research design laboratory

Archives for Academic Projects

One of the requests we get the most often at Archinodes is to build "archives", and this, for a wide range of academic projects. While "archives" is something of a buzz word these days, we understand the propensity toward creating repositories that allow for storage and facilitate the sharing of its contents (assets). Perhaps the most radical shift in the archival impetus has been toward access: without rendering materials available for perusal, research is limited.

At its most utopic, the archive online can serve as a large store of information, in which video, audio, text and image files, are linked together and organized to specify particular relationships between assets. Users can participate in the creation of the archive, not only in terms of access but often through user-generated content creation, open tagging (folksonomies), and by appropriating and remixing content as a form of review or criticism. The online archive can also be layered: it can be open and run collectively, or layers of access can be determined through roles and permissions.

It is still early--perhaps too early--to tell what true potential online archives hold for academics, but we are certainly witnessing a serious backing of this utopic vision and as such, we are working towards offering a variety of models to accomodate different ends goals.

Questions we might ask are: who will access your archive? Is there sensitive or private materials that should not be made public? Should some sections of your archive be for internal use only? Do you want to offer different formats, or varying quality versions of the same content, for different purposes? Will you assign a Creative Commons license to your assets? How will the archive grow? What types of content will you want featured and what is the relationship between your content? What are your main organisational sections? How will people search/discover your assets? What kind of metadata should accompany your assets? How will people be using your assets? Will the archive be shaped by user activity? How will your data be visualized? What are your overall long term preservation strategies? Is there a material counterpart to your archive? If so, what will be the relationship to such material artefacts?