Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Disaster Preparedness Workshop for Archives

The Australian Society of Archivists have organised a workshop on risk assessment and disaster preparedness, at the National Archives of Australia, Brisbane, 29 May 2010. There may be a follow-up day on salvage of water damaged materials on 24th July.

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Friday, April 09, 2010

NZ Draft Electronic Recordkeeping Standard

Archives New Zealand is proposing to adopt a suite of standards from International Council of Archives for government Electronic Recordkeeping, with a NZ adapt ion document. There is a 17 page (480 Kbytes PDF) exposure draft available for feedback. The ICA standards should work okay for Australia and NZ as they were originally prepared for the Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative. One problem with the Archives NZ exposure draft is that it is poorly formatted PDF with a large "DRAFT" watermark image which slows down loading of the document. A well formatted web page in HTML would have been preferable.
Chief Archivist’s Overview 4
Issue Statement 4
Adoption Statement 4
1. Introduction 6
1.1 Context: ICA-Req and ERKSS 6
1.2 Purpose 6
1.3 Scope 7
1.4 Advice and Guidance 8
2. Mandate and Responsibilities 8
2.1 Application 8
2.2 Interpretation of Functional Requirements 9
2.3 The Treaty of Waitangi 9
3. Benefits of Using this Standard 10
3.1 Benefits of Good Recordkeeping 10
4 Key Terms 12
Appendix A – Relationship with Archives New Zealand Mandatory Standards

From: Digital Recordkeeping System Standard, Exposure Draft, April 2010

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sydney Metro Website Still Available Online

Media reports indicate concern that the website of the abolished Sydney Metro Authority is no longer publicly available. However, it has been cached by Google (3 Feb 2010 01:06:28 GMT).

I suggest the NSW government adopt the practice of some federal departments and retain such web pages at their original address, but add a header to indicate the material was no longer current. This practice was adopted when there was the first change of government after adoption of the web by government (I recall the interdepartmental meeting where it was discussed). This practice is also followed by some US federal and state agencies.

Also the National Library of Australia might like to put a copy in their Pandora Archive.

Obviously details of a failed project which wasted hundreds of millions of dollars is an embarrassment to the NSW government, but attempting to suppress the information is unlikely to improve the situation.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

IT to Rescue Haiti Heritage

The International Council on Archives has passed on a request to the international community for assistance in preserving the cultural heritage of Haiti. The Statement of Requirements details the immediate need to shore up buildings damaged in the recent earthquake and to remove cultural materials to safety where this is not possible. There is a need for IT staff and equipment to assist in digitising and recording cultural materials. When visiting Samoa to teach information technology for Museum staff, I heard of instances where artefacts were removed to "safety" because of a disaster, but were never seen again. As there were no good records, it was not possible to know what was missing or if it was stolen, or mislaid in a warehouse somewhere. Thus the need for records.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is electronic storage cheaper than paper

Yesterday I mentioned a petition against the closure of National Archives of Australia offices. One reply suggested that instead of closing offices to save money, the Archives should stick to paper storage and not digitise records. I am not sure that would be cheaper, nor give a good service.

Most new government records are "born digital", that is they are first created in a computer, not on paper. So to store them on paper would require an additional step of printing them out. Apart from the cost of the paper and printing, there is the storage of the records and handling.

A one terabyte disk holds the equivalent of about 10,000 reams of paper. The paper would take up about 100,000 times as much space as the disk (40 cubic metres as compared to a pocket size device). Also digital records can be shorted and sifted electronically and moved about automatically.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Opposition to closure of Archive state offices

A petition has been prepared protesting the planned closure of the National Archives of Australia offices in Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart. More details is available from the facebook site and History Council of Western Australia.
Dear aus-archivists,

Our petition is going very well. To date I have approximately 2000 signatures from across the country.We want to close it off this Friday so please collect them all now and post them to me. It doesn't matter if there is only one signature on a sheet, it still counts, so please hunt around and
make sure you get them all.

