ArchivematiCamp 2016

This year Artefactual organised their inaugural user conference, ArchivematiCamp, kindly hosted by the University of Michigan, School of Information in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The event ran from August 24th – 26th and was open to any organisation/institution that was either using, or thinking of using, Artefactual’s digital preservation system, Archivematica.

ArchivematiCamp 2016 brekkie!

ArchivematiCamp 2016 brekkie!

Both myself and my colleague, Robin Taylor, from our Library Digital Development team attended, and apart from us and Marco Klindt from the Zuse Institute in Berlin, the rest of the attendees were either from the US or Canada, naturally. So we were flying the flag for the EU (well at least for now!).

On the whole it was a very relaxed event, which started each day with coffee of every type (decaf, light, dark) and tea for those that prefer it (not me!) along with an enormous selection of breakfast goodies (Danishes the size of car wheels!). Although lunch was not supplied there were more cakes and coffee in the afternoon to keep us fully fueled! And at the end of the first day those of us that were able retired to the Ann Arbor Brew Pub for a few beers and some grub, which was a great opportunity to discuss the hot topics for the day (the impending US election, the London underground system, Scottish weather and how I reminded an attendee of her family from Paisley, which was lovely!)

But it wasn’t all about food and booze. There was the little matter of digital preservation to discuss…ah that thing! Artefactual put on a really well thought through event, which in parts was split into operational and technical workshops. That suited Robin and I perfectly as I’m definitely not a techie! Different topics (previously voted on by the attendees) were covered in the first two days and combined demonstrations of functionality (Bentley Historical Library’s appraisal tab for version 1.6, the Exactly tool for digital record transfer, how to modify the File Format Policy register, how to package collections ready for transfer and ingest into Archivematica, how the

Ben Fino-Radin of MoMA illustrating MoMA's digital preservation workflow

Ben Fino-Radin of MoMA illustrating MoMA’s digital preservation workflow

different File Characterisation tools differ) along with revelations on how the product is evolving over the next few versions. I was delighted to know that version 1.5.1 had been released (with CentOS rpms).

The final day was an unconference style where topics mentioned by attendees that had not been covered within the structured two days were voted on for discussion. As it was a much shorter day than the other two we only had an opportunity to discuss a couple of topics but it was a great opportunity for mutual support and discussion on how Artefactual and the Archivematica community can begin to work together more efficiently, the different workflows that institutions currently have in place and areas where they are looking to modify those workflows and also an opportunity for attendees to identify functionality that they would like to see included within the Archivematica product, such as greater reporting to enrich the audit tracking process and facilitate long term preservation planning.

Given both Robin and I had travelled some 3000+ miles for the event I was very happy that our time, and money, hadn’t been wasted. Not only was it a great learning experience it was a great opportunity to meet colleagues I had previously only spoken to via Skype, and an opportunity to meet new people and find out how they are going with their digital preservation projects. With the added bonus of some sunshine and warmth to boot (which we’ve been sadly lacking this year in Edinburgh), I’m really pleased I had the chance to go, and am already looking forward to the next one!

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