The 1st Annual Conference on Digital Preservation for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (DPASSH 2015) and the official launch of Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) happened last week (25th and 26th June) at Croke Park in Dublin.
Archives are of high importance for the Natural Language Processing community because the solutions developed by researchers can be directly applied for a better extraction of information from archives. The UNLP group received two Student Bursaries to attend the event, thus Bianca Pereira and Waqas Khawaja could participate and share information about the event.
After the Welcome and Opening Remarks by Natalie Harrower, from DRI, and the president of the Royal Irish Academy, Mary Daly, the Keynote Catriona Crowe, from National Archives of Ireland, gave a talk motivating the importance of a trusted digital archive. In the past, all social and cultural information could be stored in offices or libraries which the goal was to preserve information about the past. Although such initiatives put a huge effort on the preservation of documents, a single incident as the one occurring in Public Records Office in Dublin in 1922, where the whole building was victim of an explosion and subsequent fire, can vanish all records carefully stored. This type of situation leaves an open question:”How to preserve the information about the past in a trusted way?”. Although digital repositories may store all the information in a decentralised manner, the question still remains. And this was the guide for the whole conference under the theme: “Shaping our Legacy: Safeguarding the Social and Cultural Record”
The topics approached in the first day of the conference were around trustable infrastructures and metadata, the influence of laws and ethical codes on the creation of digital archives, and the archiving of archeological as well as contemporary data already expressed in digital format (e.g. social media). The first day of conference also had the official launch of the DRI by the TD Damien English, Minister of Skills, Research and Innovation; Muiris O’Connor, from Higher Education Authority; and Sandra Collins and Natalie Harrower from DRI. The launch started with talks about the importance of DRI to safeguard records about Irish cultural and social heritage and closed with a video about the DRI and some demos.
The second day started with a Panel discussing the main theme of the conference. The panel was composed by Brid Dooley, Head of RTE Archives; John McDonough, Director of National Archives of Ireland; Helen Hockx-Yu, Head of Web Archiving at The British Library; and Owen Conlan, Assistant Professor at the School of Computer Science and Statistics in the Trinity College Dublin. The panelists and the attendance addressed the challenges in different types of digital archives and how personalisation can help on exploring such archives.
The second day continued with sessions about Policies and archiving of relevant research data, archival of text, images, and more complex objects, and preservation of art material.
The overall agenda as well as all tweet activity generated during the event can be found at the event website: http://dpassh.dri.ie/