Are Environmental concerns part of our mandate?

As archivists and and heritage specialists we are instinctively concerned with the preservation of information. We concern ourselves with Authenticity, Integrity and Reliability. We endeavor to maintain the trace of the past as a form of dialogue with future generations.

But what about the environmental aspects of our decisions. Is it environmentally friendly to maintain massive amounts of paper documents which otherwise could have been recycled ? Is the power and resources we use to ensure specialized conditions for archival storage also in the best interests of our planets ?

It could be said that when considering methods of preserving digital information migration onto more streamlined  technologies, which draw on less power, is responsible.

But it remains to be asked if this is our concern. Are we guardians of information first, and guardians of the planet second, or the other way around ?


A Book worth reading.

In my opinion  Advanced Digital Preservation By David Giaretta is a book worth reading in relation to MCPDM. It available on Google books for free. It starts off kinda basic and then works its way in. What is of particular interest to me is the distinction between rendered digital objects and non rendered digital objects. Overall I recommend this text. But this is only my personal opinion. 


Exercise: Selection and Appraisal

  1. (Group 3 & 4)

Task 1. Work in your own group to consider the following (15 minutes).

How do the criteria for traditional models apply to the internet resource? For example, what is the value of the information based on:

  • Administrative, legal, and fiscal value
  • Evidential, informational, and/or research value
  • Their arrangement

It is about History.

Informational and research value.  Could not use as evidence.  We think it is like Wikipedia, Bing etc etc.

Evidential/Information – Only when researched?

The questions are random, and how can you tell that the answers are all correct. Who monitors these?

Arrangement – arranged as the questions are asked, no specific type of arrangement.

Is it possible to check how it works without asking a question.

We done research and tried to leave a question on the website.  The website must have some sort of ‘quality control’ before they are posted on the site because Seans question got rejected. “What was the banquet of chestnuts?” 1501

Anyone can use the website.

Appraise the questions – certain criteria to make before the question is accepted and put online.

  1. b) How significant are the data for digital curation? (The Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences (DataPASS) guidelines for social science data):-
  • How significant is the source for scientific progress and society?
  • Is the information unique?
  • How usable are the data?
  • What is the timeframe covered by the information?
  • Are the data related to other data in the archives?
  • What are the cost considerations for long-term maintenance of the data?
  • What is the volume of data?

No it is history based.  Unless you are doing social science study, which would be useful to see interaction.

Information is unique because you can ask any question you want

Not usable data unless you are studying sites like this.  We would not trust this to be usable information.

Timeframe covered – no comment

The data can be related to other data as the questions asked could be on the same subject, era, person and so forth.  To find answers are linked to different archive collections etc.

Free to post, not sure how they control the price/appraisal/how it is funded.  Employees to check.

Uncontrollable data.  After we posted a question – 2 more questions arose.  Anyone can access the site if they have internet and computer.

  1. c) Use the guideline “Five steps to decide what data to keep” (DCC 2014) to make decisions about these sources of data:
  • identify purpose that data could fulfill
  • identify data that must be kept
  • identify data that should be kept
  • weigh up the costs
  • complete data appraisal
  1. d) What part of the data should NOT be preserved? Why?
  1. d) What part of the data should NOT be preserved? Why?

A lot of the questions could be asked if they went to the library or archive and done their own research…

Archive (

376 times 25th jan 2012 – 28 jan 2015

Why did they save more in 2014 than the other years?  What kind of questions do they save? Appraisal.  Does it matter how many views the question has, or is it more about how many answers it has?  You can vote on answers – which one is the best.

[1] [date accessed 28 January 2015]

Photo from (Accessed 28/01/15) And refers to the banquet of chestnuts.


Last week in class,

Last time in class we were looking at authenticity, integrity and reliability. We had a lecture in the morning which included a healthy discussion and a few useful pointers. In the afternoon lab session we did a bit of practical work. We were introduced to the Checksum mechanism. This is highly useful method for detecting if a digital object has been tampered with. We learned that file tampering is always possible but there are counter methods which allow us to tell if a file has been altered. This is in part possible by assigning unique visible or invisible water marks to a file. A checksum is a unique alphanumeric code which can be applied to a digital object. If a file is altered then this checksum will immediately change also, even if the changes are reversed. Such a method can also be useful to check that a digital object has not lost information via email or over time. We used programmes entitled SHA-256, SHA 1, and MD-5 which can be used to calculate and verify a checksum. Even the slightest changes in character can alter the sum dramatically. The more modern the program the longer the checksum tended to be. We also learned that the more complex the checksum the harder it was to be replicated by accident. That being said the checksum is not foolproof and file differences were not always resulting in a different code. Furthermore copied files appeared to produce the same checksum as long as they were not altered further. We also saw a list of file signatures and a list of filename extensions which further helps identify and verify digital data. Lastly we also saw footage from a court case in which we observed how such issues are discussed in a court of law where digital authenticity, integrity and reliability is of utmost importance.

From Sean, Erika, Hannah and Ellie.

First class detectives

  1. This blog post is a joint effort from Sean, Hannah, Ellie and Erika to save four similar posts…

Shoot files activity

Working as a group this exercise provided a lot of insight into how easy it is to corrupt files.  From the exercise it was clear that each file reacted to the shooting game in different ways.  Lossless and lossy were also interesting in relation to file compression. When a file is lossless it is made smaller without losing any information or data. This is found in files like GIFs. Lossy files end up losing a bit of information but is used more for images, like JPEGs, but this is undetectable to the naked eye. This was found online. This could also play into the deterioration of a digital file.


