We’re Hiring! MIT Library Fellow for Digital Archives

We’re excited to announce our call for applications for a two-year position at the MIT Libraries for a Digital Archives Fellow.

Reporting to the Digital Archivist, the activities of this position will expand and build upon already established foundations of our digital archives program. Work will provide opportunities to collaborate with Curation and Preservation Services; the Office of Scholarly Publishing, Copyright and Licensing; Information Technology and Discovery Services; Digital Library Application Development; Collections Strategy and Management; as well as the Digital Sustainability Lab.

Potential activities include:

  •  Workflow analysis, implementation, and documentation related to digital archives management,building on existing work and addressing gaps;
  • Resource acquisition/ingest and issue resolution around file authentication, access and intellectual property rights restrictions, etc.
  • Assisting with analysis, understanding, and implementation of tools for processing and managing digital archives (ex. ArchivesSpace, Curator’s WorkBench (UNC), BitCurator, Archivematica) and the tools’ interactions with other software and systems.

Read the full position announcement at: //libraries.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Fellow-DigArch.pdf

Full consideration given to applicants who apply by May 12, 2014.

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Bitcurator – Forensics for Collecting Institutions part 1

We’ve been busy the past few months.  Take the blog silence for the quiet of busy beavers rather than the absence of activity!

As noted in the workflow diagrams, one of the tools that we are assessing both in terms of functionality and how it might fit into our workflows is BitCurator.  The BitCurator Team has lot of information on their project and wiki pages that you should read to keep current on this Mellon funded project.

BC sticker

BitCurator Project sticker


photo of the BitCurator in a Box. Includes two write-blockers, cables and cords, and BitCurator program on a USB drive.

BitCurator Project is an open-source digital forensics environment in which collecting institutions can create and analyze forensic disk images of digital content, whether from a file server or from media.  Read this page on the BitCurator website for more specifics on the projects and the tools incorporated into the environment.

We’ve been testing versions of the BitCurator tools since version 3.0.  Happily, the project and team have been doing great work with adding tools, functionality, GUI, and reporting capabilities.  BitCurator 0.7.4 was released on February 2, 2014 and is the current version we are assessing.

As an activity of the Digital Sustainability Lab in the Libraries, there is input into the assessment from both the Institute Archives and Special Collections staff and from the Digital Curation and Preservation staff in the MIT Libraries.

The BitCurator team is fantastic and are very responsive to feedback and questions regarding how to use and implement BitCurator in your digital curation workflow.  For instance, at the recent DigCCurr Institute, CurateGear presentations it came up that there was a BitCurator in a Box that can be borrowed for formal assessment purposes.  We asked and after the most current release at that time we were mailed the box.  Along with a formal testing plan and required questions/ answers to return to the BitCurator Team, was a jumpdrive with the BitCurator install files and two write-blockers with accompanying cables and cords. It is all packed into a Pelican case for shock absorption and a cool factor.

The next blog post on this topic will frame our assessment and the issues and considerations that we are addressing.


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Integrating Tools into our Process and Workflows

In the last blog post, I described the process and data flow for digital archives using the PAIMAS and OAIS roles, responsibilities, and a few of the functions.  Since that diagram, I have received feedback from MIT colleagues and have over-laid onto it two important considerations.  First, how the storage spaces for metadata and digital objects fit into the process, and second where some of the software tools we are considering will fit into the processes. [version updated on 11/20/14]

Proposed workflow showing human, tool, and storage interactions.

Proposed workflow showing human, tool, and storage interactions.

The software tools that are called out in the diagram are:

  • ArchivesSpace MIT Libraries is a Charter Member of ArchivesSpace, the successor archives management tool for institutions using Archvists’ Toolkit.
  • Archivematica  MIT Libraries is evaluating and assessing how this digital preservation system can be used within the Institute Archives and Special Collections for physical control and performing preservation functions and activities.  [note: Archivematica is not a storage repository.]
  • BitCurator Project  We are looking at the on-going research and beta products from the BitCurator Project using open source forensic tools to create a curator-friendly GUI interface for examining forensic disk images in order to triage incoming digital archival material.
  • AtoM  Access to Memory tool, created by Artefactual, is a display and dissemination package for digital content and its description that links with digital files processed through Archivematica.

The most obvious take-away from the compilation diagram is that the tools will be used in multiple parts of the workflow and this will often be done in an iterative process. We will be assessing the human/tool work chain over the next few months as experiments within MIT Libraries’ newly established Digital Sustainability Lab.  The lab is a collaboration between the Curation and Preservation Services unit, led by Nancy Y. McGovern and the Institute Archives and Special Collections unit, led by Tom Rosko.

Stay tuned!

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