Visit to Seven Stories

Yesterday I enjoyed a visit to Seven Stories, the centre for children’s books, and one of the contributors to our sustainable development project. One of the main reasons for my visit was to see the authority files they have created in CALM, for authors and illustrators. I also gave a quick demonstration of how to use the Hub’s new EAD Editor, which was very well recieved.

Once the business of the visit was over, Hannah (the archivist) showed me some of the treasures of the collection, which included some of Phillip Pullman’s manuscripts (in very neat handwriting!); original artwork by Jan Ormerod for her book ‘Sunshine‘; and the original illustrations for Noel Streatfeild’s ‘Ballet Shoes’. Included with these was, to my great excitement, the original copy of Pauline’s application for a stage licence, filled out (with book-appropriate information) by either Noel or her illustrator Ruth Gervis who, I discovered to my delight, was Noel Streatfeild’s sister.

I’m really pleased that Seven Stories are going to be adding their descriptions to the Hub in the near future, and I’d encourage you to have a look – I’m sure you’ll find plenty to interest you.

Sustainable content: visits to contributors

I recently visited two of the contributors to the Archives Hub sustainable content development project. The archivists at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) and the BT Archives were nice enough to let me drink their tea, and see how they used CALM.

Axiell, developers of the CALM software, have kindly let us have access to a trial version of CALM to help with this project, but it

How green are our online services?

Picture of fig plant and monitor
The Museums Computer Group’s JISCmail list had an interesting thread yesterday discussing the environmental impact and sustainability of museums’ online services. Matthew Cock of the British Museum started it off with this question:

I was thinking about how a museum might make its activities more sustainable, in terms of reducing its carbon footprint, etc. And then I got to thinking about the museum’s website (as is my job) and the internet in general. On a large scale, how much energy does the internet use up? Is anyone aware of any figures? On a local scale, we could evaluate the energy used up by the servers hosting our site, and the PCs and infrastructure inside our Museum. But how far could we decrease these (I’m not going to even mention ‘off-setting’ as an option), even as we aim to increase our site visits, and ensure good bandwidth and zero downtime? We increasingly demand that our websites are accessible, and require of 3rd parties that they help us to achieve that – is there a place for requirements that our ISPs use renewable sources of energy?

All the servers we’re using require lots of power to run and to keep them cool. Is that offset by the trips we save people making by putting lots of the information they need online?

I wasn’t sure about this comment from Nick Poole though:

If we are talking about the environmental impact specifically of digital publishing by museums, then I would argue that this is offset by several orders of magnitude by the mostly tedious and tangential blogosphere. If we’re talking about personal choices, preventing unnecessary blogging would probably be up there at number one on my list.

Oh dear. Should we shut this blog down?