One of the more interesting sessions I attended at the SOA Conference was the talk by Viv Cothey regarding “Digital Curation at the Gloucestershire Archives”. He noted that while many conceptual frameworks and large research projects are developing methods for digital curation, there is a real lack of tools that facilitate archival workflows in local government archives and other repositories that are not a ‘big player’. In addition, most of the tools that out there need extensive training or have a steep learning curve.
Viv described the GAip software that he and his colleages developed. Basically, the GAip (Gloucestershire Archives ingest packager) software automatically creates a OAI Submission Information Packet (SIP) in something similar to the BagIt format. Viv also described thier work, which is sponsored by the Welsh government’s CyMaL, to intergrate a SWORD deposit client into the GAip, so that the BagIt record and the files it represents can be deposited in any SWORD-compliant repoistory, such as a D-Space or Fedora implementation, at the click of a button.
This seems like truly exciting work that should inform practice in many other projects. One of the things that impressed me most about the project is that they seem to be matching it to the expressed needs and existing workflows in the repository, so that they can deal with relatively simple deposits of electronic records, such as a set of digital photographs of group of word processed documents that a donor might be supplying on a CD. Typically, these would be described as an aggregate in the AIP/BagIt records, then deposited to the Library (much like an archives might describe a folder or box of correspondence or photos in the aggregate). While the software may or may not be able to deal with more complex objects, such as datasets and downloaded websites, in my own personal experience, having a tool to deal with the relatively more simple objects would, in itself, be a huge step forward.
At this time, there appears to be little information about GAip on the web, however, I hope to contact Viv and take a look at the software as part of my project. So, stay tuned.