RIMPA Live wrap-up 2019

Last week I attended RIMPA Live in Melbourne, the annual conference that used to be called RIMPA inForum. This year is RIMPA’s 50th birthday, and my third inForum/Live. It has been over a year since I published something to my blog, as I have been busy growing a tiny human and then looking after them. I wanted to keep my brain active on work stuff while on maternity leave, and I have been using my RIMPA membership to do that. I stayed on the Victorian Branch Council and participated in the Victorian State Seminar, which was held earlier this year. I felt very welcome and encouraged by the branch leadership to attend the State Seminar with bub, which gave me confidence to attend RIMPA Live. This blog post is to capture a few highlights and to share my experiences trying to do professional development with a baby. Many presentations ran parallel to each other, and I was not able to attend everything, so there would be many presentations and ideas I cannot comment on. You can also see what others thought about the conference by looking up #RIMPALIVE2019 on social media such as Twitter.

Childcare is hard to come by, plus with exclusive breastfeeding it is not easy to be away from bub for too long, so I attended with baby for most days. I saw more of the conference when I had bub with me, as I could feed them while watching presentations (which also often kept bub quiet and/or put them to sleep). The day we were apart, I missed presentations when I had to go pump, and I had to leave early because there is a limit to how long I was prepared to be away from bub for (public pumping, like public breastfeeding, is protected under Australian law, but due to the logistics of it I prefer to pump in private). While common to do at conferences, unfortunately presentations were not being streamed into the private room made available for myself and another attendee who needed to pump.

I began the conference on the Tuesday by facilitating the Networking and Information Session for people who are new the conference, new to the profession, or just want a rundown of what to expect during the week. I presented with bub attached to me in a baby carrier (babywearing for the win!). Later that evening I attended the Welcome Reception. I had trouble networking as the music was too loud, it was hard to hear people and my throat was getting sore from trying to strain to speak loudly.

The Wednesday was Day 1 of presentations. There were many seasoned professionals presenting, reflecting on the last 50 years of the profession and how things have changed. There were also some professional speakers from non-records backgrounds, covering topics like leadership and adapting to change.  After many trips down memory lane on Day 1, Day 2 covered some innovative projects and approaches to professional practice. Such as Sandra Ennor’s work to appraise and manage large sets of research data by applying existing records management tools and theory to new areas. And Siân Sewell’s talk on deciding to work in the records and information management industry, where she noted the importance of networking to promote your records management program and get buy-in. She identified four keywords to inform our professional practice: be relevant, collaborative, influential, and innovative.

Day 2 was my childfree day and included me chairing ‘The future of the profession – RIMPA Noobs panel discussion’, with panellists Megan Cappelleri, Rebecca French, Siân Sewell, Chris Simpson, and Susannah Tindall. The discussion focused on the need for more formal and informal mentoring, on the job and formal training, and job security. We also talked about how newbies who enter the profession with a qualification have been trained in innovative approaches to professional practice, which may clash with how their workplace is currently running their records management program. There were some good ideas mentioned on how to better support and get value out of new professionals, such as:

  • When a more senior staff member has a speaking or writing opportunity, they could get a more junior staff member to co-write or co-present part of it as a learning/mentoring opportunity
  • For managers to consider sometimes sending more junior staff to industry training and events, so they get the experience, and can report back on learnings to the team
  • Newbies should not hide their previous qualifications or experience in other industries and roles, as that is where they learned or demonstrated valuable transferable skills such as customer service, project management, commitment to study and lifelong learning and more.

 

IMG_20191010_105752

The view from my private pumping room

I really enjoyed the opening presentation of Day 3 by Matt O’Mara, on the need to innovate our approach to records and information management. The take-home message was that as information professionals, we need to insert ourselves into the right networks and conversations and be seen as trusted advisors and strategic enablers. Another highlight was Helen Palmer’s workshop on change management. She highlighted the human side, that we have to be mindful of the impact change can have on people. And that change is not always negative. The talk by Susan Bennett and Chris Colwell on leading information governance in the digital age was inspiring. They said that records and information managers are well placed to step up and lead information governance in organisations. They noted the importance of leadership and soft skills like influencing and strategy to complement technical skills. They saw information governance not as records and information management by another name, but as a multidisciplinary ‘super-profession’.

