On the 10 April 2006 we’ll be holding a training day for people who would like to contribute information about their archives to the Archives Hub. The Hub’s scope is archives held in UK universities and colleges, so the training is aimed at people working in such institutions. The training day covers the process of creating EAD descriptions of archives using the Hub’s online template. It also includes a very nice free lunch at Manchester Business School.
We spend a lot of time promoting the ideals of interoperability and sharing of metadata. Malcolm Moffat of the PerX project at Heriot-Watt University has written a very accessible article on ‘Marketing’ with Metadata – How Metadata Can Increase Exposure and Visibility of Online Content which summarises the benefits of sharing.
I had a chat today with Professor Yaron Matras of the University’s new Romani Project. I remember Yaron as a regular visitor to the University of Liverpool’s Special Collections and Archives when I was working on the Gypsy Lore Society Collections there years ago. The Romani Project is doing some innovative and important stuff for linguistic research – not to mention a helping preserve a language that is under threat – and it’s about time there was a feature on the Roma, but so far I’ve only come with up June as a possible slot, because of the Appleby Horse Fair. Any suggestions or contributions would be gratefully received!
I was reading in March’s Museums Journal about plans for next year’s bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade. We do have material on the Hub about the Atlantic slave trade, plantation owners, and abolitionists.
However, 1807 marked the end of a specific historical instance of
slavery, not the end of slavery itself. We shouldn’t forget that slavery is still alive and well all over the world – and still big business in this country. Remember the Morecambe Bay cockling deaths? Or heard about forced prostitution?
I’d be glad if a Hub contributor could put together a Collections of the Month feature on slavery in all its forms. I just think it’s a bit premature for celebrations.
Interesting–but you left out "people who eat insects"! For example, you might link to http://grubco.com/Nutritional_Information.cfm which has nutritional breakdowns of various insects.
Or not. ;-)
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Elephants – the Big Picture is at the Pavilion, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Exhibition Road, London SW7, Monday 13th March – Saturday 18th March 2006.
The Society of Archivists’ EAD/Data Exchange Group will be running an Introduction to EAD training day on 25 April 2006. Both Amanda and Jane are part of the Group Committee, and, together with Bill Stockting from TNA, they will be the tutors for this course.
For those Hub contributors who want to know more about XML in general, and EAD in particular, this course provides a good general introduction. It also gives delegates the chance to create an EAD record from scratch, using XML editing software. This course is not aimed specifically at Hub contributors, so it will not be about the Hub implementation of EAD, but will look at general principles of using EAD.
Whilst many contributors may be happy to use the Hub template to create records, it can be worthwhile to learn more about the prinicples behind EAD, and gain a greater understanding of the syntax and semantics. We are offering this course at a very good price this year (
Another thing mentioned by Simon Matty was the monetary value placed by the inhabitants of Bolton on the museum, library and archive services provided by the Metropolitan Borough Council. The full report of the consultants is available from MLA North West. I was amazed to discover that the archive service only costs the citizens of Bolton 17 pence a month each. The average price that non-users were willing to pay to maintain the service was a respectable 68 pence. Those who actually used the service would be willing to pay a whopping
Simon Matty of MLA gave a talk about the concept of Public Value at the NCA event. The impression he gave was that it is now being seen as increasingly important to get the public to speak on behalf of service providers about the value they attach to organisations such as archives, libraries and museums. This seems to represent a move away from measuring the number of visitors and towards trying to demonstrate the quality of the users’ experience.
Simon noted that 6.2% of adults (according to the Taking Part survey undertaken by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport) have visited an archive. We thought this was actually quite a high figure, although as Rebecca Simor of the BBC pointed out, it doesn’t include any measure of online use, which is something that interests us particularly.