Weekly News Roundup and report on ALA-ICA, December 12, 2017

Blog posts and news

New tools

  • JHOVE 1.18 released on International Digital Preservation Day: A new version of JHOVE is now available for the digital preservation community to download and use. JHOVE is the reference open source file format identification, validation and characterisation tool for digital preservation, and part of the OPF reference toolset. https://github.com/openpreserve/jhove/releases/latest.
  • veraPDF 1.10 released on International Digital Preservation Day: The latest version of veraPDF is now available to download. veraPDF is an open source PDF/A validator, and version 1.10 marks the first release of veraPDF as part of the Open Preservation Foundation’s (OPF) reference toolset.


Calls/upcoming workshops

  • Refugee Rights in Records Symposium, January 10, 2018, Central European University, https://informationasevidence.org/symposium
  • Annual Conference:  29 to 31 August 2018, Glasgow, UK – Call for Papers: ‘People make Records’ (deadline December 13, 2017),http://conference.archives.org.uk/

In an era of fake news, alternative facts and technological disruption, how can we nurture reliable shared memory that provides the foundation of identity and ensures the accountability of our institutions to society?

Call for Papers Closes: 28 February, 2018


SAA at the ALA-ICA Annual Conference 2017 in Mexico City, November 27-29

This past November the Association of Latin American Archives (ALA) came together with the International Council on Archives (ICA) for their annual meetings and the subsequent conference. The themes of the conference were archives, citizenship, and interculturalism. Archivists from all over the world came together to discuss the importance of preserving the records of human experience as a means to challenge authoritarianism, violation of human rights, racism and discrimination. Caribbean countries who are experiencing the aftermath of a catastrophic hurricane season issued a call for archivists to document the countries that cause the most climate change and to contrast them with the ones who suffer the consequences the most in order to demand accountability. The preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of Mexican indigenous cultures highlighted the theme of multiculturalism.

SAA had a pretty active role at the conference. SAA President Tanya Zanish-Belcher discussed the challenges faced by archivists at the U.S. and the way in which SAA is counteracting against them via training programs and other initiatives. She also discussed academic programs to integrate students to archival activities at Wake Forest University. In the same panel, Joel A. Blanco Rivera, past LACCHA co-chair, alongside colleagues from Colombia and Brazil, discussed academic programs to train archivists in Puerto Rico and Chile. At another panel, Natalie Baur, another past LACCHA co-chair, discussed the project she led at the University of Miami to collect and preserve the tweets Cuban Americans issued on the declaration of the normalization of U.S./Cuba relations that President Barack Obama issued in 2015. Baurs’s presentation stirred the audience and ALA archivists discussed the possibility of having workshops in Latin America regarding the collection and preservation of tweets.

One of the highlights of SAA’s activity was the meeting between SAA President and ALA President, Dra. Mercedes de Vega, director of Mexico’s National Archives. They discussed possible collaborations between SAA and ALA. Finally, several SAA members used the opportunity to get together and to get a glimpse of Mexico City.


Weekly News Roundup – November 24, 2017

Our weekly news roundup from around the globe

Old Modi script decoded, revived and digitized by archivists and linguists in India. (Times of India, Mumbai, November 19, 2017)

Volunteer in England transcribes World War I diaries from Oxfordshire Museum archives to shed light on the deployment of tanks in the  battle of Cambrai. (Oxford Mail, November 20, 2017)

Archivist at the Newcastle University in New South Wales, Australia reported helping to dig a digital trench through a historic site as part of the “Deep Time” project. (Newcastle Herald, November 18, 2017)

Personal archivist of Nelson Mandela talks about the role of archival records and the National Archives in the recent history of South Africa in a remarkable conversation broadcast on Radio ABC. (ABC Australia, November 22, 2017)


Call for papers

“Verge: Studies in Global Asias” journal, Issue 6.1 – Displaced Subjects: Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Critical Refugee Studies



The 2017 joint annual conference of the Asociación Latinoamericana de Archivos and the International Council on Archives begins in Mexico City on Monday, November 27th. News and updates from the conference will be available from the ALA’s website.

