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 April 5, 2016 • College of the Holy Cross


Piles of Stuff: On the Challenges and Opportunities for Aggregating Digital Collection with Paul Conway

For the past 25 years, libraries, archives, and museums have been digitizing their collections for access and, increasingly, as a preservation alternative. The pace, scope, and scale of these activities have increased dramatically. So too have new efforts to combine digital collections from individual repositories into large scale aggregations that promise improved search and discovery capabilities. This keynote address will review the milestones of the digitization practices in cultural heritage organizations with particular attention to the mechanisms of collaboration. It will then describe the progress of recent efforts to assemble large-scale digital collections through collaborative aggregation services, among them the Digital Public Library of America, Europeana, and NINES. Finally, this keynote will speculate on what is gained and lost through large scale aggregation and offer some suggestions about improving our understanding of how users are making sense of large-scale digital collections.

The Archival Edge Revisited: Reflections on the Purpose of Archives in the Digital Era with Richard Pearce-Moses

Over the past several decades, archival practice has changed significantly to adapt to the digital information ecosystem.  The rise of born-digital records has raised interesting questions about the very nature of records, while also forcing archivists to rethink how they do their job. Cloud computing, data mining, open data, and other technologies have enormous potential for novel approaches to use.  As important, these new technologies reverse traditional archival questions of what to preserve: some individuals argue – seriously – that all information can be saved.

At the same time, concerns for the right to be forgotten, the increasing risk of personal information being released, and other ethical issues also challenge the nature of archives.  In this keynote address Pearce-Moses will offer his thoughts on the purpose of archives in the digital era and argue that archivists have a particular moral duty to serve the future as custodians of the past.

 Break-out sessions include:

Digital Commonwealth and Boston Public Library Update with Elizabeth Thomsen, NOBLE and Digital Commonwealth President, and David Leonard, Boston Public Library

The Wilds of Brookline: The Digital Tale of a 19th Century Family and the World They Lived In with Ken Liss, President of the Brookline Historical Society

Privacy Panel with Library Freedom Project and ACLU Massachusetts with Alison Macrina, Library Freedom Project;  and Kade Crockford and Jessie Rossman, ACLU of Massachusetts

National Digital Stewardship Residency – Boston Project with Julie Seifert, Harvard University; Stefanie Ramsay, State Library of Massachusetts; Alice Sara Prael, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum; Jeffery Erickson, Healy Library at UMass. Boston; and Alexandra Curran, MIT Libraries

The Digital Commonwealth Repository System Development Session: Year in Review and Future Directions with Eben English and Steven Carl Anderson, Boston Public Library

The Massachusetts State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB) Grant programs with Rachel Onuf, Roving Archivist for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Back to the Future – Digitizing the Next Generation of Historic Maps with Michelle LeBlanc and Evan Thornberry, Norman B. Leventhal Map Center Boston Public Library

Nuts and Bolts of Building the Digital Harvard Art Museums with Jeff Steward, Harvard Art Museum

Stayin’ Alive Through Community Scanning with Joanne Riley, UMass Boston Archivist; Melissa Campbell, Director Plainville Public Library

Digitization and Preservation Forum with Terrance D’Ambrosio & Frances Harrell, NEDCC

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