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Reflections on the second Unlocking our Digital Past workshop, 16 September 2021

The Unlocking our Digital Past project is seeking to understand the implications of using AI on digital archival material from multiple perspectives. We had explored some of the potential uses of artificial intelligence (AI) for digital archives in the first Unlocking our Digital Past workshop on 19 July.  This second workshop aimed to pinpoint some of the technologies that could be used to support specific tasks. The focus of the first session was on selection, appraisal and review processes. The focus of the second session was the future of access to digital archives.    Two major themes seemedContinue reading “Reflections on the second Unlocking our Digital Past workshop, 16 September 2021”

Nicki Welch – Towards a future access service for digital records at The National Archives – Unlocking our Digital Past

Nicki Welch (Service Owner – Access to Digital Records at The National Archives) spoke at our second Unlocking our Digital Past workshop on 16 September 2021. Nicki’s talk focused on setting out the vision for a digital access service for the owners of digital records. Nicki’s talk rounded off the workshop with a look to the future. Their presentation can be watched below:

Chris Day – ‘Computing Cholera’: Topic Modelling catalogue entries for the correspondence of the General Board of Health (1848-1871) – Unlocking our Digital Past

Chris Day (Head of Modern Domestic Records at The National Archives) spoke at the second Unlocking our Digital Past project. Chris’ talk focused on the use of cataloguing data to undertake topic modelling using a latent Dirichlet allocation model. Chris’ abstract read as: “The correspondence of the General Board of Health (1848-1871) documents the work of a body set up to deal with cholera epidemics in a period where some English homes were so filthy as to be described asContinue reading “Chris Day – ‘Computing Cholera’: Topic Modelling catalogue entries for the correspondence of the General Board of Health (1848-1871) – Unlocking our Digital Past”

John Sheridan – Archives in the midst of an AI revolution – Unlocking our Digital Past

John Sheridan (Digital Director at The National Archives) spoke at the second Unlocking our Digital Past workshop on 16 September 2021. John’s talk focused on three points of interest for archives and AI: i) what kinds of insights can be derived from AI approaches, ii) how should AI be deployed, and iii) how to select and preserve the AI tools we are using. John’s abstract read as: “Digital archives hold important evidence. With the advance of machine learning techniques, theContinue reading “John Sheridan – Archives in the midst of an AI revolution – Unlocking our Digital Past”

Leontien Talboom – Accessing the Intangible – Unlocking our Digital Past

Leontien Talboom (Collaborative Doctoral Student with University College London and The National Archives) spoke at the second Unlocking our Digital Past workshop on 16 September 2021. Leontien’s talk focused on the nature of the digital environment and how that impacts on how people can and expect to access digital archives. Leontien’s abstract read as: “This talk will outline the initial theoretical framework from a collaborative doctoral project which focusses on the constraints that digital preservation practitioners face when making born-digitalContinue reading “Leontien Talboom – Accessing the Intangible – Unlocking our Digital Past”

Dr Andrew Dixon – Digital Sensitivity Review at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – Unlocking our Digital Past

Andrew Dixon (Managing Director of SVGC) spoke at the second Unlocking our Digital Past workshop. Andrew’s presentation focused on the work that had been done to implement AI tools in digital sensitivity review processes with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The abstract for Andrew’s talk read as: “This case study session looks at the implementation of AI tools in the digital sensitivity review process at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The process started in 2018 and isContinue reading “Dr Andrew Dixon – Digital Sensitivity Review at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – Unlocking our Digital Past”

Leslie Johnston – Achieving the promise of AI with modest approaches to Machine Learning – Unlocking our Digital Past

Leslie Johnston (Director of Digital Preservation at the US National Archives and Records Administration) spoke at the second Unlocking our Digital Past workshop on 16 September 2021. Leslie’s talk focused on incremental approaches to AI and highlighting the machine learning tools we already use without considering them as ML. The abstract for Leslie’s talk read as: “The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has recently been looking at how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning might be applied to bothContinue reading “Leslie Johnston – Achieving the promise of AI with modest approaches to Machine Learning – Unlocking our Digital Past”

Professor Richard Marciano – Automating the review of personally identifiable information (PII) in Japanese-American WWII incarceration camp records – Unlocking our Digital Past workshop

Richard Marciano (Professor at the University of Maryland iSchool) spoke at the second Unlocking our Digital Past workshop on 16 September 2021. Richard’s talk explored the tools available for automating the review of personally identifiable information and wider computational thinking practices. The abstract for Richard’s talk read: “A description of computational treatments of archival collections involving World War II Japanese-American Incarceration Camps. With a focus on automating the review of personally identifiable information or PII and how this approach isContinue reading “Professor Richard Marciano – Automating the review of personally identifiable information (PII) in Japanese-American WWII incarceration camp records – Unlocking our Digital Past workshop”

Professor Cal Lee – Incorporating Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning into Selection and Appraisal workflows – Unlocking our Digital Past workshop

Cal Lee (Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) spoke at the second Unlocking our Digital Past workshop on 16 September 2021. Cal’s talk focused on the ways in which Natural Language Processing and other Machine Learning tools can be incorporated into archival appraisal and selection workflows. The abstract for Cal’s talk read as: “One can encounter digital materials at numerous levels of representation, ranging from raw bitstreams read fromContinue reading “Professor Cal Lee – Incorporating Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning into Selection and Appraisal workflows – Unlocking our Digital Past workshop”

Reflections on the Unlocking our Digital Past workshop, 19 July 2021.

What are the potential uses of artificial intelligence (AI) in helping to archive our digital past? That was the guiding question to our workshop that took place online on 19 July 2021. The workshop was organised as part of the Unlocking our Digital Past project which is a collaboration between Loughborough University and the Cabinet Office. The project is funded by the Enterprise Projects Group at Loughborough University. The overall aim of the project is to better understand how AIContinue reading “Reflections on the Unlocking our Digital Past workshop, 19 July 2021.”

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