Challenges to Born-Digital Institutional Archiving: The Case of a New York Art Museum

jazI have written a new article that highlights the challenges to born-digital institutional archiving, using a New York art museum as a case.  It is appearing soon in Records Management Journal, but you can download a preprint here.

ABSTRACT

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight the challenges to born-digital institutional archiving, using a New York Archive Museum (NYAM) as a case.

Design/methodology/approach – The digital record keeping practices at NYAM were studied using three data sources: a) focus groups with staff, totaling 81 individuals, or approximately one-third of all staff, b) analysis of network file storage, and c) analysis of digital records in archival storage, or specifically removable media in acid-free archive boxes.

Findings – This case study indicates that the greatest challenges to born-digital institutional archiving are not necessarily technological but rather social and cultural.  Or rather, the challenge is getting individuals to transfer material to a digital archive so that it can undergo the technological transformations needed to ensure its long-term availability.  However, transfer is impeded by a variety of factors which can be addressed through education, infrastructure development and proactive appraisal for permanent retention.

Practical implications – This paper highlights the challenges to born-digital institutional archiving, yet notes that these challenges can be overcome by following a multi-pronged approach.

Original value – This paper outlines the challenges to born-digital institutional archiving, which is not often discussed in the literature outside of the context of higher education.

What Archivists Can Learn from Cosmology

I just presented a paper at AERI 2013 (Archival Education and Research Institute). You can download the paper here.

What Archivists Can Learn from Cosmology: The Enduring Paradigm in Einstein’s Universe

ABSTRACT

Archivists and archival educators have become increasingly interested in expanded conceptions of archives. This movement is best captured by the Pluralizing the Archival Curriculum Group, which asks “How do we move from an archival universe dominated by one cultural paradigm to an archival multiverse[?]” (p. 73). Although there is a growing interest in incorporating multiple perspectives into archives thinking, rarely do concepts from the physical sciences get incorporated into these discussions. This paper will explore concepts from cosmology that have extensive bearing on how archives are conceptualized. Further, it will explore how these concepts are incorporated into the archives discourse, and conclude with suggesting a way that archivists of the future may incorporate this thinking into their descriptive practices.

Does Place Affect User Engagement and Understanding?

Below you will find a pre-print for the forthcoming article in the Journal of Documentation: Does Place Affect User Engagement and Understanding? Mobile Learner Perceptions on the Streets of New York (co-authored with Debbie Rabina).

ABSTRACT

Purpose: The aim of this research project is to uncover if place-based learning can increase learner engagement and understanding of historical topics.
Design/methodology/approach:
To study this, learners will use GeoStoryteller to learn about a historical topic on the places where significant events occurred, and then be interviewed by the researchers.  GeoStoryteller is a tool developed by the researchers that runs on smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone.  It provides the user multimedia stories about the historical sites, delivered via the mobile web or through Layar, an augmented reality web browser.  The initial application of this technology focuses on German immigration to New York City between 1840 and 1945 through a partnership with the Goethe-Institut, the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institution, which operates worldwide.  After using GeoStoryteller to learn about this content, N=31 participants were interviewed by the researchers, and transcripts were subjected to a quantitative content analysis.
Findings:
Results indicate that the use of place increases learner perceptions of their engagement and understanding of historical topics; however, novel user interfaces like augmented reality impose significant usability issues, and more standard interfaces are preferred by users.
Originality/value:
The use of place in mobile learning environments provides a meaningful entry point into historical content.  Teachers of history and social students, as well as those working in memory institutions (museum, libraries, and archives) should be encouraged in using place in their teaching and mobile education initiatives.

Download Pre-print PDF

Presenting at the iConference

I’m presenting a poster this week with my colleague Debbie Rabina at the iConference 2012 in Toronto. Here is a brief snippet from the introdution:

The aim of this research project is to uncover if place-based learning can increase learner engagement and understanding of historical topics. To study this, learners will use GeoStoryteller to learn about a historical topic on the places where those events occurred, and then be interviewed by the researchers. GeoStoryteller is a tool developed by the researchers that runs on smart phones such as Apple’s iPhone. It provides the user multimedia stories about the historical sites, delivered via the mobile web or through Layar, an augmented reality web browser.

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Using virtual space to compensate for lack of physical space?

columbia_university.jpgBelow you will find a paper I wrote based on some work I did back at Teachers College. I hope you enjoy it.

Cocciolo, A. (in press). Alleviating physical space constraints using virtual space? A study from an urban academic library. Library Hi Tech, 28(4).

ABSTRACT
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate if virtual space can be used to alleviate physical space constraints for group collaboration in an urban academic library environment. Specifically, this paper looks to uncover if library users will turn to library-provided virtual space when there is a scarcity of physical space.
Design/methodology/approach – This project discusses the design of the physical and virtual environment, and then measures the use of this environment quantitatively over a 47-month period (2005-2009).
Findings – Results indicate that physical spaces for group collaboration are in very high demand, whereas virtual ones are not. A scarcity of physical collaboration spaces does not lead users to library-provided virtual space, but rather to work around the scarcity in the physical world.
Originality/value – Highlights the value of library as a gathering place and the ways in which virtual collaboration space cannot easily take the place of physical collaboration space.