Monday, May 30, 2005

digitalpermanence: Transfer and Access Protocols document available

The McGill University Archives has written a discussion document called digitalpermanence: Transfer and Access Protocols (electronic records) [PDF, 337KB] in an effort to develop the procedures for the transfer of and access to McGill University's institutional electronic records.

This document, which took shape after the University Archives’ electronic records campus-wide inventory in 2004, introduces McGill stakeholders, as well as a general audience, to the proposed strategies, methods, and mechanisms for transferring, accessing, managing and preserving electronic records in a digital environment at McGill. It also highlights the activities the McGill University Archives is pursuing in managing and preserving such electronic records as email and websites.

Moreover, the document is meant to build upon the existing research carried out by institutions and organizations around the world involved in managing electronic records and, in turn, to stimulate discussion within the records management and archival communities. Download the document now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Software is Out There!

Like the tag line from "The X-Files" that appears right after the opening credits, I believe the software to manage electronic institutional records is out there. Perhaps it's a gleam in someone's eye or being coded as I type, but the fact is such a tool must be under development.

All that to say, I came across this post from Jill Hurst-Wahl on her "Digitization 101" blog. She mentions a product called ArchivalWare by PTFS. I haven't taken a closer look yet, but anything related to the concept of storing, accessing and managing digital assets is worth posting here.

Digitization 101: ArchivalWare

Monday, May 23, 2005

Florida Center for Library Automation-Digital Archive

It's important to take note of other digital management and digital preservation projects occurring around the world. Here's one from Florida.

Florida Center for Library Automation-Digital Archive

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

DP Protocol Document Coming Soon

For the past couple of months, I've been working on a major digitalpermanence document entitled "digitalpermanence: transfer and access protocols for electronic records."

As the title suggests, this document is intended to establish procedures to enable the transfer and access of electronic records. It is a formidable document, if I do say so myself. I hope once it is released that it will generate some productive commentary.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Secuity of PDF documents and the US Military

The US military recently published a report on the accidental shooting of an Italian journalist and her secret service bodyguard in Iraq.

In an attempt to conceal names, places, and operational tactics, the US military redacted, or blacked-out, portions of the PDF document using what I believe to be some kind of black highlighter tool available in the Adobe Acrobat application. While I'm not exactly sure about the methods the military used to black out the text, the purpose was clear: to keep some information classified.

Unfortunately, the text beneath the blacked-out sections was in fact viewable. A simple copy-and-paste of the source PDF document to a word processing application like MS Word and--voila!--the hidden text becomes viewable. So much for secrecy!

The US military admits it goofed. And with technology being as complex software as it is, I can't blame the military staffers who bungled the dissemination of this report.

According to PDFzone's David Coursey, this whole mess could have been avoided if only precautions and the investment in proper plug-in software were made. It's a great article. Read it here.

I know several people who simply love PDF: it's convenient, quick, and online dissemination is a snap. But, as records managers and archivists in the digital age, let's not be dazzled by technology without making sure it keeps confidential electronic records safe and secure.

The US military's goof-up is our wake-up.

UPDATE: The fine site Boing-Boing ("A Directory of Wonderful Things") has a posting about this story.

UPDATE 2: An Italian blog/website has the actual military document on view!

about the author

I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.

I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.

I believe that empowering people with information can enrich lives and transform the world.