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SAA 2006 Annual Conference

August 6th, 2006 · 1 Comment · Meetings & Presentations

I am on the plane home right now, flying back from attending and presenting at the Society of American Archivists’ 2006 annual conference in Washington, D.C.. There was a great turnout (about 500 people) at the “Finding Aids: The Next Generation” session in which I participated along with James Sweeney from the University of Michigan’s Polar Bear Digital Collection project and Merrilee Proffitt who presented on RLG’s finding aid user studies.

I’ve posted my own presentation on ‘Web 2.0 and Archives Access Systems‘ as a screencast on the Papers & Presentations page of this website.

It was great to run into and catch up with old colleagues and classmates at the SAA as well as meeting some new people who share my passion for information technology and its applications in the archives field. One of those was Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, who prepared an excellent poster presentation that analyzed the usability of archives access system interfaces in relation to how they presented original order and provenancial context information. She promised to post her presentation soon to her SpellboundBlog. Also, Dan Cohen from the Centre for History and New Media had an excellent presentation that showcased their work on the September 11 Digital Archive and demonstrated some great Google maps mashups.

Digital Preservation

There were some very informative sessions on digital preservation initiatives including the RLG/NARA Audit Checklist for Certifying Trusted Digital Repositories, PREMIS preservation metadata, the Dspace digital repository, the European PLANETS collaboration and finally some more detail and background on the U.S. NARA multi-million dollar Electronic Records Archives (ERA) project.

One interesting thing I learned from talking to the ERA project director, Ken Thibodeau, is that the ERA is more of a service-oriented architecture that integrates a number of Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) applications with open source utilities, rather than one single mammoth application that is being written from scratch by prime contractor Lockheed Martin.

I also learned from Reagan Moore, director of the San Diego Supercomputing Centre’s Storage Resource Broker (SRB) project, that the SRB datagrid technology is being completely re-written from scratch to allow its release, sometime next year, as a fully open source platform.

Open Source Software

Speaking of open-source, I was especially interested to learn more about two open-source archives applications that have recently cropped up. Namely, because my current consulting project is to develop ICA-AtoM, an open-source archival description application for the International Council on Archives. I will post more about these other two projects tomorrow…

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