Digital detective activity

This activity was a challenge initially, however we embraced the obstacles and completed the exercise.

The first problem was needing a decoder to decipher the three codes. This was provided for us via the Moodle site. However there was a problem with the link to the Nathan Lex on the Internet. We took to the initiative to find the link elsewhere via Google.


Question one: ‘On March 11 1968, President Lydon B. Johnson mandated all computers purchased by the US Federal Government to do something. What was it?’

Answer: All computers purchased by the U.S federal government must have the capability to use the Standard Code for Information Interchange. The source we used to find the answer was via Google and the link to the page …


Question two: ‘The vigesimal system was memorably employed by a U.S. president when dedicating a cemetery. Which president, and what decimal value did he express in vigesimal notation? Hint: in Old Norse, a notch on a stick used to tally values in vigesimal notation was called a “skor.”‘

Answer: President Abraham Lincoln and the decimal value was 87. Again we used Google to find out the answer for the president, but we also had our own historical background knowledge of the Gettysburg address.



Question threeAMERICA(This photograph was taken from class exercise 14/01/2015).


Answer: The sixty-four characters are, the alphabet lower-cases and the alphabet upper-cases, 0-9 and + and – .

This answer came from google, Sean was the only group member to get this answer as the rest of us ran out of time.


Until next week… Goodnight











Objects… Records & Evidence Class, Week 5.

In todays class we were asked to bring in an object which was of significant value to you.

I brought in my JarJar Binks ‘teddy’, that I have had for 15 years.  Although I am not a huge Star Wars fan, I took an instant shine to JarJar Binks.  I took him on nearly every holiday with me when I was younger and also took him to university with me when I moved to Stirling.  I suppose you can say he has became a sort of ‘comfort blanket’ for me and provided a sense of home when I have not been there.


blog  Im sure he will be around for much longer…


Authority is a key issue to think about when analysing a document. We often consider the authority of the author before making any judgements based on their views or writings. The authority of an author can be who they are in general, their qualifications on the topic and their reputation as a reliable source. According to E. Yakel ‘authorship’ and ‘authority’ are among the most “salient” parts of the records creation process[1]. Thus when a record is created one should really keep a note of the person who created it to ensure its authority when/if others decide to use or consider its value. One example of how authority helps when scrutinising documents or records is; in class each group was provided with a statement on a piece of paper. However this statement did not identify an author and also no reference was included. This created a problem within the class as it was extremely difficult to analyse the statement to the fullest extent, it was ambiguous and the statement could have been related to many different topics. As there was no author, the source lacked reliability and value. Essentially the context and environment of a view or source can give clues to its authority.


Sources used:

[1] Yakel, Elizabeth, Archival representation, in, Blouin et al, Archives Documentation and Institutions of Social memory, (2007), University of Michigan press, Michagen, P158

Group 4 Strengths and Weaknesses

This is a summarised/condensed version of what we (group 4) believe to be our strengths and weaknesses:-


  • We have all had experience working within an archive environment, so this is not new to us.
  • Three of us have history degrees therefore we are aware of the different elements you need to consider (context, author etc) before coming to any sort of conclusion about a document.


  •  We are not a specialist in any particular field and have varied knowledge of the past decades.
  • One group member studied film therefore they may not be as used to working with original sources, such as letters, but I think this helps to balance us out and keep us from only having a historical perspective!


Below is a photo of original documents from the University of Glasgow archives, which we were lucky enough to have the chance to have a look at and analyse this week.  (The documents are dated from 1866-1868 and are several different records from the successful fundraising bid to build the University of Glasgow’s New Buildings).

Records and evidence glasgow uni




I’m from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  I studied Film and Television and then went on to study Animation for a year at Glasgow School of Art.

My previous experience with archives was a short placement at the BBC helping to create a clip show for BBC4. Much of the time was spent requesting tapes of 80s british television from the archives and then watching hours of them just to log the relevant parts for the show.  Unfortunately, that came to an end.

I now work at The Lighthouse on Mitchell Lane, as gallery assistant, telling the public about architecture, design, and sometimes updating their twitter account with a cringe-worthy tweet or two.

This course appealed to me because I originally wanted to do Museum Studies but felt this course had more transferable skills.  Skills I will put to good use when I get my dream job of just watching TV.


Hello! My name is Louise and I am a 2nd year part-time student. In my undergrad I studied history at the University of Glasgow before going on to complete an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture (English & American Studies) at the University of Manchester. There were many, many, many great things about the course, but getting to write 15,000 words on Bob Dylan tops the list. After that I moved back home to Glasgow and applied for the IMP course which I hope will allow me to combine my love for history and sexuality studies, and I am particularly interested in the relationship archival theory can have with queer theory.
I don’t have a great deal of experience within archives as I spend a large chunk of my week at work in the credit management department of Harper Collins Publishers. However, I have managed to squeeze in a week in the Tate Britain Archives as well as a brief period in the Glasgow Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. I also volunteer at the Spirit of Revolt Archive which holds an incredibly rich source of anarchist material from the 1970’s onward and I am currently involved in their digitization project.