New Issue: Practical Technology for Archives

Issue no.7, January 2017


Access and Preservation in Archival Mass Digitization Projects
John Yolkowski and Krista Jamieson
The Elisabeth Mann Borgese fonds digitization project was carried out by the Dalhousie University Archives (DUA) in 2014-2015. At 55.5 linear meters and containing diverse media types and a broad range of content, this fonds was an excellent test case for the DUA’s first mass digitization project and represents a digitization project that, in terms of scale, falls between one-off digitization and a Google books style approach. As a pilot, much of this project was dedicated to grappling with intellectual and technical challenges of digitization projects, such as selection, copyright and rights management, documentation, scale of data created, processing of digital materials, and online presentation. From this, the project team strived to create best practices in balancing preservation and access.

Streamlining Delivery of Online Oral History Metadata through LibGuides
Heather Fox, Terri Holtze and Randy KuehnThe University of Louisville Oral History Center houses over 2000 interviews.
A collaborative project between Archives and Special Collections, the Office of Libraries Technology, and Web Services improved access to interview records by making a LibGuides webpage tied to a database containing the oral history metadata. This project has enhanced access for our users to the item level metadata of individual interviews and created a simplified, efficient workflow for our staff to maintain the information. In the following article, the authors discuss the methods and code they employed to offer users an interactive interface, and provide staff with a streamlined process for keeping the oral history material current.

Using Google Analytics, Voyant and Other Tools to Better Understand Use of Manuscript Collections at L. Tom Perry Special Collections
Ryan K. Lee, Cory L. Nimer, J. Gordon Daines, III, and Shelise Rupp
This paper expands on a previous study on how the use of Web analytics and in-house statistics could provide a solid basis for making decisions about which collections to digitize as well as which collections in L. Tom Perry Special Collections merited deeper description. The study also revealed some intriguing insights into how our collections were being used and raised some important questions about the impact of description, digitization, and other factors on both digital and physical usage. This article will show how we repurposed data from Google Analytics; used free, online tools like Voyant; and employed other means to dig deeper into our usage data to answer many of the questions posed in our initial study.

Using LibAnswers in the Archives: A review and implementation report<
Tim Hutchinson
The need for an enquiry management system at the University of Saskatchewan’s University Archives & Special Collections was identified at the time of an organization restructuring, which involved the amalgamation of previously independent archives and special collections units, and a new model for reference service. While there were delays in selecting and deploying a system, this allowed requirements to be refined; LibAnswers was ultimately selected. This article reviews key features of the enquiry management and reference statistics components of LibAnswers, in the context of its implementation for an archival reference service.

Python for Archivists: breaking down barriers between systems
Gregory Wiedeman
Working with a multitude of digital tools is now a core part of an archivist’s skillset. We work with collection management systems, digital asset management systems, public access systems, ticketing or request systems, local databases, general web applications, and systems built on smaller systems linked through application programming interfaces (APIs). Over the past years, more and more of these applications have evolved to meet a variety of archival processes. We no longer expect a single tool to solve all our needs and embraced the “separation of concerns” design principle that smaller, problem-specific and modular systems are more effective than large monolithic tools that try to do everything. All of this has made the lives of archivists easier and empowered us to make our collections more accessible to our users.

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