture (more about big data and data management) in the UK and my final column,#unescopersist.

#Unescopersist is a new UNESCO, IFLA and ICA initiative, designed to support sustainable digital heritage. At this meeting, the UNESCO Persist guidelines were launched, of which more in another blog.

I’ve got a number of articles and reports to follow up on, as a result of all this activity, so I’m hoping to have some time to review them all shortly. I’ll also report back on a recent webinar for the ARC funded LISRA project, looking at the role of practitioner researchers in the Information services professions.  In the meantime, though, my twitter feed is once again legible, and my only hashtag is #fundTrove.


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Archivist, historian, avid reader

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