Engaging with Digital Archives Open Source Communities

Digitalbevaring.dk is a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Denmark license. Image: Jørgen Stamp.

Digitalbevaring.dk is a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Denmark license. Image: Jørgen Stamp.

In addition to the work we are doing here at the MIT Libraries, we are also engaged with the global community of archivist and preservation folks developing open source tools for digital archives, digital forensics, and digital preservation.  Here are a few of the ways in which we are participating in communities to enhance, improve, and consider future integration and development of these tools.

ArchivesSpace Community

MIT Libraries is a Charter Member of the ArchivesSpace Community with Tom Rosko, Head of Institute Archives and Special Collections, as our official representative. ArchivesSpace is the next-generation archives information management application. Kari Smith is also a member of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Chair of the TAC documentation sub-group.  These groups assist witharchivesspace_logo prioritizing and improving the technical development and technical documentation for the software system.  Just recently, she has been appointed to the cross-council Features Prioritization team that includes development and program management staff from ArchiveSpace as well as a few members from the User Advisory Committee and the TAC.

BitCurator Community and BitCurator Access

As the only digital forensics environment and tool set created specifically for collecting institutions, the BitCurator environment and BitCurator Access projects are critical for digital archives.  We participated in the BitCurator-in-a-Box assessment prior to the release of ver 1.0 and also hosted Cal Lee and Kam Woods at the Digital Sustainability Lab and a presentation to MIT Libraries staff and regional colleagues.  logoKari participates in the BitCurator Consortium monthly teleconferences during which users of BitCurator Tools discuss their use and thoughts about enhancements to the environment.  She was also recently appointment to the BitCurator Access Advisory Board.  BitCurator Access software tools will assist collecting institutions (libraries, archives, and museums) in providing web-based and local access to born-digital materials held on disk images.  Additionally, the Andrew W. Mellon funded project led by Cal Lee at UNC Chapel Hill will explore transforming and using digital forensics metadata in collecting environments, and redaction of file items, metadata and hidden data from disk images.

Archivematica users community

Although not a formal sub-group of the work by Artefactual Systems on the Archivematica digital preservation system, we are engaged with the intersections and integration of using Archivematica with BitCurator and ArchivesSpace.  logoKari and Nancy McGovern, Head of Digital Preservation and Curation at MIT Libraries are working on projects and with other uses of Archivematica to discuss case studies and explore how data objects and metadata can travel between the software systems for optimal use, automation, and to meet our archives and preservation requirements. Much of this work is happening under the aegis of the Digital Sustainability Lab at the Libraries.


Digitalbevaring.dk is a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Denmark license. Image: Jørgen Stamp.

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Jessica Venlet – Library Fellow for Digital Archives

In October we welcomed Jessica Venlet to the Institute Archives as our two-year Library Fellow for Digital Archives [see prior post].  Since joining us, she has been learning about the MIT Libraries by meeting with staff from across the departments, engaging in work with the Digital Sustainability Lab, and jumping into existing digital archives infrastructure work as well as conducting background and analysis in some new areas.  Her work will expand and build upon the already established foundations of our digital archives program.jmvenlet

Her Archive Hour blog serves two purposes for her professional development during the Fellow experience.  As she writes on her blog’s About page,

“The first is a structured way to keep up on my professional reading and place my work within the professional landscape. Each week, I set aside “coffee hours” during which I will read a technical report, article from an information science journal, or blog posts from peers. After reading, I’ll post a short response. The second part of this blog will be a record of projects I’ll be working on as part of the MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections team.”   [https://archivehour.wordpress.com/about/]

Jessica is a 2014 graduate of the University of Michigan, School of Information, with an MIS degree and a specialization in Library and Information Science and Preservation of Information.  She has a BA in English literature from Aquinas College.  Jessica was most recently a digital processing assistant at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library and previously spent time as an electronic records intern at the Michigan State University Library.

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Engineering Digital Sustainability

A new initiative at the MIT Libraries that the Institute Archives is a partner in with Curation and Preservation Services is the Digital Sustainability Lab. The DS Lab is a physical space in which hardware, software, and workflows are investigated through experimentation and testing to provide the MIT Libraries and the digital archives, digital curation, and digital preservation communities with assessments and workflow tests.  Our first two events of the Digital Sustainability Lab were:

    • Bit Curator and Digital Forensics lab set-up and training with Cal Lee and Kam Woods, UNC Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science and the BitCurator Project.  during their two days at MIT Libraries, Cal and Kam gave an open presentation to MIT Library staff and joined by colleagues from Harvard University and Tufts University.
    • Remote installation and configuration of the open-source digital preservation system software Archivematica 1.1 and 1.2 along with Access to Memory 2.0, by Artefacutal staff supported locally by MIT Library ITS staff.

Nancy McGovern discusses the Digital Sustainability Lab with Kam Woods and Cal Lee.

Kari Smith with Kam Woods and Cal Lee look inside the F.R.E.D. computer.

Kari Smith with Kam Woods and Cal Lee look inside the F.R.E.D. computer.

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