Throughout the conference I had many people come up to me to say hi to bub and say positive things about me attending with a baby. I think I met more people than I usually would, as babies are a great conversation starter. Many commented on how rare it was for new parents/carers to attend conferences, and that I was setting a good example that they are welcome if they want to attend. I only had one person say something negative to me, which included referring to bub as ‘really annoying’ and saying that I was being ‘confronting’ (the irony of confronting someone and accusing them of being confronting!). The encounter was a surprise for me, as they requested that I do exactly what I had already been doing, as if I had not been doing just that: if bub gets noisy (happy noisy or sad noisy), leave the room immediately and return when they are settled again. I did not know what to say other than, ‘that’s a reasonable request, and I am doing that, so I don’t know what else to say’. It was a blip on the radar as far as my overall experience goes, but I reported my encounter to management in the hope that it does not happen again to me or anyone else. **Edited to say, I have no intention of naming the person, so that they have the opportunity to save face. I strongly believe in ‘know better, do better’ and giving people the opportunity to bounce back. I’ve certainly make mistakes before and would not want to be identified for such. We all make mistakes and my point was never to identify the person, only to share my experience and how I navigated it.***

I do not need to explain how damaging an interaction like that, especially from someone holding a senior position, could be to a parent or carer’s confidence, mental health, and likelihood of leaving the house with bub again for some much needed social interaction.

While overall I felt supported to be there, I made a list of a few things I thought of that could make conferences even more parent/carer friendly:

  • Have a diversity and inclusion policy that states that parents/carers are welcome at the event and will be accommodated (to empower parents/carers to stand up for themselves in case someone does feel the need to say something negative to them)
  • Provide a space to pump (or breastfeed) that is private, has electricity and a fridge, and ideally a microwave in case one needs to sterilise equipment and bottles
  • Ensure high chairs are available at meal times (I had trouble getting one for the one sit-down meal I had requested it for)
  • Provide a play space where children can be noisy and stretch out
  • Live stream the audio, and ideally video too, of at least the main presentation room, into the feeding/pumping/play room(s)
  • Provide free or affordable childcare onsite, since it is difficult to organise private childcare to fit in around the conference span of hours, or if you have travelled for the conference you will not have access to your usual childcare options.

The 2020 conference will be held in Canberra. I encourage you all to start thinking about what you can present. What research have you done or could you do before then, or what projects could be written into a case study? And if you are a parent or a carer, and want to attend, I hope I have given you some ideas of how it can be a positive experience and empowered you to ask for whatever you need to accommodate you.

fbt

Babywearing helped me settle bub on the move and not take up too much space on peak hour public transport

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Some brief reflections on #ICHORA8 / #GLAMblogclub

This is a very rushed post to capture some of the things I learned and intend to reflect on from the 8th International Conference on the History of Records and Archives. It is a 3 day conference being held in Melbourne this week, and due to an unavoidable clash I could only attend the first 2 days. A number of attendees have been tweeting about it, so please check out #ICHORA8 for the details. The program and abstracts are also online, and papers will be online later.

This is also a shameless attempt to get in at the last minute with a #GLAMblogclub post on this month’s topic: passion. The claim I will make is that I am passionate about my profession and my professional development, and passionate about sharing with people OUTSIDE the profession what we do and why we are important. I was privileged to be able to attend most of this week’s conference, and I am aware that many people would have wanted to go but couldn’t due to limited time, funding, travel limitations etc. I did my best to live Tweet my observations and reflections during the conference to share these with others, and here I am expanding on some of the themes in my Tweets.

1) Control records are important – if you destroy records, make a record that you did so

Its not possible to keep every record or piece of data permanently, so there will be times that records and data are destroyed. In the case of public sector records in Australia, the authority for that usually comes from a ‘disposal authority’ or RDA (retention and disposal authority). When records are destroyed, its usually required that a record is made about it. What were the records about, what date range were they from, who or what (RDA) authorised the destruction etc.

The presentation by Nicola Laurent and Cate O’Neil about their work on the Find and Connect web resource makes it clear just how important control records are. Care leavers often get told that the records they are looking for were destroyed by flood or fire, but some investigations into some of these claims have proven that wrong.  Generally if your organisation had records you should be able to say where they are, or explain when and why they were destroyed.

