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Archival institutions, like The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, play a vital role in the well-being of a democratic society. Their primary duties have been to preserve the history of human-kind and provide evidence of the past. The means of communication over several thousand years have varied in format and genre, from stone carvings to electronic records. And the concept of enduring value has evolved in close parallel with changes in historical interpretation.
The scope of collection management activities with archival collections have likewise changed and broadened due to advances in technology. With the advent of desktop computing, born-digital records have challenged the long-held precepts of recordkeeping and preservation. Digital imaging and conversion of traditional communication formats has allowed vast quantities of “hidden” materials to be shared with a wider and more diverse audience through the Internet.
Various technological solutions have arisen to manage and make accessible archival collections, some successful and some not. The presentation will review the major technological achievements to date and discuss current trends and future possibilities. This conversation will include a review of mass digitization efforts, the application of Library of Congress MARC 21 and EAD XML, open-source collection management tools like Archivist’s Toolkit, current developments in Electronic Document/Records Management Systems (EDRMS), the potential of digital forensics, as well as, the role of digital curation, the continuum model, and other theoretical advances.