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INF 392K Problems in the Permanent Retention of Electronic Records - Assignments, Spring 2010
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Class participation (15% of grade): Students will be expected to read assigned readings and come to class prepared to discuss them. We depend absolutely upon your preparation, alertness, and contribution to class discussion in order to move the class forward. Assigned readings and the sequence of lectures will be directed at supporting the process of repository building in the project, and discussion in the class will be a vital part of progress on it. For lab classes, students will be expected to attend and participate actively.

Reading precis (15% of grade): Students will be required to write and turn in one-paragraph critical summaries of certain key readings during the course of the semester.

Semester project (40% of grade): The project for this spring, as for the past five years, will be to gain experience of digital archiving by working on real projects using the School of Information's digital repository (https://pacer.ischool.utexas.edu) and, this year for the first time, the UT Digital Repository ( http://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/). This means that we will be working with several groups of actual materials to deposit in the repository and figuring out not only how to capture them in the first place, how to structure their new home, and how to get them in, but how to preserve them over time. For each project there will be a "client" with whom you will work closely. This person will serve you as a guide and will expect you to meet the needs of his/her repository, but you will be expected to devise and suggest solutions to archiving problems as they are encountered.

1) Setup of Professor Bill Lukenbill digital archive. Professor Lukenbill will be your contact but PhD student Sarah Kim, who is specializing in personal records, can assist..

2) Accretion to Professor Donald Davis digital archive. Sarah Kim, who has worked with Professor Davis in the construction of his archive, will be the contact.

3) Accretions to iSchool tutorials collection. Carlos Ovalle, PhD student and iSchool IT team member, will be the contact.

4-5 ) Briscoe Center for American History Videogame Archive: This year we will continue working on materials from the Center for American History's Videogame Archive with Zach Vowell, Archivist for the Archive and a former student of our program. These materials will include two collections from George Sanger, AKA The Fatman, director of the most well-known team of creators of music and sound for video games, including a large batch of Sanger's email and the completion of work on ADAT materials that were inventoried last year (now that CAH has Sanger's ADAT machine to permit playback). Both of these collections will be mounted on the UT Digital Repository, but initial work on the ADAT project will be carried out on the iSchool repository, pacer.

6) CAH 1988 Campaign Interviews collection. Zach Vowell will also be contact for this project. This project will also be mounted on the UT Digital Repository.

7) Alexander Architectural Archive, George F. Andrews Architectural Databank for the Lowland Maya Area. Or at least we think that's what is represented by the digital collection in hand. Our contact here is initially Kate Pierce, current iSchool PhD student and former student in the School of Architecture.

Each project will be carried out by a team of three or four students, and each project will have different problems to solve. Once the projects get up and running, each team will be expected to be prepared to report briefly on progress at each class meeting, bringing up at least one problem (solved or unsolved) for class discussion (team members should share out this responsibility). At the end of the project, student teams will turn in two documents: A) documentation of the collection that has been created in the repository and the preservation tasks that should be attached to that collection going forward, including all work papers used in the process of collection processing; and B) a report on the team project as a whole, an identifiable segment of which will be written by each student.

At the end of the semester each team will be expected to give a formal presentation on their project in class (note that formal means formal: your report to the creator or custodian of the collection you are working with, who will hopefully be able to attend the final presentation) and will be sure that the client is fully aware of where to find everything. Between the time of the penultimate and last class, we are committed to presenting three of the class projects at the meeting of the Society of Southwest Archivists' meeting in Santa Fe. Travel funding (not lavish but not sleeping bags) is available for a student from each selected project to attend and present at this conference, which by the way is a hotbed of potential jobs in the region.

Grading of individual students' work for the project will be on the basis of the documentation of the project deposited in DSpace (A above), the student's portion of the team report and the quality of the team report overall (B above), the instructor's observations of students' efforts, the overall success of the project, and students' evaluations of their own and each others' contributions to the project.

Individual task journal (30% of grade): Each project team member will have a specific role to play, but project teams will be expected to meet early on and decide how to share out the tasks to be done in completing the project. Each student will be expected to keep a journal of project tasks as performed by him/her and to draw on it and relevant research that the student will do into the issues surrounding that task (notes for which should be included in the journal) to write a part of the team's final project report (see B above). Note: Before spring break each student will turn in a copy of this task journal for review and input from the instructor, and at the end of the class the complete journal will be turned in.

Extra credit (no telling how much): For three years now Digital Preservation Europe, with the sponsorship of Xerox Corporation, has issued a Digital Preservation Challenge. Last year's challenge was announced at http://www.digitalpreservationeurope.eu/challenge/challenge3/ The three scenarios of the challenge are fully within the capabilities of more than a few of the students who will successfully complete this class, and this year I hope that at least one class member (but preferably several) will be interested in submitting an entry. There are prizes and if we have a winner I will engage to send her/him to the October 2009 iPres conference where the winner is announced, but anyone submitting an entry that I judge to be competitive will be eligible for extra credit.