2) If you’re going to capture records, think NOW about how you will preserve them and provide access to them

Its quite important to think at the start of a project, how will I ensure that what I’m creating or capturing can remain available over time? I.e. digital preservation. Mary Grace Golfo-Barcelona gave a presentation about the use of terrestrial laser scanning to capture 3D images of cultural heritage sites. It’s an opportunity to preserve what particular sites are like now, in case they get damaged or destroyed later by things like natural disasters. The irony is, that there may be no guarantee that these scans will remain available over time.  Digital preservation is complicated and there may be no easy answers. However, thinking about it from the start of a project is presumably going to increase the chances of success in preserving the information captured.

3) Recordkeepers and archivists need to do more to increase awareness of what we do and who we are

The presentation by Sara Tam and Jenny Yu about research with Cynthia Ho in Hong Kong explained their work in establishing a community archive about Pok Fu Lam Village. They opened their talk with a brief overview of the history and current status of recordkeeping and archival practice in Hong Kong. They said that due to limited access to formal education in the discipline, along with other factors, almost no-one in Hong Kong knows what an archivist is.

I laughed when they said that, as in my experience in Victoria, Australia, where there are plenty of tertiary courses in the discipline, I often feel that no-one in Australia knows what an archivist is. No offence to bookkeepers, but I was disappointed when I recently told someone ‘I’m a recordkeeper.’ I got a bit of a blank look so I expanded my explanation with,  ‘You know, records, archives, information management…?’ and they said, ‘Oh so you’re a bookkeeper then?’

Archives and recordkeeping is just one discipline in the #GLAMR world, and we are lagging behind other information disciplines such as libraries in making it clear what we do. I presume that most librarians don’t need to explain what a library or librarian is, even if they might need to explain some aspects of their professional practice or exactly what their responsibilites are. However, outside of the #GLAMR world I often can’t get far into a conversation about my career or ‘what I do’ without having to do some serious explaining. What can we do to get the word out about us?

I am passionate about recordkeeping and archives, but I passionately believe we need to do more to get the word out about what we do, why we do it, and why anyone should care. The presentations at ICHORA this week highlighted the history and ongoing importance of recordkeeping and archival work. Now the challenge is to get the word out more broadly about all these interesting histories, stories and projects.

That’s as much as I have time to write, but please check out #ICHORA8 on Twitter for more observations, and the ICHORA website for the abstracts, and eventually the papers.

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Vocation equals happiness – Glam Blog Club March 2018

I recently started reading ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin. In the book, the author describes a year-long quest to change her life, with monthly goals divided into twelve chapters. I plan to read one chapter per month this year, and so far I am keeping up.

The March chapter focuses on happiness with work. Rubin opens with, ‘Happiness is a critical factor for work, and work is a critical factor for happiness’. She notes that ‘happy people work more hours each week’ and they ‘work more in their free time too’. At some points of my career I would have disagreed with her. However, I do find with my current profession of recordkeeping and archives that, within reason, I am happy to do extra work such as volunteering to run external programs or events for the profession, and writing articles to share my experiences to help other newbies.

Happiness is the topic of this month’s Glam Blog Club, with the question asking, ‘What makes you happy? Your job? Visiting your favourite library? Getting lost in an exhibition?’ I say YES to all three! In particular, I’m super-happy with my job. More broadly, I’m super-happy with my profession. In the same way that another Glam Blog Clubber this month makes no apologies for loving being a librarian, I’m ecstatic to be working in the recordkeeping profession.

Last November I attended an event at Monash University which included a talk by Adrian Cunningham who recently retired from a distinguished career in archives. Cunningham spoke about his profession as a ‘vocation’ and that really resonated with me: ‘Archiving is a vocation, it gets under your skin and once you’ve got the bug you never lose it.’

Don’t get me wrong, I have some criticisms about my profession and how the industry operates in Australia. Particularly around the scarcity of services and opportunities available specifically for new entrants to the profession. Though I do my best to be part of the solution by creating opportunities for students and new professionals.

