Association of Canadian Archivists—University of British Columbia

International Seminar and Symposium:
Unpacking the Digital Shoebox: The FUTURE of Personal Archives

15-17 February 2012, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada


For the 4th ACA@UBC Annual International Symposium, we assembled an eclectic and innovative group of speakers whose talks helped us navigate the future of personal archives and "Unpack the Digital Shoebox." We invited them to create presentations that challenge as well as inform--presentations that prompt and inspire, allowing our profession to develop the tools and methodologies needed to go forward.

Seminar Presentations

Wednesday, February 15 - Open to UBC Students and Faculty only, 10:00-5:00, Dodson Room, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre

  1. Digital Convergence and Personal Records: Experiments in Cultural Heritage Informatics
    Jeanette Bastian, Simmons College
  2. Archives and Archival Studies in a Social Media World
  3. Patricia Franks, School of Library and Information Studies, San Jose University
  4. Strategies for Sifting the Digital for Evidence of Personal Arrangements
    Catherine Hobbs, Library and Archives Canada
  5. Teaching Electronic Records Management: Are We Preparing Our Students to Meet the Needs of Institutions and Businesses?
    Philip Bantin, Indiana University, Bloomington
Thursday, February 16 - Open to UBC Students and Faculty only, 10:00-5:00, Dodson Room, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre
  1. Archiving Faculty Research Data
    Babak Hamidzadeh, University of Maryland Libraries
  2. Technologies in the Archival Classroom: Enhancing Educational Outcomes or Teaching to the Tool?
    Elizabeth Yakel, University of Michigan, School of Information
  3. From the Pacific Northwest to the Global Information Society: The Changing Nature of Archival Education
    Randall Jimerson, Western Washington University
  4. Personal Record Repositories, within the Police, a Hidden Knowledge Reservoir: A Talk about How Police Officers Keep Personal Records for Future Use
    Erik Borglund, Archival and Information Management School, Mid Sweden University
  5. Personal Informatics–from I to i (and back again): Reflections on the Future of Digital Archives
    Jeremy Leighton John, British Library

