by Cathy Williams
This is the fourth time that The National Archives has hosted the UKAD Forum on behalf of the UK Archives Discovery Network. It is a day for bringing together anyone interested in opening up archives for research and reuse, whatever their level of practical or theoretical knowledge, wherever they work across the archive sector; and the theme this year was standards for discovery.
The offer to delegates was to:
- increase their knowledge and understanding of standards, and how to use them to best effect
- share their own experiences, projects and activities
- make new contacts and build partnerships
- widen their European horizons
This was reflected in the programme and over eighty colleagues from the archive sector enjoyed presentations from Europeana and the Archives Portal Europe (APEx); from the Archives Hub and AIM25 archive networks; from archival collection management system suppliers; and from experts in digital copyright. Nick Poole – Chief Executive of the Collections Trust – delivered the key note and an invitation to museums, libraries and archives to seize digital opportunities for networking collections and sharing our ‘common cultural inheritance’.
The sessions were intended to put standards centre stage, to focus on the benefits of adopting standards to build archive networks and enable the creative use of archive collections. They offered practical advice and examples of how to use standards to manage data, to expose data online, to support access and enable us to reach broader audiences, across different domains.
Delegates were offered the chance to test The National Archives’ beta version of Discovery and the day ended with the world’s first mass metadata mapping movement: an interactive activity designed to highlight the challenge but importance of mapping different standards to support data and information sharing.
But delegates were also encouraged to think about whether the standards we use are actually fit-for-purpose in the digital age. They were asked to consider the future for standards and to participate in the continuing work of the Descriptive Standards Roundtable led by the Section for Archives and Technology (SAT), one of the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) special interest groups.
As with previous years, the UKAD website has links to the presentations and posters from the day and the podcasts will soon be available on The National Archives’ website