Wendy Hagenmaier And Michelle Kirk 2015-07-29 11:04:21
Act I: The Dramatic Opening Imagine you’ve been given a USB drive that was found at the scene of a murder. It’s believed to contain a personal digital archive filled with clues about the crime and the identity of the victim. What’s in the archive? And who created it? And so begins “Find the Person in the Personal Digital Archive: Murder Mystery Edition!”, the centerpiece of a new open access personal digital archiving workshop curriculum designed by the Society of Georgia Archivists (SGA), the Atlanta Chapter of ARMA International, and the Georgia Library Association (GLA), which information professionals can reuse and remix to teach workshops in their workplaces and communities. Act II: The Backstory Intended for participants from any background and experience level, the workshop empowers attendees to see themselves as archivists of their own digital records. It covers topics ranging from best practices for creating digital records and rights issues in the digital landscape to strategies for active preservation and the digital afterlife. The workshop is about personal digital archiving, but, at its core, it’s an outreach and advocacy tool: The overarching goal is to advocate for information professionals as essential sources of expertise in assisting individuals (the public, family, students, colleagues, etc.) with their personal archiving needs. How did this idea come about? How does the hands-on mystery activity work? How might you adapt the workshop for use in your own workplace or community? Read on to uncover the clues . . . Act III: The Sleuth’s Journey Dun dun dun! It’s a dark and stormy night in January 2014. As outreach and advocacy manager for SGA, Wendy Hagenmaier ponders ideas for a themed campaign that would bring SGA members together, offer opportunities for uniting with like-minded organizations, and provide a natural way to connect with users of archives. Time to sleuth! She looks for clues: archivists, allied info professionals, and the public are all grappling with digital records questions. The solution? SGA’s outreach and advocacy campaign theme will be “Everyday Digital Archives.” Archivists and nonarchivists alike create, use, and preserve digital records in their daily lives, so why can’t digital stewardship feel more “everyday”—more friendly, more doable? Hagenmaier and Assistant Outreach Manager Cathy Miller plan activities focused on demystifying digital stewardship and using personal digital archives as a way to connect with the public about the importance of archives. Programming includes Q&A blog posts with digital archivists, social media outreach, and SGA Annual Meeting discussion sessions used to gather data about digital stewardship challenges Georgia archivists face and the support they need from SGA and the profession. The heart of the campaign is a reusable workshop to be created, facilitated, and promoted collaboratively with other organizations of information professionals. Hagenmaier reaches out and finds partners in crime: Michelle Kirk, eRecords and information governance program manager at Iron Mountain Incorporated, representing ARMA Atlanta, and Oscar Gittemeier, youth services librarian at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, East Atlanta Branch, representing the Georgia Library Association. With our complementary perspectives combined, we are unstoppable. Together, we create our weapons: the Creative Commons–licensed workshop materials. They include: • A forty-five-minute presentation that combines the insights of records managers, librarians, and archivists on topics such as: • What is a record? • Best practices for creating personal digital records • Hardware and software ecosystems in which personal digital records are created and stored • Ownership and copyright • Privacy and security • Active, ongoing preservation • And best practices for the digital afterlife • An extensive additional resources handout • Instructions with discussion questions, for both instructors and participants • Materials for the interactive activity So, where does all the mystery come in? Act IV: The Plot Twist Dun dun dun! Meanwhile, back on that dark and stormy night of planning in 2014, Hagenmaier needs a way to make personal digital archiving interactive and fun. She looks for clues: themes of digital forensics, privacy, spy culture, data ownership, surveillance, citizen archiving, and data security swirl around and color her view, both in her work and in current events. Somehow these themes overlap with personal digital archiving in an exciting way. Outside, the clouds grow darker and lightning flashes as the storm rages on, creating a feeling of ominous mystery. Ah hah! That’s just it! The solution: a “Find the Person in the Personal Digital Archive” activity that uses embedded murder mystery intrigue to entice participants to contemplate preservation pitfalls! Here’s the scheme: Hagenmaier manufactures a fake personal digital archive of a murder victim (think Sherlock or Murder, She Wrote), embedding clues in the archive that will inspire participants to piece together not only a mystery narrative but also an inventory of preservation best (and worst) practices. In a playful meta