As many of you know, I have been very concerned about the lack of email archiving in museums. I chaired a session a few years ago at MCN and found that I am not alone in my concern. Since then, things have not improved. In fact, one might say they have worsened as the volume of email continues to increase, as does its use for types of museum correspondence that are crucial for us to preserve.
The problem, simply stated, is that lack of robust archiving and retrieval for email correspondence in today’s art museums may limit the primary source materials available to future generations of students, scholars, and the public. This is an issue for directors, curators, educators, researchers, archivists, collection managers, and technology staff. While there are commercial products for email archiving, they are built to serve corporate data-retention policies, not future research and scholarship. Focused on maintaining emails for five, seven, or ten years, these products rarely are expected to retain emails indefinitely. They may have inherent limitations for our community due to their different intended contexts of use.
It is time for us to focus on this problem as a community: time that we look at what is being done to archive email in corporate settings, universities, and state and federal governments, and time we do something about a problem that has been developing in our museum community for more than 20 years.
So, I have asked Susan Chun ( http://mwconf.com/susan-chun ) and Dale Kronkright ( http://mwconf.com/GOKConservator ) to chair and organize a Museums and the Web full-day Deep Dive into this issue. We will explore previous and ongoing work in the GLAM community , examining the problem from both technology infrastructure and procedure and policy angles. We will review commercial and open source technology solutions. We will gather commercial vendors and see how their solutions match our needs. We will hear about the work being done in other spaces such as government and education. We will publish the results, and form a working group to move this issue forward, supported by the proceedings of this workshop.
I have posted an overview of the issues, as well as a link to the registration page, here ( http://mwconf.com/1ee4qIF ) . (note that this event is part of Museums and the Web 2014, but it is a separate registration; participants need not attend the whole MW 2014 conference).
Deep-Dive registration includes coffee breaks, lunch, and a special reception. You can register here ( http://mw2014.museumsandtheweb.com/registration/ ) .
We are now developing the detailed agenda and background reading list. I would love to hear your suggestions and comments to ensure we don’t miss anything important. We are also looking for participants for lightning talks on desired use cases or horror stories or top wishes for functionalities related to email archiving. To further the discussion we have created a Google Group ( http://mwconf.com/19k0Rhz ) for email archiving in museums.
Please forward this announcement to prospective attendees and post to lists as appropriate.
Looking forward to seeing you at this MW Deep Dive on April 1st, 2014.
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