Monday, January 03, 2011

Introduction to Digital Recordkeeping and Archiving

Back in November I mentioned the Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative (ADRI) website. It seemed a good time to revisit this to see if there were materials suitable for use in my course Electronic Document and Records Management (COMP7420) which starts at ANU on 14 February 2011. People are enrolling and I need to finalise the materials.

What looked most useful on the ADRI site were materials for a two day face-to-face course for staff on "Introduction to Digital Recordkeeping and Archiving", provided as three Microsoft Word documents:
  1. Workshop plan: Rationale, Objections and Timetable for the course in 7 Pages.
  2. Participant Manual and course material: Student notes with definitions of key terms, references, examples and activities in 11 pages. There are only two diagrams in the notes, one of OAIS Producer, Management, Consumer roles. the other of the OAIS model of functions and functional entities in an archive (from the OAIS Blue Book ).
  3. Facilitator's manual and course material: An expanded version of the student notes with details of activities for the students in 61 pages.
  1. Introduction to Records and Information
  2. Recordkeeping in Government
  3. Digital Recordkeeping
  4. Digital Archiving
  5. Review and Preview
  6. Introduction and Review
  7. Standards for Digital Archiving
  8. Ingest
  9. Archival Storage
  10. Data Management
  11. Preservation Planning
  12. Access
  13. Administration
  14. Conclusion
There were few details as to the origin of the course apart from saying the documents were prepared by State Records of South Australia in February 2010. There is no indication that the course had been run, or was to be further developed.

The materials are well formatted as Microsoft Word documents. Considerable work would still be needed to convert the material to the web based format used for e-learning.

There appear to be no video or interactive learning materials provided, nor any quizzes, tests or assessment of any kind. The lack of assessment makes the materials of much less value for formal education, particularly for e-learning. Preparation of assessment materials is resource intensive and progressive assessment tasks are essential to keeping online students active and engaged.

Unfortunately the course materials are covered by a restrictive copyright notice. The notes are marked as copyright Government of South Australia and indicate that may be used by South Australian Government Agencies and Local Government Authorities and by CAARA member institutions. For profit use is not permitted. The Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities (CAARA) is made up of Australian and New Zealand federal and state archives agencies. This would indicate that the course material cannot be used by other parts of government and most likely would not permit use by a unviersity. In theory it would be possible to seek permission to use the material, but the copyright restoration would make development and distribution difficult. My intention is to provide open access materials under a Creative Commons licence, which would not be possible under the South Australian Government licence.

A 6 unit course, such as Systems and Software Safety COMP8180, which would normally take a full semester, can be undertaken in five days intensive mode. So the ADRI two day course would correspond to 2/5, or 40% of a 6 unit course. The two day course I am designing is a half length six week thee unit one and so the ADRI course would correspond to 80% of this. That would not leave much room for material on e-document formats and social networking.

The ADRI course is designed for archivists,whereas my intention is to develop a course for a wider audience who actively create and use records. I could drop some of the more detailed materials on Consignment Lists and the like, to make room for more on document formats and their use. However, the course would require such extensive work to incorporate new material, reformat what is there and add assessment, that this material is not suitable to form the basis of COMP7420.

ADRI: Workshop Plan

Course/Subject: Digital Archiving ...


This workshop aims to extend the collaborative nature inherent to the Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative, to a learning environment. Collaboration is the underlying theme of the workshop, modelled in activities and workshop structure from beginning to end. The workshop also captures ADRI’s collaborative approach by building on established processes, practices and initiatives within the various CAARA jurisdictions.

In developing this workshop, it was assumed that the audience are professionals – records strategists and archivists – who require an understanding of digital recordkeeping and archiving as a compliment to prior knowledge, skills and experience in a predominantly paper based environment.

The workshop aims to promote effective digital recordkeeping as conducive to effective digital archiving. In order to emphasize this continuity and facilitate learning, connections are made throughout the workshop to the corresponding functional entities in both these fields.

In November 2006, The CAARA Colloquium project identified the following important requirements for digital archiving in Australia:

  • Prioritise elements needed to meet each of the functional entities of the OAIS Model

  • Analyse existing paper archive controls and metadata used, and map these to the digital environment

These requirements have been incorporated into collaborative workshop activities. However, the option exists for the collaboration to continue beyond the workshop with workplace activities designed to assist CAARA member agencies. This would comply with an ADRI desire to work with a limited resource base.


Day 1

  1. Define the terms “digital records”, “digital recordkeeping” and “digital archiving”

  2. Identify the principles of recordkeeping within a government environment and discuss the issues relevant to both paper and electronic recordkeeping.

  3. Develop solutions to the problems associated with managing digital records in a contemporary recordkeeping environment

Day 2

  1. Discuss current processes of archival management

  2. Identify models for digital archive development and the elements that contribute to its functional entities

  3. Identify and prioritise elements of a digital archiving model for functional application

  4. Use a functional model to develop solutions to archiving digital records in a contemporary archival environment

From: ADRI: Workshop Plan, Simon Froude, part of "Introduction to Digital Recordkeeping and Archiving", State Records of South Australia,for ADRI, February 2010

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