twist, the identity of the victim and the narrative itself will reflect themes of data security, surveillance, hacking, and sleuthing. The plot takes shape: ransomware + the personal digital cloud = a mysterious international plot called Ransomcloud! She gathers photos, videos, documents, databases, and obsolete file formats, all licensed for reuse, from Open Preserve’s Format Corpus, Wikipedia, and Flickr, and creates a fake Google account for the victim, including emails, documents, and maps and downloads copies of this data. She encrypts and password protects pieces of the archive and messes with creation dates and file properties. She invents file names ugly and inconsistent enough to make archivists shudder. Then she saves copies of the archive on USB drives. There are answers in the archive, but some of the story remains open ended, a reflection of the mysteries still surrounding the topic of personal digital archiving and how we will steward our digital legacies into the future. This is how the plot will unfold: After the presentation portion of the workshop, attendees will divide into small groups, and facilitators will distribute the USB drives and instructions. Participants will attempt to analyze the archive and, in so doing, uncover clues about the murder mystery. The instructions will ask them to inventory the files, identify organization methods (or lack thereof), think about files that might be important to preserve, look for sensitive information and preservation problems, and consider how they would manage the files for better long-term stewardship. The instructions will also invite participants to guess the identity of the creator-victim and the murder mystery intrigue embedded in the archive. After sleuthing, participants will discuss the activity and their own personal archiving experiences. So, what happens in the end? Act V: The Happy Ending . . . And the Sequel After much planning and sleuthing, our team organized a series of workshop events for our communities. We facilitated an in-person train-the-trainer version of the workshop at the Georgia State Archives, attended by seventy archivists, librarians, records managers, digital asset managers, genealogists, and students from across the state, and GLA provided continuing education credit for participants. We offered a webinar version of the workshop via GLA (with 390 registrations from around the world), taught a condensed version of the workshop at Atlanta Public Library System Staff Development Day (with about fifty attendees), and hosted a version of the presentation for Genealogy Day at the Georgia Archives (with another fifty attendees). And we designed an incentive for reuse and further outreach: SGA offered a prize grant for the first individuals to facilitate the workshop. The winners were Derek Mosley and Christine Wiseman of the Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library. Here’s a snapshot of survey feedback from the seventy in-person workshop participants: • A majority of participants indicated that they planned to offer the workshop in their workplaces and communities. • Suggested venues for the workshop were: public libraries, retirement centers, genealogy groups, academic libraries, community centers, online graduate courses, family reunions, offices, places of worship, and historical societies. A majority of participants mentioned the murder mystery activity as a highlight of the workshop. They reported that the activity “makes it seem authentic and helps me think through the issues” and was “very hands on and real.” Participants offered these suggestions for improving the workshop and tailoring it to specific communities: • Break into smaller groups for the activity • Include more recommendations about specific tools and metadata practices • Include information about digitization The workshop materials could be adapted to incorporate all of that feedback, and they could also be extended and expanded. A few ideas: • Facilitators could partner with additional organizations or groups to teach the workshop (law librarians, scholarly communication departments, artist collectives, high school teachers, student organizations, etc.). • Instead of using fake archives, participants could examine samples of their own digital materials and develop game plans for preserving them. • Facilitators could create additional fake archives, with different characters or record types, designed to appeal to diverse audiences. For example, a workshop for young students might include more social media records (how about disappearing Snapchats?); one for artists might incorporate mysterious glitch art; a mystery narrative for corporate employees might weave in something about e-discovery; a genealogist spin might ask participants to uncover the identity of a mysterious relative, etc. • Facilitators could create a whole narrative mystery game, in which each small group would investigate a character and collaborate to share clues and discover how the characters interconnected in a web of archival mystery. To download the workshop materials and adapt them for use in your own community, visit the SGA website: http://bit.ly /pdaworkshop. Happy sleuthing!
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