In my career, after studying a range of humanities disciplines and gaining experience in public-sector governance and administration, I finally landed my dream role of Senior Records Analyst. It wasn’t until I started working in recordkeeping and archives as my core discipline that I felt like I had a profession, a career path, and a community to engage with. Maybe there are professional associations and industry networks in other areas I have work experience in, but I did not come across them in the way that I have in the GLAMR industry.

I could talk all day about what I like about my job and my profession. If I were to focus on one thing, it is that the industry has many opportunities for practitioners and academics to engage with each other. To collaborate and talk with each other. To attend the same events and read the same articles. This means a lot to me as I enjoy studying, I enjoy doing research, and I want a good evidence base to inform my professional practice.

In my experience, recordkeeping and archival industry events such as the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) annual conference attracts a good mix of practitioners and academics as speakers and attendees. This is important to ensure that research informs practice and vice versa.

I have had the privilege of being exposed to research in practice through a project at work involving a mix of academics and practitioners. That led to a number of opportunities to attend conferences as a speaker within and outside Australia as part of a team including practitioners and academics.

I’m proud of the teamwork and practitioner/academic collaboration that went into the 2017 ASA conference panel I was included in, about bridging the gap between educational theory and on the ground practice (link to video recording of the 90 minute session).

Last year I was included in the delivery of a workshop in Mexico at the International Council on Archives annual conference. I learnt so much from academics Gillian Oliver and Fiorella Foscarini about research which can inform my professional practice. To my humble shock, I got feedback that my reflections on my professional practice added value to the workshop too.

Mexico 2017 - Fiorella Loriente Oliver

Me in Mexico last November 2017 after assisting in the delivery of a workshop about Information Culture. L-R: Fiorella Foscarini, Lydia Loriente, Gillian Oliver

I value the opportunity to be employed as a practitioner who can get things done, while having (internal and external) opportunities for ongoing exposure and access to academic discussions and emerging research.

Some weekends I get carried away doing professional reading and writing or doing homework for my studies in information and knowledge management. Other weekends I completely switch off and walk away, and focus on other interests. But I’m always happy to return after a break. Rubin had made a career change from lawyer to writer, as writing was her passion. She found with her new career that she was, as she explains it, ‘as eager for Monday mornings as I was for Friday afternoons.’ As much as I love my weekends, I really do look forward to Monday mornings as it’s my official start each week back into my vocation. And that makes me happy.

Loriente in Brisbane 20170909

Me in Brisbane September 2017 after co-presenting a workshop at RIMPA inForum

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What I want to learn in the year ahead / What I learned in the past year (2017/2018)

The January theme for GLAM Blog Club is ‘what I want to learn in the year ahead / what I learned in the past year’. I started this blog to write on the same topic exactly one year ago, focusing on what I had learned the previous year.  I got a lot done in 2017, and it was hard to separate out ‘what I learned’ with ‘what I achieved’, since many of my achievements were learning experiences too.

What I learned in 2017

2016 was a real crash course for me in upskilling and learning about the profession of recordkeeping and archives. 2016 had very much been a ‘LEARN EVERTHING’ experience, whereas in 2017 I tried to be a bit more selective about what I engaged with. I continued and consolidated some learning activities begun in 2016: using Twitter to learn and network, learning more about Information Culture, and completing two more units for my University studies in information and knowledge management.

By early 2017 I felt that between my university studies, my work experience and my self-directed learning and experiences, I knew a lot about recordkeeping. While there is always more to learn, I decided that my focus for 2017 should be more on soft skills and transferable skills in leadership and communication, as well as building my network and gaining experience in writing and presenting.

To support my learning, I put myself forward for a lot of opportunities in 2017, possibly too many! I spoke at one international and three Australian industry events on topics including electronic signatures, information culture, and the perspectives and needs of students and new professionals. I co-ran the RIMPA Noobs group for students and new professionals, which involved delivering several events, a volunteer program, and some blog and newsletter articles. I volunteered to write for a range of industry publications on a range of topics including a book review, a conference review, and an industry magazine article about electronic signatures.  I also learned about agile project methodology, organisational culture and leadership styles when I undertook a work placement for my studies.

In preparation for attending a conference in Mexico, my partner and I attended Spanish classes for a few months leading up to the trip. It was great fun, we met some fantastic people, and it made it far easier to communicate with locals and to be understood.