Symposium Presentations

Friday, February 17 - Open to general public and UBC students, 8:15-4:00, Frederic Wood Theatre
  1. Welcome Addresses
  2. Caroline Haythornthwaite, Director, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS), The University of British Columbia (UBC)
    Luciana Duranti, Chair and Professor, Archival Studies, SLAIS, UBC
    Alyssa Gallant, ACA@UBC Coordinator
  3. Other People's Data: Disciplinary Traditions and Data Reuse
    Elizabeth Yakel, Professor, School of Information, University of Michigan
    Abstract: Dissemination Information Packages (DIPS) for Information Reuse (DIPIR) is an IMLS-funded project led by Dr. Ixchel Faniel and Dr. Elizabeth Yakel. Together with partners at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and Open Context, they are studying data reuse in three academic disciplines to identify how ontextual information about the data that supports reuse can best be created and preserved. The project focuses on research data produced and used by quantitative social scientists, archaeologists, and zoologists. The intended audiences of this project are researchers who use secondary data and the digital curators, digital repository managers, data center staff, and others who collect, manage, and store digital information. Knowledge gained from the study will help guide current and future international practices for curating and preserving digital research data.
  4. An Iterative & Evolutionary Framework for Digital Repository Development
    Babak Hamidzadeh, Associate Dean of Information Technology, University of Maryland Libraries
  5. An Evolving Partnership: Managing the Digital Output of Academic Faculty
    Philip Bantin, University Archivist, Indiana University, Bloomington
  6. Centering Ideas of Personal Digital Context on Behaviour and Mindset
    Catherine Hobbs, Literary Archivist, Library and Archives Canada
  7. Virtual Time Capsule: Sharing Our Lives and Times with Future Generations
    Patricia Franks, Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, San Jose University
  8. Putting the Archivist in Community Archives (or not)
    Jeannette Bastian, Associate Dean, Director and professor of Archives Management, Simmons College
  9. "To Transcend Myself:" Narcissism and the Digital Attic
    Randall Jimerson, Professor of History and Director, Graduate Program in Archives and Records Management, Western Washington University
  10. Personal Record Repositories, within the Police, a Hidden Knowledge Reservoir: A Talk about How Police Officers Keep Personal Records for Future Use
    Erik Borglund, Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Archival and Information Management School, Mid Sweden University
  11. Digital Lives, Digital Forensics and the eMSS Lab
    Jeremy Leighton John, Curator of eMANUSCRIPTS, the British Library
    Abstract: Digital life has transformed the nature of personal archiving. In the 21st century, personal information is an unsurpassable resource for research. Critically, its effective use by digital scholars depends on the sustainability of evidential quality and privacy protection. The collaborative Digital Lives Research Project led by the British Library examined the life cycle of personal information, seeking the views of creators, archivists, and researchers. The emerging strategic proposal resulted in the initiation of the Personal Digital Manuscripts Project at the British Library, and establishment of the eMSS Lab. A central theme is the adoption of forensic approaches and technologies. Despite differences in outlook the forensic and archival communities have long shared key perspectives. Among them are the value of context, the necessity of provenance, and the benefit of standards, which in forensics manifest themselves as multiple sources of evidence, chains of custody, and certifiable, legally justifiable procedures. In the digital era, context extends across three layers: microscopic, mesoscopic and macroscopic — from magnetic flux transitions and hexadecimal code, through graphical user interface with toolbar and menu, to the physical and virtual landscapes occupied by the creator. Having long striven to ensure the authenticity of bitstreams, forensic scientists have more recently advanced tools for accountably recreating the originator’s computer environment using configured virtual machines and emulators, and have made progress in evidentially validating virtual reality environments. Automation, stylometric text mining, fuzzy hashing, phylogenetics, parallel computing, handheld data extraction, cyberintelligence visualisation — there is more to come from the forensic paradigm for digital curation.
  12. Closing Remarks

Symposium Speaker Biographies

Philip C. Bantin
Philip C. Bantin has spent his entire career in universities, first at Marquette in the 1980s, where he was assistant and then associate archivist and conducted a National Endowment for the Humanities grant project to survey Catholic Indian Mission and School Records in the Midwest. At the University of California, Los Angeles, he served as university archivist, and at Boston College, he was head of archives and manuscripts. Since 1993, he has since served Indiana University at Bloomington as university archivist and as director of three National Historical Publications and Records Commission-funded projects on electronic records management. Since 1994, he has made over fifty presentations on electronic records management issues in the United States, Europe and Africa. His book, Understanding Data and Information Systems for Recordkeeping, published in 2008, received the Society of American Archivists' Waldo Gifford Leland Award for writing of superior excellence. He was elected as Fellow of the Society of American Archivists in 2003.

Jeannette Bastian
Jeannette Bastian is the Associate Dean, the Director and a professor of Archives Management at Simmons College. Dr. Bastian received a master's degree in library science from Shippensburg University, and a master's degree in philosophy from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica; she received her doctoral degree from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Information Science. Prior to taking her position at Simmons College, Bastian was the Director of Libraries and Archives and Territorial Librarian of the United States Virgin Islands and served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. Her publications include articles and books focusing on archival education, memory, community archives and post colonialism.

Erik Borglund
Erik Borglund (Ph.D. in Computer & System Science) is a senior lecturer and researcher at the Archival and Information Management School of Mid Sweden University. His main research interests are digital recordkeeping, document management, information systems in crisis management, information systems design and Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). Dr. Borglund was a sworn police officer for 20 years before he became 100% academic.

Patricia Franks
Patricia Franks is a certified records manager and an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at San Jose University. Dr. Franks serves as coordinator for the Master of Archives and Records Administration degree and as advisor to students pursuing the Digital Archives and Records Management career pathway in the school's Post Master's Certificate Program. Dr. Franks' primary research interests relate to the impact emerging technologies exert on the archives and records management professions. Dr. Franks has worked with students to develop a Virtual Center for Archives and Records Administration (VCARA) on the School's Island in Second Life and obtained grant funding to develop a virtual internship program for SLIS students. Dr. Franks received her Ph.D. in Organization and Management from Capella University.

