At the end of March, I attended the Personal Digital Archiving Conference on the Stanford campus (March 29-31). Unfortunately, due to schedule conflicts, I was unable to attend the first two days of sessions. By Friday, I was ready to immerse myself in personal digital archiving, starting with the Archiving Born Digital Audio and Video Collections workshop. Instructors Annalise Berdini (Digital Archivist at UC San Diego Library) and Stefan Elnabli (Media Curation Librarian at UC San Diego Library) introduced participants to the characteristics of born digital media; how methods of generating audio-visual materials affect the way that they are archived; things to consider when creating a collection policy for audio-visual materials (e.g. should repositories only accept born digital media in certain formats?); and preservation strategies. We also examined tools, such as VLC, MediaInfo, iTunes, Handbrake, MPEG Streamclip, and many others. One of my favorite parts of the workshop was the breakout activity, in which we formed groups to work on different exercises. The exercise topics included imaging, transcoding, metadata, web archives, and collection policy. The group I joined worked on web archives. I learned that the Internet Archive does not let you create a collection yourself. Instead, you need to put together a minimum of 50 URLs and send a request for the collection to be created. In this exercise, we searched specific URLs of videos to see if they were represented. Our group found that websites like epa.gov and cnn.com were archived many times per day over the years, but less-known links were less likely to be archived on the Internet Archive.
The second workshop I attended was Archiving Preservation Tools and Techniques for Podcasters with presenters Mary Kidd (New York Public Library's Special Collections Division, XFR Collective), Dana Gerber-Margie (A/V and Digital Archivist for Recollection Wisconsin's Listening to War: Uncovering Wisconsin's Wartime Oral Histories grant project), Anne Wootton (co-founder of Pop Up Archive), and Danielle Cordovez (New York Public Library's Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound). The class was a mix of archivists, podcasters, oral historians, and various other interests. Mary Kidd created a fantastic zine called How to Start Archiving Your Podcast Files. You can find a digital version at kiddarchivist.wordpress.com/podcast-archive-zine or you can follow Mary on Twitter at @kiddarchivist. This zine was a great way to follow along with the presentation and to keep your knowledge fresh after the session. In addition, we talked about the ways that podcasts are unique, how to work with the metadata, how to use the command line, and how to preserve your podcasts (make sure you save them in multiple places that are geographically diverse! Remember LOCKSS - Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe.)
I learned so much at the Personal Digital Archiving Conference! Great workshops, great connections. If I didn't see you this year, I hope to see you there next year!