Take-home message from 2017: collaboration is the best!

I always knew that teamwork and collaboration are important, and this was really demonstrated to me in 2017. My biggest achievements at work and outside of work were collaborations.

In addition to my day job, I voluntarily collaborated with some practitioners and academics outside of work time on some events, writing and workshops. These were rewarding and positive experiences, and I could not have completed some initiatives without the shared workload or the fresh perspectives, processes and ideas that collaborators brought.

What I want to learn in 2018

I always keep a running list of things I want to do for professional development. Often it’s just a short article or podcast to listen to, sometimes it’s attending an entire conference. My to-do list for 2018 learning already has 67 items on it, some carried over from 2017. This is in addition to completing one final unit for my university studies.

I recently became a supervisor in my day job, so in 2018 I plan to learn more about leadership, giving feedback, and management. I also want to learn more about agile project methodology, as I’m noticing that this is being used more and more in the workplace, so I need to be across it.

Finally, I’ve been developing my writing skills in the last year through this blog and other endevours. In 2018, I want to continue to do so, by focusing more on peer-reviewed and academic-focused pieces.

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Recordkeeping considerations for electronic signatures

Last year I wanted to move some hand-signed paper forms to online forms in a Victorian (Australian) public-sector workplace. I initially was not sure if I was allowed to replace hand-signing with electronic signing. I also wondered what to consider to ensure the process remained legal as well as recordkeeping compliant.

A hand-drawn mark on paper is not the only analogue method of signing. Other methods that have been used include fingerprints, seals, as well as stamps. I became interested in signature stamps when I travelled to Seoul, South Korea, for a conference in 2016, and learnt that stamps were historically used as signatures (also in China, Japan, and some other countries). Interestingly, they are still in some use in South Korea.

The stamp is called a ‘Dojang’ in Korean (도장), and can also be called a seal, a name stamp, or a name chop. My ‘research focus group’ (my partner, who grew up in South Korea, plus some friends that he ‘KakaoTalk’ messaged) informed me that while the stamp is accepted as a legitimate signature, people these days tend to hand-sign (or e-sign) most documents in Korea. One of the reasons is that it’s a pain to have to carry the stamp around. However, my focus group told me that it’s likely they would make the point to use their stamp for very official documentation such as buying a house. They also need it to get another banking passbook issued, as the bank would compare their current stamp to the stamp they have on file from setting up the account (similar to how Australian banks have ‘signature books’ with copies of hand-signed names).

Dojang

A Dojang 도장 (Korean seal) Photo credit:
http://www.buhaykorea.com/2008/09/01/dojang-korean-chop/

Back to electronic signatures. Frustratingly, I found it difficult to find neutral authoritative sources of information on electronic signatures. It seemed that every article had been written by a vendor wanting to sell a workflow software product (though don’t discount these articles, as some of the products are very useful!)

I kept researching and talking to people until I felt informed enough to speak about it at first a State-wide, and then a National conference. If you are interested in this topic, here are some resources to get you started.

An electronic signature is any electronic method which carries the intention of being a signature. We already use these in our personal and work life. It can be a PIN when paying by credit card, drawing on an electronic pad when collecting a registered letter or parcel, or saying ‘yes’ on the phone when being recorded, to buy car insurance. It includes some emails and online forms, or using workflow within an electronic system. Technically, it includes hand-signing a form then scanning it, and submitting the scan electronically (which I had to do last week in order to submit an online form for an Australian Federal Police check – couldn’t I have submitted through the myGov portal?)

Strictly speaking, an electronic signature can use any appropriate method, whereas a digital signature is a specific type of electronic signature, which has more controls and security around it.  A digital signature is likely to be more difficult and expensive to implement, and is not necessary for lower-stakes or most internal-to-the-organisation approvals.

There are three criteria for a compliant electronic signature in Australia, and it’s similar in many other jurisdictions:

  1. Identity: you need to accept the approval in a way that identifies the person and indicates their intention to approve the matter
  2. Reliability: the method used to obtain the digital approval must be as reliable as appropriate for the purpose (use your judgement or seek legal advice as there’s no clear-cut definition of what is reliable)
  3. Consent: the entity requiring the signature must agree to receiving it this way.

