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Get Hands-On: Improving Descriptive Practices for Born-Digital Material in an Archival Context

  • November 03, 2017
  • 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
  • UCLA Charles E. Young Library, West Classroom, 2nd Floor
  • 0


  • For student registration, please submit proof of enrollment to Katie Richardson at kjrichardson@cpp.edu

Registration is closed

Get Hands-On: Improving Descriptive Practices for Born-Digital Material in an Archival Context

Friday, November 3, 2017, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The University of California, Los Angeles

Charles E. Young Library 
West Classroom 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Purpose of the workshop:

This workshop is designed to (1) give attendees a better understanding of the ways in which current descriptive standards (and therefore, practice) fail to adequately meet the unique challenges that born-digital material often presents, (2) provide attendees with a thorough overview of the UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description, and (3) through a series of hands-on exercises and instruction, equip participants with the skills necessary to improve their institution’s current descriptive practices for born-digital material. Attendees will leave  with the knowledge and resources necessary to confidently update their processing manuals so that the born-digital material is in their collections—even if unprocessed—is  more discoverable.


Shira Peltzman is the Digital Archivist for the UCLA Library where she leads the development of a sustainable preservation program for born-digital archival material. Shira received her M.A. in Moving Image Archiving and Preservation from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and was a member of the inaugural cohort of the National Digital Stewardship Residency in New York (NDSR-NY). In addition to the “UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description”, She has contributed to a number of collaborative projects and research initiatives over the past several years including the “Archivist’s Guide to KryoFlux”, developing a skills profile for digital stewards, and a tiered framework designed to enable the processing of born-digital materials at increasing levels of granularity. 

Annalise Berdini is UCSD Geisel Library’s Digital Archivist and is responsible for the processing, preservation, and access of all born-digital collections, as well as management of the library’s web archives collections. She has worked at UCSD since 2014, where she started out as a Manuscripts/Archives Processor. Previously, she worked as Project Assistant and Processor on the 2013/2014 iteration of the PACSCL/CLIR Hidden Collections Project. She has an MLIS from Drexel University with concentrations in Archives and Digital Libraries.

Workshop description:

Currently there’s no descriptive standard that adequately addresses born-digital archival material, and institutional practices for creating finding aids vary substantially: different fields are used to express similar information; disparate units of measure are used to indicate size and extent; wording is frequently vague or misleading; there is little-to-no universal agreement on minimum levels of description. The lack of clarity and consensus in this area has resulted in a proliferation of finding aids that fail to appropriately express the quality, quantity, and usability of digital material. This both diminishes accessibility and ensures that each organization must ‘re-invent the wheel’ when it comes to describing this content.

To improve the clarity and usefulness of finding aids and to promote consistency across campuses, digital archivists from throughout the UC system have collaborated to develop UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description, which is currently undergoing final approval and is slated to be made publicly available by Fall 2017. Developed by the digital archivists at UC Berkeley, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, the UC Guidelines address and provide examples of born-digital description in each section of a standard finding aid. The Guidelines also include a controlled vocabulary for source media and links and crosswalks to DACS, EAD, EAD3, and MARC. In addition to walking attendees through the guidelines, the instructors will translate these this UC-wide descriptive standard into practice through a series of hands-on exercises designed to equip participants with the skills necessary to create more accurate, transparent, and consistent description of both processed and unprocessed born-digital material.

Who should attend:

This workshop is for anyone who is currently working or who anticipates working with born-digital material. The session will have broad applicability, and is designed to accommodate participants who have minimal experience with processing digital material as well as those who have been working with born-digital materials for some time.

 Attendees will learn how to:

  • Identify and describe unique characteristics and technical dependencies for born-digital material
  • Create accurate, transparent finding aids that adequately represent the extent and access requirements of born-digital material
  • Through hands-on exercises, improve the accuracy of legacy and existing finding aids
  • Implement portions of the descriptive practices outlined in the UC Guidelines for Born-Digital Archival Description at their respective institutions

The workshop will be limited to 24 participants so please register ASAP to secure your spot. Parking at UCLA is $12 a day. Parking Structure 5 is the closest parking structure to Charles E. Young Library. Various campus maps, including parking maps, can be found here: http://www.ucla.edu/maps-directions-parking/.

Registration open until October 20th

The Walter P. Gray III Education Endowment Fund Scholarship offers funds up to $500 for registration and travel to SCA workshops. Submit an application form, including a proposed budget to Julie Graham (jgraham@library.ucla.edu) by October 20, 2017. Application forms and additional information are available here.

  • Questions about your membership? Contact Christy Horton
  • Questions about Registration? Contact Katie Richardson
  • Problems with your credit card payment? Need to request a refund involving credit card or PayPal? Contact Kate Tasker.
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