UK Archivematica User Group (March 2016)

Yesterday I attended the UK Archivematica User Group meeting, hosted by Jenny Mitcham at the University of York. Our group, which is open to any individual or institution who is actively using, exploring or testing Archivematica, now has some 47 members so it’s exciting and encouraging to know that this system is getting such great support here in the UK and also from mainland Europe too.

Our meeting was, as always, enlightening and well attended and I had the fortune of picking up one of the Archivematica stickers on the table (which is the feature image for this post!). Some 20 of us huddled round a long table eagerly awaiting updates on projects and activities from the speakers.

Victoria Peters, University of Strathclyde, gave an update on her business case for having Archivematica installed to manage digital archives as well as research data. Gary Tucson, Norfolk Record Office, gave an introduction on work being done in collaboration with the East of England Regional Archive Council to get Archivematica up and running. Then before lunch Jen Mitcham updated us on phase 2 of the JISC Filling the Preservation Gap project, under way in collaboration with the University of Hull, and plans for implementation in phase 3.

After a brief rest and refuel we resumed the day with a great demonstration by Max Eckard at the Bentley Historical Library of work sponsored by a generous Mellon Foundation grant to develop the functionality of Archivematica. This work, which you can read all about on Bentley’s blog, is key for us here in Edinburgh as it enables integration with ArchivesSpace as well as a new appraisal and arrangement tab. Matthew Addis, Arkivum, then gave a demonstration of two really useful tools, Exactly and ownCloud for the transfer of digital objects to the Archive/Archivematica. I’m particularly interested in Exactly as this may be helpful not only in making the transfer a more efficient process but may also help gather the right accompanying metadata too. Definitely worth exploring.

I then gave an update to the group on our project, with some background information, and how we are currently working with Artefactual to enable Archivematica to run on CentOS (which I previously blogged about) and the testing work we carried out last year to evaluate the system and its suitability. We’re in the processing of installing the beta version of Archivematica 1.6 to test out which will be exciting, so watch this space for updates!

Our last presentation of the day was from Anna Henry, Tate Gallery, who presented on her project to ingest and preserve digital artworks and the testing that had been conducted. She ended her presentation with questions for us on topics such as use of Bitcurator and being able to identify personal information in collections. This is a subject I’m also interested in. I’ve experimented a little with Bitcurator and Bulk Extractor but so far haven’t managed to get it to do what I expected it to do. But I need to devote more time to exploring it in more detail.

We ended our session with a brief update from Sarah Romkey, Artefactual, on what to expect from the upcoming releases of Archivematica. This year is a bit of a bumper year in terms of new and exciting functionality. Apart from the extensive development work funded by Bentley there will be outputs from the JISC project as well as key preservation planning functionality (AIP reingest) funded by the Zuse Institute. There is also talk about an upcoming Archivematica Camp in the US, which I’m really excited to hear more about. I believe Artefactual will be releasing more details about that in the coming weeks. As Sarah stated by the end of the year Archivematica will look like a very different solution, which is really exciting and evidence of how well its supported both here and across the pond.

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