At times there may be other criteria or conditions in other related laws. If in doubt, seek legal advice before making the changeover.

In addition, I recommend ensuring that the record of the signature is managed appropriately as a record, i.e. to ensure that it is authentic, reliable, usable, and has integrity (the four characteristics of a record from AS/ISO 15489).  Even if the record has a short-term retention period, you still need to ensure that the record is available for that entire period, as with any other record.

Are you interested in using electronic signatures in your organisation? Want to ensure they are recordkeeping compliant? Here are some resources to get you started:

Action plan for implementing electronic signatures PLUS considerations for purchasing electronic signature (approval) software

I wrote an article about this which is available in the Image and Data Manger (IDM) October-November 2017 print issue, or conveniently online. It has a four step action plan, plus four considerations for purchasing relevant software.

Community of practice

I have created a LinkedIn group called ‘Electronic signatures/digital approvals’. I invite you to join the group and share your resources, questions, challenges and success stories in implementing electronic signatures. Please join this community of practice so we can learn from each other, and have an audience to share our successes.

Journal on digital evidence and electronic signatures

Yes, there is an entire online journal available on electronic signatures worldwide.

Key legislation in Australia and my home state of Victoria

  • Section 10 of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (Commonwealth)
  • Section 9 of the Electronic Transactions Act 2000 (Victoria)

NAA Digital Authorisations Framework

This article in IDM introduces the new NAA Digital Authorisations Framework and provides links to the NAA’s website on it. You can use these resources to help understand what digital approval method is most appropriate for the situation.

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How I Ended Up Here… on this blog!

This month’s Glam Blog Club topic is How I Ended Up Here. I’m taking the question quite literally, and explaining how I ended up HERE here, on this blog.

I wouldn’t be writing this blog, or possibly even be in this profession, if it weren’t for the networking opportunities, support and mentoring I’ve been privileged to access in the last few years.

It all started around the time I took a secondment in May 2015, in my first dedicated job in recordkeeping and archives. I’d already worked for five years in a University governance role that included recordkeeping responsibilities mixed in with other compliance-related aspects such as privacy, legal compliance, policy and committee governance. I’d become quite interested in recordkeeping, having voluntarily read some textbooks about it in early 2014 as part of my professional development (I’d been advised years ago to always propose a mix of paid and ‘free’ professional development on my annual plan). In fact, I enjoyed my reading so much, that mid-2014 I enrolled in a University course to become qualified as a recordkeeper and archivist. So when the opportunity arose in 2015 to do a job specialising in recordkeeping and archives, I took it!

I’ve always been a fan of continuing professional development and lifelong learning. I think in my whole adult life, I’ve had no more than 1 year’s break between each University course enrolment. My annual plan at work always involves requests to attend workshops and events, or to use some work time to read. But when I started the dedicated recordkeeping and archives role, I decided it was time to take it up a level. I decided it was time to network and really understand the profession I was working in.

In my University studies, I had to write an assignment about microblogging for knowledge sharing. I had never blogged or microblogged before, so I set up a Twitter account in order to understand it better. I followed some professional organisations like ALIA, RIMPA and ASA, and occasionally logged in to read my newsfeed. Through my Twitter feed, I found out about Cardi Parties. I attended my first one early in 2015, but for various reasons didn’t make it back for a while. Then in May 2016 I attended my second Cardi Party, and the rest is history!

While I’d been a lurker on Twitter for about a year, I realised at that Cardi Party that GLAMR professionals, especially new professionals, use Twitter a lot and so should I. Some very kind people stepped me through my first few tweets and gave suggestions on how to use Twitter. So I Tweeted about the event and have never stopped Tweeting since:

I’d thought here and there about starting a blog, but really wasn’t sure where to start. So when New Cardigan announced GLAM Blog Club late in 2016, I decided to bite the bullet and make my first post, on what I learned in 2016. I’d already built up my confidence with public self-publications, by Tweeting a lot at events and about the profession. But I was still a bit worried about potentially embarrassing myself or my employer. So I asked my Manager to look over the draft of my first post to check if it was acceptable. They gave some good advice to tweak it, and some encouraging compliments, and soon after I made that first post public. I still get my Manager to check over any drafts if they mention work, or to get general feedback on the direction I’m taking if I’m a bit stuck.

