Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My Review of the Year 2013

Time to review the year. So, who inspired me this year and what recommendations - for books to read, blogs and folks to follow - should you check out?

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Coming soon to a venue near you: New Zealand and Australia itinerary

I will be travelling in New Zealand and Australia in the coming weeks. I will blog as I go about this wonderful experience. I am so pleased to have been invited to do so much with so many talented people.

Here's my itinerary for those who might be interested:

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Government Shutdown = Cultural Shutdown

The US Government shutdown began on the 1st October 2013. This Federal shutdown of public services is having a disproportionate effect upon cultural institutions - whether in the closure of physical spaces (for example museums or National Parks), digital resources (digitalpreservation.gov) or funding streams (National Endowment for the Humanities).
I find it ironic that on this day in 1890 the Yosemite National Park was dedicated in California and here, on that same day, in 2013 the Government shutdown is closing that park for an indeterminate period.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Digital Sudan: cultural heritage revived & preserved

Offering a new view of Sudan to the world and to itself through digitisation.

by Marilyn Deegan

"Documentary heritage reflects the diversity of languages, peoples and cultures. It is the mirror of the world and its memory. But this memory is fragile. Every day, irreplaceable parts of this memory disappear for ever."    UNESCO Memory of the World Programme.


Simon’s blog post on the destruction of cultural heritage in Mali back in January of this year stirred a great deal of interest, and as a direct consequence, he and I have become involved in a project called Digital Sudan, an effort to digitise Sudanese cultural heritage and stop the loss of valuable content though decay and destruction.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

UK Government promotes Open Data - a public good but where is the money?

A debate was held at The Royal Society on 10th July, 2013 titled Maximising the use of public data – should research and publicly acquired data be made more accessible? At this debate David Willetts MP and Minister of State for Universities and Science gave his strong support for Open Data and stated that "the public have a right to access publicly funded research".

This blog post gives details of the debate with links to the resources available from the organisers The Foundation for Science and Technology. It also asks the question: is this an unfunded mandate?

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Value of Welsh Newspapers Online


I recently attended and spoke at an expert seminar prior to the launch of Welsh Newspapers Online at the Pierhead in Cardiff.

The seminar was excellent and the launch went like a dream. The folks at the National Library of Wales have done a great job with this newspaper resource which will deliver
1,000,000 pages of Welsh history to 1910 online, and free of charge.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

World class digitisation in Sweden

I recently attended the Digidaily newspaper project review at the National Archives department for digitization Media Conversion Center (MKC) in Fränsta, Sweden. I describe here some of the secrets of the success I observed and also my review and recommendations for the future directions suggested by this ground breaking project.

Monday, 28 January 2013

African Manuscripts - a treasure in danger?

I have worked with manuscripts for over 20 years now; as a librarian, academic and as a consultant helping others to digitise their collections. I have worked in various African countries with many great libraries and archives for over 10 years. I love Africa, I love the people, the culture, the heritage - their manuscript collections, archives and rock art are things of wonder. Not least because Africa is a continent that has been wracked by the three horsemen of the manuscript conservationists nightmares: war, pestilence and natural disaster.

So it is with incredible sadness that I note today the loss of potentially thousands of manuscripts from the New Ahmed Baba Institute building in Mali. The story in the news (see Guardian and Sky) and online (@howden_africa in particular) suggests that:
"Islamist insurgents retreating from the ancient Saharan city of Timbuktu have set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless ancient manuscripts, some dating back to the 13th century, in what the town's mayor described as a "devastating blow" to world heritage. (Guardian 28/1/2013)"

[Note: updates on the situation may be found at the bottom of this blog posting]