The large-scale digitization of analog archives, the emerging diverse forms of born-digital archives, and the new ways in which researchers across disciplines (as well as the public) wish to engage with archival materials, are resulting in disruptions to traditional archival theories and practices. Increasing quantities of ‘big archival data’ present challenges for the practitioners and researchers who work with archival materials, but also offer enhanced possibilities for scholarship through the application of computational methods and tools to this archival problem space, and, more fundamentally, through the integration of ‘computational thinking’ with ‘archival thinking’.
To address these challenges, in October 2015, the University of Maryland iSchool launched a major Digital Curation and Innovation Center (DCIC) initiative that brings together archivists and technologists from the US, Canada, and the UK fostering interdisciplinary partnerships using Big Records and Archival Analytics through public / industry / government collaborations (http://dcic.umd.edu/
). This was followed in April 2016 with a Symposium on Archival Records in the Age of Big Data (http://dcicblog.umd.edu/cas/symposium-program/
) and will culminate in December 2016 with a “Computational Archival Science” workshop in DC at the IEEE Big Data 2016 conference (http://dcicblog.umd.edu/cas/ieee_big_data_2016_cas-workshop/
Our pop-up session seeks to harness these latest developments by:
- Addressing the challenges of big archival data, with a focus on archival records, cultural materials, and humanities research.
- Exploring 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.
This will primarily be illustrated with concrete examples of collaborations and archival challenges. We wish to engage SAA members to help establish a community of practice to develop collaborative engagement and research.