Here is the session abstract submitted for the Society of Indiana Archivists annual meeting on April 2, 2011, in Indianapolis, Indiana:
“Kicking and Screaming Into the 21st Century: Transforming Legacy Data.”
This presentation is intended for archivists considering or preparing to update legacy data into a data management system or contemplating new archival software. It will also provide practical information for institutions seeking to improve collection description and access through grant-funded opportunities.
Archival repositories large and small grapple with legacy data in a number of formats, from paper-based inventories to computer files to archaic archival management systems. As technology and patron expectations have changed, archivists struggle to bring discovery methods into 21st-century web environments. Supported by an NHPRC grant, the Michigan Tech Archives has embarked on a two-year project to improve the description of its historical collections and share more of this information across the web. Two archivists from Michigan Tech will discuss the goals of the program, the grant application and software evaluation and selection process, and the implementation of the cataloging project, highlighting the successes, challenges, and practical lessons learned by engaging in a project of this scope.
As the Assistant Archivist at Michigan Tech, Julie Blair will discuss the grant application process and the software evaluation, especially the decisions made prior to the hire of the project cataloging archivist. She will describe the lessons learned from the process and forecast the path forward. As the Project Cataloging Archivist, Beth Russell will outline the challenges of transforming legacy data in multiple formats into DACS compliant records and creating MARC records for dissemination through OCLC’s WorldCat and Michigan Tech’s WebVoyage OPAC. She will also talk about problems encountered with the software and the challenges of changing software in the middle of a grant project.
Session participants will be
Julie Blair, Assistant Archivist
Beth Russell, Project Cataloging Archivist
MTU Archives & Copper Country Historical Collections
J.R. Van Pelt and Opie Library
Michigan Technological University
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