This past November I attended iPRES 2015. iPRES is one of the foremost international conferences on digital preservation, and the conference location rotates between North America, Europe, and Asia. iPRES 2015 was hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
UNC Chapel Hill, Louis Round Wilson Library, which houses the university’s archives and special collections. Source: Ildar Sagadejev, CC-BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons
iPRES 2015 was a great opportunity to learn about recent developments in digital preservation research and practice, and to swap stories and ideas with fellow archivists as well as practitioners of many other stripes. The digital preservation community is highly varied and necessarily involves the expertise of multiple professions, and one of the most satisfying elements of my time at iPRES was the chance to look at familiar problems from new angles. Continue reading
We’ve recently updated our online search to add a few new features.
In response to your suggestions, we sponsored development of an improved date search. It’s in Advanced Search, on the left sidebar. Continue reading
You may have noticed that our SearchArchives database looks a little different. For example, the information for a full record is in a more compact form, reducing the amount of scrolling you’ll have to do.
Screenshots of identical dimensions show the dramatic difference. The old version is on the left and the new one on the right.
The software has recently been upgraded to version 2.1 of AtoM. Most of the changes in the updated version affect how things are handled behind the scenes. Besides the example above, there are other changes that affect users:
Improved search times. Updates to the search index have reduced the time it takes the database to respond to your search query.
Searchable subject and place terms. There is a search box that appears on the Browse Subjects and Browse Places pages that allows you to search for specific terms, rather than just browse them. Be sure to hit the magnifying glass symbol (indicated below) to search.
Search results for subject term “building*”.
Better list of search results. There has been a change to the results algorithm that will give you results in a slightly different order.
Results of searching for “dog”. The old version is on the left and the new one on the right.
We are anticipating further improvements to our SearchArchives database with the AtoM 2.2 release later this summer.
In October, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Savannah, Georgia. Here are a few of the highlights.
One view of the vendor’s area of the conference. Photograph by Lindy Leong for AMIA
We’ve updated our online search and we think you’ll like the changes in both function and design. Here are some of the main ones.
It’s much faster. The search engine is completely new and the difference in search times is noticeable.
Simple search gives suggestions as you type a search term. This gives you another way to find holdings.
In early November, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Richmond, Virginia. Here are a few of the highlights.
Buttons from AudioVisual Preservation Solutions, consultants specializing in AV preservation.
The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is an association for many different types of professionals involved in the preservation and access of moving image heritage. Members come from all over the world to attend the conference.
In partnership with the Digital Library Federation, AMIA held its first Hack Day. Software developers and non-developers (like me!) spent a day solving problems. I was part of the group of non-developers that created a guide to using FFmpeg software which was aimed at archivists who would like to use it but find it too complex. We put the guide on a wiki, expecting it to become more useful as information is added. Our group won one of the jury prizes. Continue reading
When we first told you about our new search system, we said that it was on a rapid development cycle and that there would be improvements. We’re pleased to tell you about one upgrade that gives you on-site access to thousands more digital objects and another that makes it easier to do research at home. Developed for us by Artefactual Systems, these open source enhancements could be adapted by other institutions using the same database software.
The big change
Until now, digital objects that were under the copyright of a 3rd party (other than City of Vancouver’s copyright) could only be viewed online as a tiny thumbnail. Now they can be viewed in full resolution in our Reading Room through our online search. This works on your laptop in the Reading Room (using our wifi) as well as at our public computers. Continue reading
In early December, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Seattle. Here are a few of the highlights.
The Cinerama has been restored to its 1963 space-age look. A showing of “Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock” was a highlight outside of the conference program. Photograph: Sue Bigelow
The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is a professional association for those involved in the preservation and access of moving image heritage. Members come from all over the world to attend the conference.
There was an excellent workshop on uses of ffmpeg for archivists. Ffmpeg is open source, free software for working with multimedia files. One of the advantages for archives is that ffmpeg is always adding the capability of working with new types of files, but not getting rid of any old functionality. This means that if archivists encounter an outdated type of file, ffmpeg may be able to work with it. Ffmpeg software can analyze a file and report on all the different kinds of data inside. We store the original files in our digital archives but we also create another version using ffmpeg that can be viewed on a modern computer. Continue reading
It’s the Day of Digital Archives again! We’re featuring a glimpse at what a few of our staff have been doing for our digital archives program.
Glenn Dingwall is working on the Archives upgrade from Archivematica version 0.8 to version 0.9. Archivematica is one of the core components of our digital archives. When the Archives accepts a transfer or donation of digital material, Archivematica is the software package used to examine files to determine what they are, to produce preservation copies in file formats that are suitable for long-term access, to make access copies that are suitable for providing on our website, and to package the access and preservation copies together with metadata that explains what they are so that people in the future will be able to read and interpret them.
One of the changes that will happen when we move to Archivematica 0.9 is that it will now be hosted in a virtual machine environment within the City’s network. This will have a number of advantages over our current local area network setup, by making it easier for us to maintain and update the software, enabling Archivematica to communicate faster and more reliably with other components of our digital archives (such as our search software and storage environments), and allowing us more flexibility in apportioning processing resources to different tasks.
We are planning to go from a bare-metal development network . . .
. . . to a more powerful and complex virtual system.
Whitehorse was the location of this year’s Association of Canadian Archivists conference. Archivists from as far away as Brazil and New Zealand joined Canadian archivists for three days of learning, sharing, networking and debate. The theme of the conference was ‘Archival Gold.’ We were privileged to have Dr. Ken Coates, who grew up in Whitehorse, begin the first morning with a wonderful keynote speech sharing his historical knowledge of Canada’s North, his appreciation of Archives as rich sources of much of that knowledge, and the importance of teaching history to children.
Jeremy Heil, Glenn Dingwall and Peter Van Garderen answering questions at the end of their session. Photo by Cindy McLellan
The City of Vancouver Archives was again well represented at the ACA conference. Digital Archivist Glenn Dingwall was part of the panel session Developing Digital Information Infrastructure for Canadian Archives and spoke about the policy and planning decisions made at the Archives that were necessary to transition from a digitization program to a full-blown digital preservation program. Project Archivist Cindy McLellan (self-funded) shared with fellow archivists the workflow we have developed for preserving video materials digitally, using the Yaletown Productions fonds as an example. Continue reading