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The Digital Future: A look back from our Fall 2014 intern

December 29, 2014

During the Fall 2014 semester UTSA Libraries Special Collections was delighted to host Angelique Kelley as an intern working with our removable media and born-digital materials.  She has contributed the following post about her experience working with us:

As part of a Certificate in Digital Curation program offered at the Johns Hopkins University, I was required to complete a 13-week internship during the Fall 2104 semester. The goal of this internship was to gain valuable first-hand experience in digitally preserving collections within cultural institutions. I was fortunate enough to be able to complete my internship with the UTSA Special Collections department, during a time when the UTSA Libraries were exploring various options for the long-term preservation of their Manuscripts collections. The digital preservation process is still ongoing, but the support I was able to offer during my internship should help provide the foundation from which the department can build upon and move forward.

Chart of all media types found in Manuscript Collections during Fall 2014 inventory.

Chart of all media types (A/V and computer) found in Manuscript Collections during the Fall 2014 inventory.

The project I worked on consisted of several stages. During the first stage I performed a physical inventory of the removable media objects within the Manuscripts collections. This task consisted of searching the libraries’ online repository using finding aids to locate possible media and then using the department’s Access database to locate the physical location of each collection in the stacks. From there I updated a spreadsheet that had been previously created during a prior attempt to inventory removable media, annotating the number and types of removable media discovered. In the end, over 1,600 removable media objects were identified within the collections, consisting of twenty different media types. The information gathered during the inventory process was later used to write a report for the second stage of my project.

In early 2014, Special Collections participated in the Society of American Archivists’ Jump In Too/Two initiative, a project designed to encourage archives to take the first steps in digitally preserving their collections. During UTSA’s participation in this project they examined the University Archives collections, and upon completion of the project they were required to submit a report outlining the processes used, the equipment utilized, and their results. This report served as the basis for my own report which discussed the findings from the inventory I performed within the Manuscripts collections.

The final stage of my project involved the creation of workflow proposals for digitally preserving the inventoried removable media. Prior to my internship, UTSA had acquired access to BitCurator, an open-source digital forensics software program, as well as authorization to participate in the Archivematica + DuraCloud beta testing, a hosted system designed to aid in the ingest and long-term digital preservation of archival and museum collections. With these two programs as the focus, I created three possible workflows that examined how the various tools within these software packages might be utilized to effectively ingest, process, and store digital assets from within the libraries’ collections. These workflows will later be tested using a representative sampling from the collections with the goal of determining the overall practicality of the proposed workflows.

I went into this internship not quite knowing what to expect, as my primary focus has always been on museums, not archives, but I found my time with Special Collections to be invaluable. The first-hand knowledge I gained working with the various software packages, in addition to the inventory process, offered valuable insight into typical archival practices. Furthermore, this internship allowed me to explore the difficulties all cultural institutions face in trying to move forward with digital preservation. I have taken away so much from my time with Special Collections and I look forward to using my new found knowledge as I move forward with my personal career goals.

Angelique Kelley

Angelique Kelley, Fall 2014 intern at UTSA Libraries Special Collections

One Comment leave one →
  1. Maureen Barringer permalink
    January 6, 2015 6:16 pm


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