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PTA Issue 4 (2015)

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    From the Editor
    Miles, Randall (2015-05)
    [Excerpt] Welcome to Issue no.4 of Practical Technology for Archives. This is our first truly international issue, with an article by Theresa Cronk from the Research Centre at the Australian War Memorial. In this issue we have three articles: two looking at ways of handling born-digital materials and one on bringing the results of a digitization project to the public. Together, I think these three articles speak very well to what many of us are facing in the field. Not only is there pressure to digitize more and more material and make it accessible and searchable on the internet, but there is also a growing need to efficiently and securely ingest more and more born-digital documents.
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    Digitally Archiving Architectural Models and Exhibition Designs: The Case of an Art Museum
    Cocciolo, Anthony (2015-05)
    [Excerpt] In 2013, a medium-sized art museum located in the Northeast United States received a grant to plan for an electronic records repository. This museum will be referred to here as USAM for brevity. Working as the electronic records consultant on this project, the first major task was to research and inventory the electronic records being created and already existing at the museum, which necessitated scans of network storage, focus groups with departmental staff, and investigations of media included in the physical archives. In engaging in this research process, certain document types were expected, such as image files, word processed documents and spreadsheets. Although documents of these types were indeed plentiful, an extensive quantity of digitally produced two-dimensional drawings (2D) and three-dimensional models (3D) were found. Specifically, over 37,000 CAD drawings were unearthed during a network storage inventory project, as well as over 6,000 3D models. These files originate primarily in VectorWorks (and its predecessor MiniCAD), AutoCAD, and Rhinoceros. Given the quantity of digitally produced models and drawings existing at USAM, and the need to plan for an electronic records repository, this project is motivated by the following question: By what methods can two-dimensional CAD drawings (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) models be digitally archived for long term preservation and access? To answer this question, a review of the relevant literature is first presented, which explores the methods that have been developed for archiving architectural models and exhibition designs. Second, the study methods are presented, which include more detail on the context as well the archiving tests that were conducted. The paper concludes with results and conclusions regarding how architectural models and exhibitions designs are archived at USAM.
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    Getting to Know FRED: Introducing Workflows for Born-Digital Content
    Prael, Alice; Wickner, Amy (2015-05)
    Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) at the University of Maryland Libraries have accepted born-digital content from donors for the past ten years and these donations have grown exponentially over the last few years. Born-digital acquisitions will continue to grow as modern record-keeping moves to exclusively digital formats. Despite the volume of data acquired, almost none of it has been processed into the Libraries’ digital collections for long-term preservation and access. Hard drives and other digital storage media have instead been processed like paper material and placed in boxes, often with printed copies of file inventories or of the digital contents. This can only be a temporary solution as digital storage is susceptible to degradation. As born-digital donations grow, so will the need to protect this data in long-term digital storage.
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    Digitising and Accommodating Archival Collections in a Museum Collection Management System: The ANZAC Connections Experience
    Cronk, Theresa (2015-05)
    [Excerpt] The Australian War Memorial (AWM) is an archive, library, museum and memorial located in Canberra, Australia. Its diverse collections are primarily managed in the museum collection management system, Mimsy XG. The Research Centre is one section within the Memorial and is tasked with digitising, managing and providing access to both archival and library collections. Anzac Connections is the Australian War Memorial’s major digitisation and web development project to mark the centenary of the First World War. Involving the delivery of digitised collections of ephemera, letters and diaries from the Memorial’s Research Centre, this project marked the dawn of a new phase of digitisation. This project also encompassed improvements to the accessibility of collections on the Memorial’s website. This article will discuss the challenges and solutions met by the Memorial in digitising and providing public access to archival collections via a museum collection database. It will focus on the issues experienced at the outset of the Anzac Connections project with digitisation workflows, multiple collection databases and the online display of archival collections. It will also cover the solutions that were adopted to address each of these issues and conclude with the project outcomes that will be beneficial for any future digitisation projects undertaken.