Weekly News Roundup – November 17, 2017

Our weekly news roundup from around the globe

Calls for Papers

Weekly News Roundup – November 3, 2017

Our weekly news roundup from around the globe

* Auschwitz trial documents and recordings awarded special UNESCO status, DW News, October 30, 2017.

* What UNESCO Means to U.S. Cities, CityLab, October 31, 2017.

* U.S. to Withdraw From UNESCO. Here’s What That Means. National Geographic, October 12, 2017.

* Browse over a thousand CIA records about Indonesian mass killings, Muckrock, October 23, 2017.

* “Ethiopia: No More Pull Backs to Heritage Restitution Efforts,” Ethiopian Herald, October 12, 2017.


From the APEF Newsletter number 9, November 2017

* Research with APE:

„ RESEARCH ARCHIVES PORTAL EUROPE – a new way to do historical research Archives Portal Europe (www.archivesportaleurope.net), the largest online archive catalogue in the world, is seeking contributions from history researchers – of any field and time period – to conduct research using the Portal, thus establishing new ways of approaching primary sources in the digital era.

The Digital has brought about enormous challenges and opportunities to archives, as well as to historical research. While the preservation of digital-born sources and digitisation processes caused a real revolution amongst archivists, historians and researchers can also approach the discipline in different ways, thanks to new tools such as online access and indexing standardisation – just to mention a few.

Since 2009, a consortium of archives from all over Europe has been working to integrate and digitise all European archives in one single repository. Archives Portal Europe (APE) now holds almost 260 million descriptive units from thousands of archival collections from all over Europe. This material is organised and made freely available online: www.archivesportaleurope.net

The Portal allows to search from thousands of archival collections from all over the world, starting with a simple Google-like query with keywords. It also supports multilingual search, allowing to search in different languages with the same query. A full explanation of how to conduct research in Archives Portal Europe is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsRb2rwCngo&t=310s

Archives Portal Europe is seeking help from historians of any time period, field, or career level, to contribute to determine what are the elements of novelty that this type of research can bring about in historical research. For this reason, the Archives Portal Europe Foundation (APEF) is calling for volunteers to conduct short pieces of research, on any topic or time period, which use Archives Portal Europe as a research source, and explore the new possibilities that the Portal and Digital Archives in general can offer to historical research. This can include, without being restricted to:

– Transnational aspects of European History

– Comparing isolated European communities and parallel lives

– Historical events and characters as narrated by different archives

– Multilingual and quantitative research

– Memory and impacts of global events across Europe

– Different narrations of historical events (e.g., the Napoleonic period; the Cold War; the 1848 revolution)

– Taxation across Europe

Topics and approaches to the usage of the Portal are completely free, and the research can be part of ongoing projects towards academic papers, books, or other. The Portal holds documents from ancient times until the present, and from more than twenty countries in Europe, which allows for a vast array of experimentation.

The output of the research should be a short paper of 1500-3000 words that outlines the advantages and shortcomings of Archives Portal Europe (and of digital archives in general) as a tool for historical research. The papers will be published in a collective volume available online on the Archives Portal Europe website (www.archivesportaleuropefoundation.eu), which will be cited as a case study for research on academic archives.

The paper can be written in any of the languages represented in Archives Portal Europe; however, papers written in languages other than English should be accompanied by a 800-word summary in English.

In order to participate, please send a short research proposal in English (max 500 words), contact details (including Skype number) and short bio to info@archivesportaleuropefoundation.eu by the 15th December 2017. Research proposals will be then discussed with the APEF technical team; the final deadline for the papers will be the 15th of April 2018.“

* MOMathon #4

You are invited to the 4th online MOMathon! MOMathon is an online event concerned with the Monasterium portal – Europe’s virtual charters archive. It gives everyone interested in refining the accessibility of digital available historic documents the opportunity to collectively enhance the world ́s largest database of medieval and early modern charters.“

MOMathon #4 will take place on 30 November 2017. For more details on how to participate, and on the prize awaiting the winner, please log on the website: http://icar-us.eu/en/cooperation/online-portals/monasterium-net/momathon/

Projects in progress

* The Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) Cooperative

The Archives Nationales de France, National French Archives, are partners in the SNAC Cooperative project, which aspires to improve the economy and quality of archival processing and description while addressing the longstanding research challenge of discovering, locating, and using distributed historical records by building a global social-document network using both computational methods and human curation. The project is led by the University of Virginia, which has recently been awarded $750,000 by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to complete the project. For this final phase, the University of Virginia Library is collaborating with the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and 27 other Cooperative members. The objectives include: the development of “cooperative ingest tools” that will enable data-contributing institutions to collaborate in refining and ingesting data into SNAC, and in return to receive persistent identifiers to enhance their descriptive data; the refining and enhancing the History Research Tool for researchers; performing computational refinement and enrichment of existing SNAC data.

