‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting get understanding’
This inscription from the Book of Proverbs can be found in the Great Hall of Manchester Central Library. I’m an Opening up Archives trainee, based in Manchester Archives, which is a part of Manchester Libraries. Today, many archival institutions have a social media presence; they tweet, blog, have a Facebook page and a Flickr Photostream, but to what extent do they help us get wisdom? I’d like to concentrate on three different, emerging, and perhaps misunderstood, online-based channels which offer the potential to produce an engaging, interesting and accessible online narrative.
Augmented Reality (AR), as I understand it, involves the combination of a real world view with a virtual scene generated by a computer, augmented with additional information which is viewed through a smart phone or tablet. I’ve written about AR previously on the Manchester Archives blog, in which I discussed what AR could add to this pictorial poster (below) produced for the Manchester Corporation Transport Department by E. Wigglesworth in the early 1930s. The potential and possibilities for contextualising an item or collection appears endless.
Manchester Corporation Transport Department poster by E. Wigglesworth (GB127 M29 File 71J)
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On Thursday 30 August, we hosted a Twitter chat @UkNatArchives to talk about issues around digital archives. You can read more about the background to the #digtaltrail in our previous post Beyond paper: The digital trail, as well as listen to or download the June discussion on the paper trail and the national collective memory that prompted our Twitter event.
For almost two hours, experts from The National Archives, including Head of Digital Preservation Tim Gollins and Research and Policy Manager Valerie Johnson, engaged with colleagues, peers and members of the public using the hashtag #digitaltrail. The discussion ranged from DNA data storage, through serendipity and marginalia, to the role of the archivist in the digital age.
You can search for all related tweets using the hashtag, or check out our Storify summary.
Storify of Beyond paper: The digital trail
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In June, we hosted a discussion between Professor Lisa Jardine CBE and Professor the Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield sub-titled ‘openness and the national collective memory’. The distinguished historians explored the value of our archival heritage and considered why ‘sustaining the collective memory of the nation is a first-order requirement’.
The event was live-tweeted with the hashtag #sptrail and, while lots of digital topics were touched on, we want to re-visit and expand on some of the key themes that were raised. On Thursday 30 August, between 13:00 and 14:00 BST, we will host a live Twitter debate on the #digitaltrail @UkNatArchives featuring contributions from our Director of Technology David Thomas, Head of Digital Preservation Tim Gollins and Research and Policy Manager Valerie Johnson.
Listen to the podcast of the original debate and please do join us on Twitter on Thursday, using the hashtag #digitaltrail, for an undoubtedly fascinating review of our digital past and future.
Topics that we’re keen to discuss include:
Quantity – will there simply be too much information?
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This Thursday, between 14:00 and 15:30, Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives, will be welcoming questions on Twitter, as well as answering questions in person at Kew. This is your opportunity to raise any views or questions you may have about the management and future direction of The National Archives.