The University of Maryland’s iSchool has secured gifts to endow the Michael J. Kurtz Professorship in Archives and Digital Curation, and plans to establish the Bruce Ambacher Archives and Digital Curation Fellowship. The Ambacher Fellowship will support a graduate student pursuing studies in the field. Both Kurtz and Ambacher were longtime staffers at the National Archives and Records Administration as well as UMD faculty members. Kurtz, a nearly thirty-year member of SAA and author of the management volume in SAA’s Archival Fundamentals Series II, served as NARA’s assistant archivist for the Office of Records Services and as acting director of the National Declassification Center. Ambacher was among the first generation of digital archivists working at NARA on such projects as updating the FBI’s records Schedule and evaluating CIA records. He is a Fellow of SAA and has written extensively on records management and electronic records. The growing requirements of government agencies, private industry, and public organizations to manage, preserve, and access ever increasing amounts of digital information led the iSchool to establish in fall 2015 a combined Archives and Digital Curation specialization. There are four subject areas in the specialization—archives and special collections, digital curation and preservation, records management, and data management. The iSchool also offers an online Post-Master's Certificate in the Curation and Management of Digital Assets. To strengthen these initiatives, the iSchool established the Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC) in March 2015 with Professor Richard Marciano as director. The DCIC has a research and educational mission and undertakes interdisciplinary projects that integrate archival research data, user-contributed data, and technology to explore issues of concern to contemporary society and to study historical events with a fresh perspective. One of the DCIC’s core cyberinfrastructure projects is “Brown Dog,” a $10.5 million NSF/DIBBs-funded collaboration with the University of Illinois NCSA Supercomputer Center and industry partners (NetApp and Archive Analytics Solutions). This project will help accelerate the development of digital curation algorithms and services by creating a data observatory to provide access to Big Records training sets and teach students practical digital curation skills. Other novel infrastructure to support student hands-on learning at Maryland’s iSchool includes: • Curatelap, a group learning collaborative design space • Datacave, a pet-scale archival storage analytics facility, powered by NetApp storage and commercial Cassandra-based Indigo software for long-term archival storage and preservation, • Virtualfarm, a virtual machine farm at the ischool for local research data processing and storage, and • VclCloud, an Amazon cloud iSchool dashboard-enabled virtual computing lab for creating Windows/Ubuntu instances using Amazon Web Services (AWS). The gifts to endow the Kurtz professorship and the Ambacher Fellowship will assist the iSchool in sustaining these innovative educational and research endeavors.
Published by Society of American Archivists. View All Articles.