Weekly News Roundup – October 27, 2017

Our weekly news roundup from around the globe

Cultural heritage institutions in Jordan work with UNESCO to advance archival preservation. (Jordan Times, Amman, October 26, 2017)

NGO’s saving and showcasing the visual record of region’s natural history in India. (Times of India, Mumbai, October 24, 2017)

Newspapers around the world report on the recent release of JFK archival files in the United States. The Guardian is asking readers to help identify information of interest in the digital archive publicly accessible online. (London, October 27, 2017)

Equally as wide-spread seem to be the news of notes written by Albert Einstein sold at auction. Archivist from the Einstein archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem gets to comment as well. (Gulf News, Dubai, October 25, 2017)


Call for papers

New Routledge Volume on ‘Diasporic, Migrant and Multicultural Heritage.’


World Library and Information Congress organized by the International Federation of Library Associations will be held on August 24-30, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Weekly News Roundup October 20, 2017

Regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the National Heritage Responders are coordinating with FEMA and others how to best support libraries and archives that suffered damage during the storm. For additional information, see National Heritage Responders (NHR).

For other ways to support Puerto Rico, the group Scholars for Puerto Rico Relief are organizing different ways to support the island: http://avidly.lareviewofbooks.org/2017/10/11/scholars-for-puerto-rico-relief/

ICA and its partner ALA have put together a very attractive professional programme for this year’s Annual Conference in Mexico City from 27 to 29 November.  It includes stimulating key-note speakers, distinguished professional practitioners and presentations of ICA’s many current initiatives and projects.   It also reflects the vibrant cultures of Mexico and other Latin American countries. The period of Early Bird Registration ends today 20 October. Register now: http://conferenciamx.ahmreg.mx/

Mexico begins campaign against the traffic of its archival cultural heritage: Illicit traffic of cultural heritage artifacts, including documents, is one of the greatest issues experienced by Latin American countries. It is a mutilation of the identity and the memory of Latin American communities.

History Day 2017 will take place on the 31st of October at Senate House, University of London. See the programme of events, full details of panel sessions and a list of participating organisations.

Banishing the bulk! Conserving a 17th century volume. Of more than 11 million documents in The National Archives’ collection, approximately 5,700 have been identified as “unfit for production’’ due to their fragile physical state, which means that they cannot be seen by readers without prior conservation treatment. This may involve basic cleaning, but in some cases can include more substantial treatments. To allow access to ”unfit documents”, the Collection Care department works systematically – and sometimes on demand – to tackle the varied and often complex challenges posed by records that are often extremely fragile. This 17th century binding (E 403/2570, 1655-1659), from the Office of First Fruits and Tenths and the Court of Augmentations, is one example.

The Endangered Archives Programme offers a number of grants every year to individual researchers world-wide to locate vulnerable archival collections, to arrange their transfer wherever possible to a suitable local archival home, and to deliver digital copies into the international research domain via the British Library. The deadline for preliminary applications is 17 November 2017.

A Trove of Yiddish Artifacts Rescued From the Nazis, and Oblivion. In one of their odder and more chilling moves, the Nazis occupying Lithuania once collected Yiddish and Hebrew books and documents, hoping to create a reference collection about a people they intended to annihilate. In 1991, a large part of the collection was found in the basement of a Vilnius church, and were hailed as important artifacts of Jewish history.

Two new Content Providers from Germany will be available on Archives Portal Europe. Two new archives from Germany have joined Archives Portal Europe as Content Providers: the Kreisarchiv Stormarn, a municipal archive which has been responsible for the traditions and records of the district of Stormarn since 1867; and the district archives of Rhein-Kreis Neuss, in the west of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Weekly News Roundup October 13, 2017

Our weekly news roundup from around the globe.