Babak Hamidzadeh
Babak Hamidzadeh is the Associate Dean of Information Technology at the University of Maryland Libraries. Before joining the University of Maryland, he was the Director of the Repository Development Center at the Library of Congress. Dr. Hamidzadeh received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science and engineering from the University of Minnesota. After three years of assistant professorship at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, he came to Vancouver to serve as an associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia. At UBC, Dr. Hamidzadeh was involved in the first InterPARES Project, which began in 1998. He left UBC a few years later to manage Information Management & Research for Boeing Corporation. At the Library of Congress, he led the development of digital repository systems, notably the National Digital Newspaper Program, the World Digital Library Program with UNESCO. At the University of Maryland, he is developing campus- and state-wide programs for eScience dataset management, digital preservation and large-scale digitization.

Catherine Hobbs
Catherine Hobbs is the Literary Archivist (English-language) at Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Prior to the merger of the LAC, she was the Literary Manuscript Archivist (English) at the National Library of Canada. She has a particular interest in issues surrounding artistic producers of archives as well as individuals' understanding of their own documentation. She has taught seminars and published articles on both literary archives and personal archives. Catherine is Chair of the Special Interest Section on Personal Archives for the Association of Canadian Archivists and a member of the steering committee for the Section for Literary and Art Archives (SLA) in the International Council of Archives.

Randall C. Jimerson
Randall C. Jimerson is professor of History and director of the graduate program in Archives and Records Management at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, USA. He has been a professional archivist at the University of Michigan, Yale University, and the University of Connecticut and an archival educator since 1980, at the University of Connecticut and Western Washington University. He is a Fellow and past president (2004-2005) of the Society of American Archivists (SAA). He is a former president of New England Archivists, which presented him the Distinguished Service Award in 1994, and former president of his local chapter of the records management organization ARMA. In addition to numerous articles on archival issues, he is author of Archives Power: Memory, Accountability, and Social Justice (SAA, 2009), editor of American Archival Studies: Readings in Theory and Practice (SAA, 2000), and author of The Private Civil War: Popular Thought During the Sectional Conflict (LSU Press, 1988).

Jeremy Leighton John
Jeremy Leighton John has been Curator of eMANUSCRIPTS at the British Library since 2003, having been Specialist Curator for the W. D. Hamilton Archive from 2000. Previously, he worked as a cataloguer of bioacoustic collections. In 1996, he completed a DPhil in Zoology at Merton College, University of Oxford, concentrating on evolutionary and phylogenetic aspects. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. As Principal Investigator of the Digital Lives Research Project funded by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council, he promoted the use of digital forensics with an article in Nature: "The future of saving our past." John currently is Project Lead for the Personal Digital Manuscripts Project at the British Library, and a member of the Committee of the Data Standards Group of the Archives and Records Association of UK & Ireland. He is preparing a technology watch paper on digital forensics and digital preservation for the Digital Preservation Coalition. Memberships have included the Library Committee of the Royal Society and the Advisory Committee of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists.

Elizabeth Yakel
Elizabeth Yakel is a Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information where she teaches in the Archives and Records Management and Preservation specializations. Her research interests are access and accessibility to primary sources, particularly in the digital realm. Her current research project is "Dissemination Information Packages for Information Resuse" (DIPIR) funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Her recent publications include: "Who Represents the Past? Enabling Reuse and Recreation of Digital Objects in Cyberspace," in Controlling the Past: Documenting Society and Institutions (Essays in Honor of Helen Willa Samuels), "Balancing Archival Authority with Encouraging Authentic Voices to Engage with Records," in A Different Kind of Web, edited by Theimer and "Digital Curation for Digital Natives," Journal for Education in Library and Information Science (JELIS). Elizabeth is active in the Society of American Archivists (SAA) where she has served on the governing Council and was elected Fellow in 1999.