The address:

Anne Picot
C/- Archives & Records Management Services,
A 14
University of Sydney
NSW 2006

Baiba Berzins and I will copy and bundle them up to send to the HR Petitions Committee in time we hope to get on the agenda for their first meeting in February.

And look out for the news coverage (we hope) of the Adelaide demonstration at the Community cabinet meeting today. Of course I hope everyone who can,
will get there to join it. I gather that three people are meeting Senator Joe Judwig this afternoon thanks to the good organising going on in SA.

Please make sure someone takes photos to send to the list and to put on the facebook site.

Have to say that the South Australians are making the running on this campaign right now - Good for you!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Senator Lundy describes her Public Sphere initiative

A ten minute video "Senator Lundy describes her Public Sphere initiative" is now available. This was made for my students at ANU studying Information Technology in Electronic Commerce COMP3410. For an assignment the students have to work out what metadata is appropriate to support such public discussions and to archive video used in policy making.

Public Sphere uses a mix of blogs, wikis, instant messaging, video and other tools, in different formats on different systems. This is fine for a pilot, but if this approach is to be used routinely for public policy making, then a system which allows easier set-up, use and archiving all of the material (perhaps for hundreds of years) is needed.

Government 2.0 Taskforce - Road Show starts consulting the public on 17 August in Canberra, followed by other locations around Australia, ending in Darwin on 2nd September 2009. The Taskforce has 15 experts chaired by Nicolas Gluin and was announced at Public Sphere 2 (Video & transcript available).

The open source XENA tool ("XML Electronic Normalising of Archives") which National Archives of Australia use can then be modified to convert discussions and video from public policy events into a long term storage formats.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Video Archiving System for the Australian Parliament

The Department of Parliamentary Services has issued a Request for Tender for "Provision of Equipment and Services for Media Asset Management and Archiving Solution". This is a digital system for the capture, delivery, and archiving of audio and video from the House of Representative, Senate, hearings and the like. There is also 55,000 hours of broadcast quality video to be digitised and catalogued. There is a detailed tender document available online, with Metadata Exchange, Data Storage Backup and Recovery Principles, Style Manual, User Permissions, ICT Architecture and Standards. Also there will be a briefing at Parliament House, 21 May 2009.
DPS is seeking:

1. hardware, software and services to construct a digital system for the capture, segmentation, delivery, archiving and management of audiovisual and audio-only content; and
2. additional services to digitise the estimated 55,000 hours of recorded broadcast quality video of Parliamentary proceedings and special events (back-capture project). ...

From: Provision of Equipment and Services for Media Asset Management and Archiving Solution, DPS09001, Department of Parliamentary Services, 5-May-2009

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Recordkeeping for government web information

Archives New Zealand have issued a Request for Proposal for "Development of Web Information Continuity Guide". There is a four page description of the work, available for download from the NZ Government website.
Information produced and maintained on the web as part of public sector business is covered by the Public Records Act 2005. This includes information on public websites, intranets, shared workspaces, wikis, blogs and other types of sites, as well as information in the administrative systems used to run these sites.

Archives New Zealand is receiving increasing requests for advice on recordkeeping for web information. Current guidance contained in the Continuum Recordkeeping Resource Kit was largely developed in 2003 and needs to be updated and expanded to provide more useful support to public sector agencies on strategies and tactics for current web information management that will support the aims of the Public Records Act.

Archives New Zealand is looking for a contractor to undertake the project over the period to 31 June 2009:

Interested individuals or consultancies are invited to submit an expression of interest along with a proposal outlining how you would approach the work and details of relevant experience by Friday the 21st November 2008. ...

From: Development of Web Information Continuity Guide, Archives New Zealand, 21/11/08

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Digital Archive System for New Zealand

Archives New Zealand has invited companies to register interest in "The Supply and Implementation of a Digital Archive System". They are planning to create a system to store electronic government records for long term preservation. They are looking for organisations already providing software and hardware for this sort of application. There is a detailed seven page document describing the project. They will obviously want to look at the approach National Archives of Australia took with its digital archive.
GETS Reference: 23046
Title New Zealand based opportunityThe Supply and Implementation of a Digital Archive System
Registration of Interest

General Information

Archives New Zealand is planning to create a digital archive system in which to store electronic public sector records for long term preservation and access. We wish to identify organisations already active in providing software and hardware solutions to address this.

