Adam Nix and Stephanie Decker recently took part in a fascinating workshop on digital archives at the Cabinet Office in London, organized by the fantastic LUSTRE network. The overall aim of the LUSTRE project is to connect policymakers with Computer Scientists, Digital Humanists and professionals in the GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums). The project is co-delivered with professionals from the Cabinet Office’s Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO). The recordings from the day are available here.
We talked about our recent paper in AI & Society: Finding light in dark archives: Using AI to connect context and content in email. The practice of digital archival discovery is still emerging, and the approaches future research will take when using digital sources remain unclear. Archival practice has been shaped by paper-based, pre-digital sources and guides assumptions around how researchers will access and make use of such collections. Paradoxically, dealing with the increasing relevance of born-digital records is not helped by the fact that many born-digital collections remain dark, in part while questions of how they should be effectively made available are answered. Our research takes a user perspective on discovery within born-digital archives and seeks to promote more meaningful access to born-digital archives for researchers. In doing so, our work deals with the implications that unfamiliar archival technologies (including artificial intelligence) have on disciplinary traditions in the humanities and social science, with a specific focus on historical and qualitative approaches.
Our work in this area currently focuses on the issue of context within organisational email, and the challenges of searching and interpreting large bodies of email data. We are particularly interested in how effective machine-assisted search and multiple pathways for discovery can be used to open contextually opaque collections. Such access is likely to leverage a collection’s structural and content characteristics, as well as targeted archival selection and categorisation. We ultimately suggest that by combining relatively open user-led interfaces with pre-selective material, digital archives can provide environments suited to both the translation of existing research practices and the integration of more novel opportunities for discovery. Our presentation will summarise our progress in this area and reflect on the technical and methodological questions our work here has raised.
We answer questions such as: – What do you mean by Moving beyond “#history matters”? – What kind of #research are you looking for in this special issue? – What would a great contribution to the SI look like? – What are the next steps?
At Business History, we would like to promote your research to a wider audience. A good way of doing that is video abstracts. Thanks to the pandemic, many of us are now much more versed with video recording software and video conferencing software that facilitates recordings. Therefore, there is no reason to limit this skill set to teaching only. The video abstracts will be published on the journal’s webpage.
What we need from you:
The video – 3 mins or so
A multimedia contributor agreement (we will send this when we receive the video and abstract)
Not to worry. The video recordings from the conference are available online to view at your leisure.
Discoveries Collections, Discovering Communities (DCDC) is a cross-sectoral conference, hosted by The National Archives, RLUK and Jisc, that brings together the GLAMA sectors (galleries, libraries, archives, museums and academia) to shine a light on our shared experiences, innovations, interests and concerns. The DCDC21 Conference explored how crisis can act as a catalyst for change within libraries, archives, museums, and cultural organisations.
As part of our research project on “Contextualising Email Archives”, we were invited to attend and present at a fantastic event from the “Unlocking our Digital Past” project in July. For a recording of the presentation discussing key issues in the current debate on digital heritage, have a look at their website: https://unlockingourdigitalpast.com/blog-2/ .
I am endlessly fascinating by organizations and the buildings they create for themselves, and the meanings they ascribe to them. So I was delighted to see that there is Hagley History Hangout episode on a similar subject – see the message from the Hagley team below.
New episode is available in the Hagley History Hangout
Ben Spohn interviews Grace Ong Yan about her recent book, Building Brands: Corporations and Modern Architecture. In her book, Ong Yan explores the development of corporate Modernism through architectural branding. She does this by examining the design and construction of four corporate headquarters: the PSFS Building by George Howe and William Lescaze, the Johnson Wax Administration Building by Frank Lloyd Wright, Lever House by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and the Röhm & Haas Building by Pietro Belluschi. Ong Yan draws on company archives to detail the relationships between company leaders and architects to communicate their company’s identity and messaging to the general public through the medium of architecture.
Grace Ong Yan, Ph.D. is an author, architectural historian, educator, and designer. She is currently Assistant Professor in Interior Design & Interior Architecture at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Ong Yan Co-edited Architect: In the Words of the Pritzker Prize Laureates. She is also an architect and interior designer as Ong Yan Studios.
The audio-only version of this program is available on our podcast.
Recorded on Zoom and available anywhere once they are released, our History Hangouts include interviews with authors of books and other researchers who have use of our collections, and members of Hagley staff with their special knowledge of what we have in our stacks. We began the History Hangouts earlier this summer and now are releasing programs every two weeks on alternate Mondays. Our series is part of the Hagley from Home initiative by the Hagley Museum and Library. The schedule for upcoming episodes, as well as those already released, is available at https://www.hagley.org/hagley-history-hangout.
It was a great pleasure to be invited to talk about our AHRC project and user perspectives on digital archives with the Digital Archives Learning Exchange (DALE), hosted by The National Archives (TNA). The event focused on how to integrate digital archives into existing archival practice and featured talks by Rosie Vizor (The Garden Museum), David Underdown (TNA) and me (Stephanie Decker, University of Bristol). The recording can found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHD9mAkzx3M
Past CBHA/ACHA Talks Now Available for Viewing on CBHA/ACHA YouTube Channel
Unmaking the Made Beaver: Money and Monopoly in the Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Fur Trade. The Historical Anniversaries of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Province of Manitoba The History of Coffee, Cannabis, and Alcohol: From Stigmatized to Normalized The Price of Gold – Lessons From Previous Price Cycles