- The practices of preserving, aggregating, and curating data are all similar terms used to describe the managing of digital materials. As noted in the reading, the concept of curating information is the process of putting together research around a theme or specific topic. This information is then displayed for an audience to view and inform themselves on the theme. Digital curation poses another struggle, digital curation requires for the raw data to be captured and created so that the information becomes available to the audience that is searching for it. by adding in the complex layer, the digital curation of information becomes a bit elaborate. Digital curation requires further management of data during its lifecycle. In “An Introduction to Humanities Data Curation,” the authors highlight three main points of data curation which are: active and ongoing management, entire lifecycle, and interest and usefulness to scholarship. Aggregating data is the process of forming or grouping information into a class or cluster. This combines both the curation and preservation processes due to the extensiveness of information required for data aggregation. The authors state that, “Aggregations, or collections of collections, are essential backbone resources in the evolving e-research platform that also need to be curated if they are to truly support and enhance discovery and innovation across the disciplines.” These three components to managing information are all synced to help propel one another. This is especially interesting from the perspective of digital history because it allows for information to be grouped together in order to help individuals with research.
- Current tensions present in digital archiving are definitely surrounding the problem of access. Information is constantly being hidden behind pay walls and membership subscriptions. With sky-high fees that come with certain libraries and journals, individuals are unable to continue their research development. It poses the question of whether or not the concept of pay walls is ethical? Do these companies have the right to hide the information behind a thousand-dollar fee? While I understand that a fee may be necessary to keep the site active and up to date, charging an outstanding amount of money for access is ridiculous. The reading states that, “collecting digital creative or original works prompts concerns about a wide range of possible legal issues- copyright, contract, privacy to name a few.” These issues are relevant to the developing field; however, they should not be the only reason for the complex idea of making information available to the public. It is important to find solutions to the general issues with digital history so that we can further develop current projects that allow for a wider audience.
- Preserving family history is something I have never thought of. After looking at “One Family’s Personal Digital Archives Project,” by Mike Ashenfelder, the site really spoke to me. I think that what Vernon and Stan James have done with their information is really cool. If I were to create a project like this, I think I would try to keep the main page as simple as possible and have it display a family tree. The tree would include links to each person listed and the link would take you to the page that shows you a more descriptive look into their life. I would probably have descriptions be personal while still keeping information like addresses, phone numbers, etc. private. I would also include an essay that describes how to use the site and the reason why I created it. I would love to make it a collection that is available to all members listed on the family tree and grant them access for editing and contributing information. The collection would be an open source that is made up of whatever the individual wants to contribute. This project seems like it would be a super fun way to create deeper connections with family and bond over our history.
- Archivists are faced with challenging tasks when taking on the role of preserving information. I think that if materials with valuable information exists, they should be included in the curation of data. While it may be impossible to save everything, archivists have the ability to send sources elsewhere or to another organization that could include them in their collections. Destroying information and material can be extremely risky due to the ongoing change of historiographies. Overall, I don’t think information should really be destroyed because it could potentially be useful for future research. Creating a government digital archive could solve the issue because it would display public information that may or may not be needed by the public. This comes with difficulty though because of the limited time and resources that archivists have. While it seems, there is no solution to the issues that come with digital history, I believe that we will find a solution to the issue as the field continues to develop and grow.
Michael G. Vieyra 🙂