Midwest Archives Conference - April 17-19

I was in Louisville, KY last week for the Midwest Archives Conference meeting. It was our first time gathering in KY, which joined the regional organization about 3 years ago.

It was a very good meeting and as usual, it was good to catch up with old friends and colleagues and hear what people are doing in their archives.

Open Source and Web 2.0 are alive and well in the archives. I heard presentations that included a number of interesting products that may have useful applications for us at Luther including a new IMLS funded project called Omeka. http://omeka.org/

The description from their websites reads:

"Omeka is a web platform for publishing collections and exhibitions online. Designed for cultural institutions, enthusiasts, and educators, Omeka is easy to install and modify and facilitates community-building around collections and exhibits. It is designed with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content rather than programming."

There was lots of conversations about digitization, how we decide what to digitize and how much we should be doing.

Another tool that was discussed was Scribe. In my research after returning home I found this page: http://chnm.gmu.edu/tools/index.php that includes a number of very interesting tools that have been developed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

Saturday morning I gave a paper at a session looking at the role of the archivist in the merged Library/IT department. I was joined by the archivists at DePauw University in Green Castle, IN and Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. The session was very well received and we had a very engaging conversation at the end. Archivists are very interested for information about good ways to work with IT partners. More and more our work is heavily involved with hardware and software issues and there continue to be many tools that are useful to help up further our attempts to make our materials more accessible.