Category Archives: Digital Archives

Preserving the City’s website with Archive-It

We are pleased to announce that we have begun preserving and providing access to crawls (snapshots) of the City’s website using Archive-It, a web application developed and managed by the Internet Archive. Archive-It uses an open-source crawler called Heritrix to crawl specific web content based on instructions provided by the user (in our case, that’s us), and the venerable Wayback Machine to provide access. Over time, the preserved crawls will show how the City’s website has changed in terms of content, look and feel.

vancouver.ca today

How it works

Each crawl directs Heritrix to one or more “seed” URLs, which you can think of as the starting points of the crawl. From each seed, Heritrix browses through all links and saves any content it encounters that falls within the scoping rules for the crawl. Crawled content is saved in the WARC file format, an ISO standard for storing web content. Continue reading

Significant changes to our online search

NOTE: The clipboard feature described below is currently unavailable. We are working on the problem.

Our online search has been upgraded to version 2.4 of AtoM and with that has come many changes in its look and behaviour. We’d like to guide you through the major differences.

COPYRIGHTED DIGITAL OBJECTS

One of the more exciting new features is the change in your access to copyrighted digital objects. Previously, if you were searching the database from home you could only access the thumbnail of a digital object under copyright to a third party (that is, not the City of Vancouver) or of unknown copyright. If you tried to look at a larger image, you would see a warning that said “This digital object can only be accessed in person at the Archives because of the associated rights”. You would have had to come to the Archives to see the full image online.

With our upgraded system, you will now see the larger image in the full record page. Continue reading

American Institute for Conservation and Canadian Association for Conservation joint conference

In May, I attended the annual conferences of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) and Canadian Association for Conservation (CAC), a large, joint conference in Montreal. Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Florence flood, a disaster which inspired many people to become conservators, the theme was disaster preparedness. Here are a few of the highlights.

Cover of the conference program

Cover of the conference program.

DIGITAL ASSESSMENT OF VIDEO WORKSHOP

I attended a full-day workshop on Digital Assessment Techniques for Video. The instructors were Kelly Haydon, Peter Oleksik and Erik Piil. We had a chance to try different types of software used to evaluate digital video files. We can use this in many situations, for example, if Continue reading

Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference 2015

In late November, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Portland, Oregon. Here are a few of the highlights.

Portlandia at night

Portlandia at night

HACK DAY

Once again, AMIA partnered with the Digital Library Foundation (DLF) on a one-day event where archivists and developers could work together on digital problems. This year’s award-winning projects were: Continue reading

iPRES International Conference on Digital Preservation 2015

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

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

More improvements to our online search

We’ve recently updated our online search to add a few new features.Date-range-location

DATE SEARCH

In response to your suggestions, we sponsored development of an improved date search. It’s in Advanced Search, on the left sidebar. Continue reading

Our online search has been upgraded

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.

Illustration of reduced screen area for new results

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*”.

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.

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.

Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference 2014

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

One view of the vendor’s area of the conference. Photograph by Lindy Leong for AMIA

Continue reading

Improved online search: faster and with new features

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.simple-search-suggestions

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

2013 Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference

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.

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.

HACK DAY

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