Since that first post I’ve had trouble keeping up with monthly posts, but I’ve made a few contributions to Glam Blog Club and have also posted about some other random GLAMR topics.

I enjoy reading the Glam Blog Club posts each month, and I try to contribute where I can. There are many similarities between the GLAMR professions, and I think we all have a lot to learn from each other. But primarily I’m a recordkeeper, so my only wish is that more recordkeepers blogged and participated in GLAM Blog Club, as I’d love to network more and learn more from others doing similar jobs to me.

If you’re a recordkeeper (or in any GLAMR profession) and thinking about starting a blog, here are my tips to get you started:

  • If you’re not sure what to write about, start with a structure such as GLAM Blog Club
  • Do a bit of research on what technology you’d like to use, but I ended up using wordpress.com because it was easy and free to get started (though I do now pay an annual subscription to make mine ad-free and for other features)
  • Check with your employer if it’s OK to have a blog, especially if you will be writing about work. If you are writing about work, I suggest getting your Manager to check your draft post to ensure it’s OK to share, in case there may be confidential or sensitive topics they want to check over
  • Make sure you register your blog with Aus GLAM Blog Bot, so your posts get more visibility.

So that’s my story of how I ended up here! Be sure to read the other GLAM Blog Club posts this month!

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Summary of first #archivehour

Archive hour launched today in the UK and I participated. Well, archive hour launched yesterday (last Thursday of the month), but due to the time difference, it was today in Australia (last Friday of the month).

It was first announced only 1 month ago, but in that short time, the #archivehour Twitter page accrued over 700 followers and made over 400 tweets. The aggressive advertising campaign was un-ignorable, and somehow non-irritating, due to the excellent diversity of gifs used (my favourite being this one closely followed by this one for the hypnotising factor). There’s probably a whole case study there in how to get that many followers that quickly without being marked as spam.

This month’s topic was digital preservation.

As a records analyst that works in a recordkeeping governance unit in the public sector (a University), I’m very interested in digital preservation. I work to govern and help manage both temporary and permanent electronic records. So for me, digital preservation isn’t just about permanent records, it can also mean ensuring records are accessible for a ‘short’ period of time. That short period could be 6 months, 2 years, 15 years or even 50+ For digital records, even five years can be a long time, and a huge challenge, to ensure that the records remain authentic, reliable, have integrity, and are usable for the entire retention period (the four characteristics of a record from ISO 15489).

#archivehour went very quickly. One minute it was 6.02am and I was just settling in with my English Breakfast tea (it was based in the UK afterall), and the next minute it was past 7am and I hadn’t finished! I felt like I was trying to secretly write in an exam after “pens down” was announced, when I frantically tried to wrap up all my fresh tweets and replies and read all the notifications just after 7am. In the end I was nearly late to work even after getting up so early!

It was great to see the records continuum theory get a mention very early on:

 

I was also excited to see a nod to Information Asset Registers:

(I liked a lot of Jaana’s tweets and am now following them!)

Minds were blown when I mentioned that much research data has a retention period of only five years. Some data has a longer temporary sentence (retention period), and some is permanent, but a lot of it is temporary. As a records continuum theory influenced records and archives professional, I feel that (organised, authorised) destruction of records is sometimes just as important a consideration as retention (and preservation) of records.

As shocking as this may be to some recordkeepers, it’s worth pointing out that records with a short retention period such as two years, might be ‘preserved’ just by managing them ‘in place’. Even if that means keeping them within an email account (but at least try to make it a role account so it’s easier to keep custody of the records if a staff member leaves).

As a recordkeeper who’s more interested in the story of the recordkeeping, in why and how particular records are captured and kept or deleted, I couldn’t resist my slightly-angsty reply to the 2nd last question this morning:

Overall, #archivehour was an interesting discussion. I feel that I represented temporary recordkeeping in a discussion that at times seems more geared towards digital preservation equalling permanent preservation. I hope I represented the fact that temporary records also need to be considered.

Keep an eye out for the next #archivehour – last Thursday of the month UK time, or very early on a Friday morning Aussie time!

 

 

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