New beginnings

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It’s exciting times for me starting a new chapter at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick – a great opportunity for me to get my teeth stuck into a a whole new set of challenges.  I’m really going to miss the team at Lancaster University where I started out on my preservation journey but I’m looking forward to hearing about everything they get up to in the future.

Meanwhile I’m just completing my second week here at the Modern Records Centre (MRC) where great work has already been done on implementing a live instance of Archivematica and ingesting both digitised and born digital material.  I’m really lucky because my predecessor left tons of useful notes and guidance for me to pick up.  I’ve got the task of moving things forward to start to try and scale up the processes so that we move from the current manual upload and processing of content to a more automated scalable approach.  This will help us tackle the backlog of digitised material which is awaiting ingest and also deal with the born digital material we are beginning to receive.

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So my main focus in the first couple of weeks is around understanding the workflows and processes that take place already here at MRC with the creation of digital content and the cataloguing of both digitised and born digital materials.  It’s made me start to think (again) long and hard about the best approaches to cataloguing born digital materials.  I have returned again to the very excellent National Archives’ Digital Cataloguing Practices paper and also the University of California’s Guidelines for Born Digital Archival Description.  Any other suggestions very welcome to help get my thinking going! We are dealing largely with hybrid collections so all approaches need to take into consideration the legacy and current cataloguing methods. There is no clean slate or break – any developments need to work for the users and the archivists currently managing the physical collections. It’s going to be a collaborative effort and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

I’m also pushing a few digital assets through Archivematica and it is *very slow*. I’m hoping to concentrate on improving performance particularly with a view to scaling up. As ever, there are those who have gone before, especially some fantastically useful blogs from Bentley Historical Library and Jenny Mitcham at the University of York not to mention the Archivematica User Forum.  In fact I’m writing this whilst waiting for a SIP to appear in my ingest tab (I hope I haven’t broken it already…).

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Not the actual cake I baked – that got eaten…

So it’s busy busy busy here although I have had time to bake a cake which hopefully has started me out on the right footing with colleagues.

Now – off to track down that missing SIP….

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