Archives Now!

The past two weeks we’ve covered archives. I thought I’d provide some links that are discussing the latest in digital trends for archives

SNAC – Social Networks and Archival Context

This is a relatively recent international collaboration in the States that focuses on creating digital authority records for archival entities – many of which are not represented at the level of Library of Congress authorities or Getty:

The idea is to create authorities for archival creators and contexts that would expose and discover the richness of archival description and collections across institutions.

IEEE – Big Data and Archives

The Signal blog at the Library of Congress covers digital trends in cultural heritage. This post discusses some of the more computational approaches to archival heritage and datasets. This ties into the discipline of Digital Humanities – one that combines computational approaches to humanistic modes of inquiry.

HistoryPin and Collections

We’ve been covering the main types of social media platforms, but there are some more niche platforms that focus specifically on exposing and exploring cultural heritage. Historypin is a platform that institutions can make use of as an additional form of collections access and public curation – allowing users to build and interact with historical images. This article highlights its use in a library but there are many other types of institutions using this platform to interact with their archival content. A workshop that I run with some colleagues in Ottawa uses this platform to provide a space for archival mediations and interventions – opening up archives that represent specific public sites that are currently being transformed – the recent one that we focused on was the Chateau Laurier where we used the platform in a workshop to explore past, present, and future uses of this iconic space:,-75.697193,9/bounds/44.907383,-76.239643,45.931037,-75.154743

This platform is also being used for crowdsourcing initiatives:


Last but not least is a framework, the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF)

This is a new standard that we are currently investigating at Canadiana. The overall goal is to use the iiif technical specification for describing digital content in cultural heritage collections – once you implement the standard you can then make use of the open source applications and image viewers that are being developed by the community. Some amazing tools being developed around this specification is the ability to select sections of an image for transcription and to compare images across collections. Some examples:

A great application built using this standard is Mirador:

This is a tool that allows for annotation layers and comparison of images across collections.

Another viewer being built using this spec is OpenSeaDragon:




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