[This is the second guest post by Greg Bak, Archival Studies, Department of History, University of Manitoba.]
Thanks again to Kate for agreeing to publish my presentation on her blog. In Part One of this guest post I discuss some of the Twitter reaction to my talk; in Part Two I include the slides and speaking notes from my talk.
This second part of my guest post is to set out a bit of the context for my presentation, and to provide the slides and speaking notes, which you can access here: Bak_SAA13_s701
My presentation was the third of three in SAA 2013 session 701. The session was titled “It’s All About the Items: Digital Objects and Aggregations in Archival Description and Access.” My co-presenters, Kelcy Shepherd of Amherst College and Kat Timms of Library and Archives Canada, had just spoken to the challenges posed by item-level metadata within archival theory and practice.
I chose to build on Kelcy’s and Kat’s talks while providing a different conceptual framework. Following their talks meant that I didn’t have to get into the question of why archives must manage item-level metadata: Kelcy had just discussed this with reference to made-digital records, and Kat had done so with reference to born-digital records.
This is a point that I have addressed in an earlier article (Bak and Armstrong 2008). Digital preservation and digital management require that archives create or capture item-level metadata. My presentation is in no way intended to ignore this basic fact of digital archiving. Instead, I focused on the nature of items and aggregations within archival theory in contrast with bibliographic theory.
The presentation was to take only 20 minutes. It lacks the nuance and depth of evidence that I will include in the manuscript that I submit for peer review. Additionally, I was not able to build upon the basic foundations laid out in this presentation to examine how reconceptualizing archival data could allow us to reimagine not just the description, discovery and access of archival records, but other archival functions as well, including appraisal, preservation and outreach. Some of these implications are addressed in a piece I published in Archival Science in 2012, while others emerged in the panel discussion after the talk.
As I revise the presentation for publication I welcome your thoughts and comments about the ideas included here. Please feel free either to comment below this blog post or to contact me by email: email@example.com.
Bak G (2012) Continuous classification: capturing dynamic relationships among digital information resources. Archival Science 12.3:287-318.
Bak G, Armstrong P (2008) Points of convergence: seamless long-term access to digital publications and archival records at Library and Archives Canada. Archival Science 8.4:279-293.