The ADS is an accredited digital repository and data that’s deposited with us is available open access via our archives or library but what actually happens to the data?
First off, it depends on how the data is deposited with us and what the end state of the data will be but it also depends on what kind of data has been deposited.
Each deposit method has varying amounts of manual checks done to the data by archivists with large deposits requiring the most checks and OASIS requiring the least.
For reports that have been deposited via OASIS, minimal additional checks are done by archivists into the contents of the reports as the reports themselves are checked via OASIS both programmatically and through an approval process. Similarly, ADS-easy has a number of checks built into the system but it then becomes the archivist’s job to check the actual data submitted. Large datasets on the other hand require nearly all checks to be completed by an archivist.
At the best of times starting a new job can be a nerve-racking experience. So starting a new job during a pandemic should therefore be worse, right? However, from the moment I was interviewed virtually for the position of User Support Assistant at the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), I felt at ease and welcome. It has been a long time since I’ve interviewed for any job role having been in my previous role for ten years, and I have never interviewed virtually so it was a surreal process all round. However, there was nothing to worry about as before I knew it, I was offered a position as User Support Assistant here at the ADS.
I must admit, starting my new role in a pandemic has been strange as I have had to meet the ADS team, HR and other University members of staff virtually. Although during my first few weeks I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to meet some members of the team in the sunshine outside Kings Manor and my fellow new starters on campus for a coffee which proved that they do exist beyond a screen! I needn’t have been worried though as despite all of my induction and subsequent training sessions being online it hasn’t made my inclusion in the team or the effectiveness of the training received any less. Everyone has been so friendly, approachable and supportive.
Hello! I’m Evelyn, and I started my role as a Digital Archives Assistant for the Archaeology Data Service at the beginning of August.
Having previously worked as an archive assistant for a commercial archaeology unit, I was involved in compiling and preparing digital data for deposition with museums and repositories including the ADS. I thought I was fairly well versed with the world of digital archiving, but in my short few weeks here I’ve found that digital preservation is a bit like an iceberg – there’s so much more beneath the surface than I initially thought! In my first week or so I found the AIPs, DOIs, CMS, SQL, redsquids and all the other weird and wonderful terms relating to digital data processes a little daunting. But sure enough, as soon as I began to tackle my very first ADS-easy archive and began my journey as part of the wider digital preservation mission, everything started to fall into place.
My tasks so far have been delightfully varied and have included archiving small ADS-easy data sets, promoting new releases on social media, ADS Library cleaning, updating archive image captions, taking part in CATS (Curatorial and Technical Staff) Week, and searching the collections for notable archives from the last year to feature in our annual report as ‘highlights’. I’ve really enjoyed being able to develop my IT skills, which admittedly I was a little worried I didn’t have enough of, but I’ve learnt so much in such a short period of time I am just so eager to see what other new skills I develop. In the next six months or so I’m looking forward to learning more about GIS, vector graphics and 3D object collections, and trying my hand at HTML coding. The role of a DAA sounds pretty technical, but as part of the archiving process I have been able to explore some truly fascinating collections, such as building recordings, monument surveys and assemblages of material culture – all from the comfort of my home computer, which really is the beauty of digital archives!
As well as welcoming our lovely new staff members, we also have yet more good news…
… The ADS Library now holds over 50,000 downloadable grey literature reports!
Thank you to all the archivists who have worked hard preserving, archiving and disseminating these files and to all of our depositors who continue to make our Grey Literature Collections such a rich resource!
In April this year our former colleague, Jen Mitcham, attended the inaugural SPRUCE digital preservation mash-up in Glasgow (16th-18 April 2012), an event organised by Leeds University Library as part of the JISC funded Sustainable PReservation Using Community Engagement Project (SPRUCE) which intends to foster wider communication within the digital archiving sector. During discussions at the event it was identified that one of the practical problems effecting the management of digital files within archives was the ability to compare and monitor the migration of files during various stages of the archive process (Millard 2012). At the outset it was identified that any solution to this problem needed to easy for to use and could be deployed directly from the desktop in order to a wider appeal to users of varying computing ability. During the event Andrew Amato (London School of Economics and Political Science) developed a series of tools, based around Microsoft Excel and VBA macros, which assisted in the audit of collections (Amato 2012). Having developed a proof of concept it was found that the uniqueness of repository infrastructures made the application of the tools problematic outside the specific organisations for which it was initially developed, as a result it was considered that a more generic version of the tool would have a broader appeal and potential use value within the wider digital preservation community. With this in mind a successful application was made to the SPRUCE award scheme allowing Andrew Amato and Ray Moore time to develop what was christened ReACT (Resource Audit and Comparison Tool) further, with a period of testing of the resultant tool on archives from ADS’ collections.
The Portable Document Format (PDF) remains the most popular and de facto format for the sharing of printable documents across the web. As such the PDF has become deeply embedded within personal, institutional and governmental workflows since its inception in 1993; indeed its pervasiveness is highlighted by the 100,000 or so PDFs within the ADS’ collections, making it by far our most common file type. As a result we thought it might be useful to provide some insight into the PDF, and its archival equivalent PDF/A, so that you can benefit from our (very!) long discussions and sleepless nights. Continue reading PDF, or PDF/A: that is the question→