When Collections become GLAM

I’m just back from a short trip to Sydney last week where Barbara Reed (Recordkeeping Innovation), James Bullen (Hudson Molonglo) and myself gave a talk at a meeting of the NSW branch of the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA).  My component of the talk is embedded below (via Slideshare) in case you were wondering what a (sort of) ecologist was doing talking to a room full of Archivists.

My ASA talk – also available from Slideshare

Most of my talk was about our work with the State Records Office of Western Australia (which I’ve probably blogged enough about already).  But it also makes reference to a few other things, including the work we’ve been doing with Barbara, James and the team at Artefactual in Canada, including:

  • Making all our customisations with the State Records Office WA available,
  • More investigations around the Australian Series System, and
  • Developing our services around this area for the Archive – and wider – community.

When we talk about the community here we are talking what has become known as the GLAM sector, covering Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (Herbaria get a bit of a bum deal here).   There’s a slight longer acronym of GLAMURR (which includes Universities, Research and Records) but that feels a bit like the acronym drives the terms!  Anyway, this sector has become really quite intriguing to me personally, since my days of doing fieldwork with staff from the Western Australian Museum, and being educated on what “collections” were.

As a result, there are two “stay tuned” components to this blog article.

The first, relating to the Australian Series System, is something that we will be working on via a collaborative approach between Gaia Resources, Recordkeeping Innovation, Hudson Molonglo and Artefactual.  While we’ve implemented the Series System at the State Records office of WA, we will be starting a new initiative at the ASA national conference that is coming up in a few weeks in Parramatta.  Barbara will be leading a ‘lightning talk’ on the Wednesday where we will be discussing how we are looking to operationalise the Australian Series System across the open source platforms we support, including AtoM and ArchivesSpace.  We really want to get involvement from the end users as well, so we’re doing this in an open and collaborative fashion.*

The second “stay tuned” component is to look at the offerings we are making to the GLAM community.  In terms of collection management, we already work with the AtoM and CollectiveAccess open source platforms, and this is supplemented with Hudson Molonglo’s support of ArchivesSpace as well.  So as a collective, we can provide support for several of the GLAM sectors straight away.  We can also provide support for digital preservation though our work (and ongoing relationship with Artefactual) via Archivematica.  In particular, digital preservation has a lot to offer the broader GLAM sector (and that is a blog in itself for the future).

As a collective, we are developing a few different solutions here for the GLAM community, including:

  • Creating roadmaps to collection management or digital preservation – how do you get there from where you are at now,
  • Implementing collection management systems – like AtoM, ArchivesSpace or CollectiveAccess, and then customising them to suit your needs,
  • Implementing digital preservation systems – using Archivematica as our main platform of choice, in conjunction with other services like cloud based storage,
  • Migrating data from your existing systems to the new ones,
  • Hosting your systems for you, including providing these services through cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, and
  • Supporting you and your organisation before, during and after this type of transition.

We already have a few new projects starting up in the coming months around these services, and we are looking at how best to resource and implement this.  It’s going to be another interesting time here at Gaia Resources – so hence the “stay tuned”!  And of course, you can do that through this blog, or through FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.


* As a footnote, the new Records In Context (RIC) standard will likely also have a role to play here – and that’s something we’re also investigating.

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