Archives New Zealand has produced the attached Registration of Interest (ROI) to help identify organisations interested in working with us on a digital archive system.

Archives New Zealand is mandated by the Public Records Act 2005 for the custody, care, control, and administration of public archives. This includes information created and stored in digital format.

Archives NZ are using the ROI process to gain a greater understanding of the availability of applications that might meet their requirements.

Archives New Zealand’s next step following the ROI is the development of a business case. Further information may be sought from respondents as input to the development of this case. Respondents will be advised of subsequent procurement steps. ...

Relates to the following TenderWatch Categories
842 Software implementation services
844 Database services
847 Records and information management
849 Other computer services ...

From: The Supply and Implementation of a Digital Archive System, Archives New Zealand, 22 Aug 2008

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Government electronic document policy

Do you have an e-document policy? Later in the year I will be facilitating a workshop on government electronic document policy with people from Australian and New Zealand state and federal governments. We will aim to come up with some guidelines for Government CIOs. But first I need to get an idea of what is out there now. Any pointers to policies, relevant standards or other documents would be most welcome. I will then collate the results and make it available.

My thinking is that most e-document and e-archiving policies are misdirected. Records managers and archivists need to stop being passive receivers of whatever junk they are given. Instead they need to start with the new "killer applications" such as social networking for business, mash ups and the like and build the policies in there. But I would suggest a more cautious approach than that of the UK Government's "Power of Information TaskForce".

Please include a web address where the policy is available, if possible. After all who would be silly enough to distribute their e-document policy on paper? ;-)

By the way the intention is to use a similar computer assisted format and some of the content from the Electronic Document Management course I ran last year. This used a computer equipped lab and a Moodle based system for content and exercises.

Here is a quick list of items I found with a web search:
  1. International: Recommended Practice - Analysis, Selection, and Implementation Guidelines Associated with Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS), Association for Information and Image Management International, April 12, 2006.
  2. Australian Federal: "Improving Electronic Document Management: Guidelines for Australian Government Agencies", Office of Government Information Technology, Commonwealth of Australia 1995
  3. NT: Position Statement on Electronic Recordkeeping in the NT Government, Northern Territory Archives Service, September 2004
  4. Queensland: Digitisation Disposal Policy, Queensland State Archives, April 2006
  5. NSW: State Records NSW has an extensive set of documents and references one-documents:

By the way the new ISO/IEC 38500:2008 Corporate governance of information technology, based on AS8015-2005, includes a requirement for records management for IT systems. There is also a requirement for record keeping in the Australian Standard on Good Governance Principles (AS 8000-2003), as State Records NSW points out.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Digital Preservation of Government Documents

Archives New Zealand have issued a Request for Tender to digitize government records:
GETS Reference: 21751
Title New Zealand based opportunity
Digital Preservation – Wellington - Archives New Zealand
Request for Tender ...
General Information

Archives New Zealand has statutory responsibility to ensure that full and accurate records of the affairs of central and local government are preserved and are accessible to the public.

Archives New Zealand has in its holdings 23 books of national statistics for the years 1840 to 1855, (known as the Blue Books). The majority of the books are hand written in a variety of inks. Whilst some have retained their clarity, others have faded considerably. The books are bound and average 286 pages per volume.

Archives New Zealand seeks tenders from service providers who can create high quality digital images from the original works. A range of compression options should be offered. Our intention is to make pages available online and to reproduce high quality prints as and when required.

Inspection of the volumes can be arranged with Alan Ferris, contact details below.

Tenders will be accessed against three essential criteria:

• The original archives must be handled to standards acceptable to Archives New Zealand.

• The work must be completed by 30 June 2008.

• Quotes for the work should stipulate the methods to be used and the unit cost per method of digital capture.

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