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Merging archival description and digital archives : direct mediation of archival collections in online… Gormly, Brianna Mar 11, 2016

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-	Merging	Archival	Descrip1on	and	Digital	Archives:		Direct	Media-on	of	Archival	Collec-ons	in	Online	Finding	Aids		Brianna	Gormly	School	of	Library,	Archival	and	Informa-on	Studies	A	body	of	archival	scholarship	deals	with	the	implica-ons	of	represen-ng	records	through	archival	descrip-on	and,	as	finding	aids	have	moved	online,	scholars	have	considered	new	issues	in	this	context.	Hedstrom	(2002)	describes	archives	as	an	“interface”	between	users	and	the	records,	a	concept	that	connotes	both	providing	access	to	records	and	also	shaping	that	access,	and	online	digital	collec-ons	have	a	par-cularly	mediated	quality	(p.	26).				Zhang	and	Mauney	(2013)	helpfully	delineate	three	models	they	observed	in	a	study	of	online	finding	aids:	embedded,	segregated,	and	parallel.	While	segrega-ng	digital	collec-ons	from	finding	aids	increases	discoverability,	it	removes	items	from	the	contextual	informa-on	present	when	they	are	embedded	in	finding	aids.	Background	Brothman,	B.	(1991).	Orders	of	value:	Probing	the	theore-cal	terms	of	archival	prac-ce.	Archivaria,	32,	78-100.	Retrieved	from:	h[p://			Hedstrom,	M.	(2002).	Archives,	memory,	and	interfaces	with	the	past.	Archival	Science,	2(1),	21-43.	doi:10.1007/BF02435629				Monks-Leeson,	E.	(2011).	Archives	on	the	internet:	Represen-ng	contexts	and	provenance	from	repository	to	website.	The	American	Archivist,	74(1),	38-57.	Retrieved	from:	h[p://		Yakel,	E.	(2003).	Archival	representa-on.	Archival	Science,	3(1),	1-25.	doi:10.1023/A:1024944522818			Zhang,	J.,	&	Mauney,	D.	(2013).	When	archival	descrip-on	meets	digital	object	metadata:	A	typological	study	of	digital	archival	representa-on.	The	American	Archivist,	76(1),	174-195.	doi:	h[p://		References	Though	archivists	express	concerns	about	the	diverse	possibili-es	for	archivists	and	others	to	present	records	online,	the	extent	to	which	this	is	a	divergence	from	the	world	of	paper	records	might	be	ques-oned	(Monks-Leeson,	2011).	“Archival	representa-on”	has	always	been	shaped	by	archivists’	decisions	about	what	informa-on	to	select	and	how	to	present	it	to	the	user	(Yakel,	2003,	p.	25).		The	Archivema-ca/ArchivesSpace	integra-on	provides	a	useful	case	for	considering	how	archives	are	mediated	through	archival	processing	and	presented	online	in	digital	collec-ons.	Further	work	might	explore	how	processing	digital	archives	could	address	exis-ng	concerns	about	the	representa-on	of	records	as	well	as	explore	op-ons	for	representa-on	not	previously	possible.	Conclusion	Though,	from	the	func-onality	of	the	Appraisal	tab,	it	may	appear	that	files	are	embedded	in	finding	aids,	the	integra-on	would	be	be[er	characterized	as	Zhang	and	Mauney’s	(2013)	segregated	model.	Digital	objects	are	stored	outside	of	ArchivesSpace	and	metadata	about	them	form	separate	records	which	are	linked	to	the	finding	aid.	The	archivist’s	media-on	of	the	record	is	not	as	direct	as	in	the	embedded	model	but	s-ll	maintained	through	hyperlinks.		Further,	“archival	representa-on”	includes	both	the	process	and	end	product	of	arrangement	and	descrip-on	(Yakel,	2003,	p.2).	Brothman	(1991)	explains	how	records	“become	archival”	entering	the	repository	as	they	are	given	classifica-on	numbers	and	described	by	the	archivist	(p.	85).	Records	very	clearly	“become	archival”	in	the	Archivema-ca/ArchivesSpace	workflow	as	they	are	pulled	from	transfers,	arranged	within	finding	aids,	and	sent	on	to	become	SIPs	in	that	arrangement.		Discussion	I	would	like	to	thank	Artefactual	Systems	for	giving	me	the	opportunity	to	complete	a	Professional	Experience	project	working	on	tes-ng	and	documenta-on	for	the	Appraisal	tab.	Screenshots	included	in	this	poster	show	sample	finding	aids	and	transfers	in	the	test	version	of	the	Archivema-ca/ArchivesSpace	integra-on.		Acknowledgements	How	is	an	understanding	of	records	affected	when	users	encounter	copies	directly	mediated	by	the	online	finding	aid?		Is	the	archivist’s	media-on	more	apparent	in	arrangement	and	descrip-on	of	records	in	the	digital	environment?	-	I	consider	the	representa-on	of	archives	in	digital	collec-ons	through	the	case	of	the	Archivema-ca/ArchivesSpace	integra-on	currently	being	developed	by	Artefactual	Systems.	Archivema-ca	1.6	will	include	a	new	feature,	the	Appraisal	tab,	in	which	files	transferred	to	Archivema-ca	can	be	analyzed,	appraised,	and	arranged.	An	ArchivesSpace	pane	allows	files	from	Archivema-ca	transfers	to	be	dragged	to	their	corresponding	descrip-on	in	ArchivesSpace	finding	aids.	Finalizing	the	arrangement	creates	a	Submission	Informa-on	Package	(SIP)	for	ingest	in	Archivema-ca.	Archivema1ca/ArchivesSpace	Integra1on	Archival	object	with	an	associated	digital	object	in	ArchivesSpace	Backlog	and	ArchivesSpace	panes	in	Archivema-ca’s	Appraisal	tab	


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