Information projects and programmes

Another small lapse in my blogging! It seems I’ve been too relaxed over the summer months, and now the new term is upon us! I thought I’d break the silence with some interesting links which I’ve been exploring over the last few weeks.

As I’ve mentioned before, information studies was a completely new area for me before I started out on my masters course. To help me familiarise myself with the area, and to prepare for when I graduate, I’ve been having a look at what’s going on in the sector at the moment. Here are some projects, programmes, pieces of legislation etc. which are gaining interest from all over the world.

Saving endangered archives, one page at a time. (Photo by ALA TechSource)
Saving endangered archives, one page at a time. (Photo by ALA TechSource)

The Endangered Archives Project
A project by the British Library which provides funding for preservation of archival material of pre-modern eras from all over the world. It’s particularly aimed at those archives which are in danger of destruction, either through natural deterioration, environmental disasters or human conflict. The interactive map of current projects being funded is a great way to find out more about obscure materials being saved at the moment. It also shows that digitisation, as well as preservation, can be an effective way of ensuring access to these fragile sources of information.

The Lyon Declaration
At its most basic level, this is simply a commitment to universal access to information, endorsed by a wide range of organisations. Philosophically, it’s an acknowledgement that sustainable development and democratic societies are built on easy access to good quality information. It’s especially interesting to have a look at the signatories and to get a feel of the different bodies which are interested in this area.

The ARIADNE Project (Advanced Research Infrastructure for Archaeological Dataset Networking in Europe)
Similar to a previous project called SENESCHAL, completed in 2014, which attempted to combine and consolidate several cultural heritage vocabularies and make them available as linked open data (LOD). You can see some of the results over at the Heritage Data blog. This was very interesting, as it highlighted an important element to consider when talking about LOD, which is that for it to be really meaningful and useful the links must be very good quality. I found a talk about this project on the UK website of the International Society for Knowledge Organisation (ISKO), which is well worth a look if you’re interested in this area.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP)
A project similar to Wikipedia, but with a seemingly more rigorous editing policy and a more semantic structure. This is particularly interesting to me at the moment because, as this article discusses, it highlights some of the problems of curating, organising and disseminating a vast mix of information. These are the kinds of things I’ll be thinking about for my Networking module which I’ve just started. Three key principles of good quality information – that it be authoritative, comprehensive and up-to-date – are also joined by the fourth pillar, which is that it must be findable and linked in a useful or human-readable way. The abstract and specialist nature of much of the SEP’s content provides the perfect testing ground for construction of a useful and accurate network of information, and I’ll definitely be having a further look at this interesting project.

So that’s some of the information projects and programmes which have filtered through to me over the summer. Time to get stuck back in to semester two of the course!



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