I am of course referring to the Australian Society of Archivist’s national conference titled, Future Proof.
I was not able to tweet at the Conference as there was no free internet, as far as I was aware, and so I did not bring in my netbook. One day I might invest in a mobile plan of some kind. I could have done some jiggy whatsit thingy with my phone and used the 3G internet connect so I could go virtual on my netbook, but 3G is really really expensive. I guess I will have to use ‘old fashioned’ blogging and write a summary of my day’s experiences.
I am not going to go blow for blow on what happened today, rather list some observations and opinions about this Conference. For those of you out there who do not know, this is the Big Conference for people working in the Archival field, particularly those who work in the State and National Archives. It is a Big Deal.
1. The plenary this morning was presented by a crime fiction writer who mostly gushed over how important she thought us archivists were. L.A. Larkin, who I am sure has written a very good book, was also available for book signings during morning tea and lunch. Goodo. I was a bit confused. Yes, she made some points about human intervention and security of digital data, but like most of the sessions I went to today, I had pretty much heard it all before. So what then?
2. Related to my above confusion was that the plenary was followed by a really great presentation and discussion on advocacy for Archivists. As fellow twitterer @ktaines posted today, this session expressed the sentiment that:
Advocacy needs to be embedded in everything we do – not just as an event … but issues are complex #asa2010
So, this brought me back to why we had a crime fiction writer as the opening plenary of our Conference. Was L.A. Larkin representing an archival user group of importance that I had not thought of before? Was her voice a voice of value in the Archival community? Perhaps I thought these thoughts because I cannot see how you cannot NOT be involved in advocacy, in its various forms, as an Archivist. The relationship, as I see it, is intrinsic.
3. The other things I learned in the advocacy session was that my MBTI was a minority in the Archival profession. I am an INTP, leaning heavily towards an ENTP and these are architect/inventors. I find the notion of Guardians as being the primary type for Archivists really interesting and want to look up some more about both Ann Pederson’s research and the type itself.
4. I really liked the presentation on cloud computing and how it was referred to as being similar to leasing a building. When this was said by Nathan Bailey, I immediately had the thought that buildings do not disappear when the owner has run out of money. A leaser of some ’cloudspace’, could, theoretically, disappear overnight without a trace. Regardless, I really liked the idea of a top down approach to managing risk – through responsibilities (to the organisation, to the stakeholders) using the instrument of Policy, rather than being crippled by detailed technical standards. It reminds me that user requirements and consultation are the most imp0rtant planning tool.
5. The other paper in this session was around health records and although I think that issues were glossed over in broad sweeping strokes, there was some very interesting points made about how legislation defines health records and ideas about reporting and consent. I realised that at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, not only were the Aged & Community Care records created would be health records, but potentially, child care records and any administration information about potential clients. I was thinking specifically of any documentation relating to people who come in off the street to reception who are mentally unwell, or have to be handled in a health related way. These would be considered health records.
6. Some of my favourite moments today were when terrorism was called an activity which made me wonder what the transactions were, or the higher function in a hierarchical classification scheme. Another moment came from the speaker from the Attorney General’s office who kept repeating the mantra that the world was changing (through use of technology), to which I kept replying in my brain – well duh. He said, in approximately these exact words: “…where a military world…has soldiers and stuff like that…” He also said something along the lines of: “The internet is dangerous because all the information goes into it and it never goes away. Never. Never. Never.”. Needless to say, I feel that this speaker, whose name I cannot remember, must take the award for the presentation that made the fewest actual points and was the least well understood – in my experience. I am not quite sure what information he was presenting to us.
7. The last session in which the above speaker presented, also contained two presentations by PROV and NAA about privacy. These were very interesting and briefly made me think about studying law after my PhD. Particularly law relating to human rights and freedom of information.
That was it for day 1 for me. I took a photo of my view from the Rydges conference centre looking down on Exhibition St. I love this part of the city. I sat at this window for the welcome to country and morning plenary and ended the day with this view as well.
China Town, I love your dumplings.
It is great to meet new people and mix with the archival crowd at these things. I am looking forward to tomorrow!