Finding New Knowledge: Archival Records in the Age of Big Data
April 26-28, 2016
College Park, MD
Objectives and Scope:
- Address the challenges of big data for digital curation, with a focus on archival records, cultural materials, and humanities research.
- Explore the conjunction of emerging digital methods and technologies around big data and their consequences for generating new forms of analysis and historical research engagement with archival material.
- Identify and evaluate current trends, requirements, and potential in the field, to examine their consequences and the new questions that the field can provoke.
- Determine possible research agendas for the evolution of the field in the coming years.
- Establish a community of practice going forward to develop research agendas and collaborative projects.
Day 1: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 – Presentations Day
On Day 1 we had a series of invited talks, with a focus on topics that raised issues and generated discussion. This culminated in panel discussions that identified key issues that fed into the “unconference day” on Day 2.
The high-level structure of the sessions were based around the broad groups of agents, curation, enhancement and use of this material:
- The traditional agents – archives would be the main one, but Web archives and/or data archives, as well as museum/library points of view – a broad sense of what constitutes a “record” were also included).
- Crowds, citizens and communities: crowdsourcing, social curation, co-curation, storytelling with data.
- Digital methods and technology researchers: adding value to data through visualizations, machine learning, analytics.
Day 2: Wednesday, April 27, 2016 – Unconference & Demo Day
On Day 2 we held a number of unconference sessions interspersed with 4 demos (2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon).
In each time slot a number of participant-led breakout sessions were run in parallel. These were followed by plenary sessions in which nominated spokespersons from the breakout groups reported back.
Topics addressed by breakout groups were stimulated by issues raised by the sessions in Day 1 (although they were not restricted to these).
Day 3: Thursday, April 28, 2016 – Bringing it all together
On Day 3, Maria Esteva summarized findings and shared her perspective based on her computational archival science work. Richard Marciano provided a working definition of Computational Archival Science (CAS) and its connection with federal funding priorities.
Finally a “Federal Agency” panel shared its perspective on the Symposium topics.