|July 22, 2017||Posted by Stevan under Operations||
The four main workstations that are part of the Assynt Community Digital Archive have done their job since 2011, and remain adequate for what is needed in this role. As with the main archive, part of the reason for this longevity is the use of Free and Open Source software, which is both kind to older hardware and allows us to stay up to date without software costs.
Until recently we have run the long term supported versions of the Ubuntu Linux operating system using the XFCE4 desktop. This has been updated every three years, but eventually, such updates become lengthy exercises, and little configuration irritations creep in.
Now one of the joys of Free and Open Source software is how modular it all is. I have found through experience that the OpenSUSE Linux system upgrades really well and quickly, and while it does not have long term supported version like Ubuntu, nothing would be lost by trying OpenSUSE as an alternative. As before, the XFCE4 desktop would be used, so that, to users, everything would appear to be the same. The exercise in installing OpenSUSE has also allowed us to refresh and check our procedures and security setups. The standard operating procedure for setting up the workstations is less than page long.
We now have bang up-to-date workstations again, and although this runs on ageing hardware, it remains fit for purpose.
|December 16, 2016||Consultancy, Everyday Notes, Operations|
The Assynt Community Digital Archive was set up in 2011 as a long term community initiative. Readers of this site will know that among the founding principles of the Archive was an adherence to metadata standards and the choice of Free and Open Source software on which to run the Archive. Among the reasons for this, which have been proven over the years, is that Free Software finds no advantage in attempting to lock users […] show more
|March 1, 2016||Consultancy, Education|
As in many rural communities, place names in Assynt mean a lot more than merely words on maps. They indicate what is and was important to everyday life, and very often give a glimpse of how much more the land was used in times gone by. Alastair Moffat notes in one of his books that the landscape, in the form of place names, doesn’t forget, and when we start tapping into this source of history, […] show more
|November 2, 2015||Consultancy, Interesting|
It was a very welcome invitation from Lucy Conway of the Island of Eigg History Society, Commun Eachdraidh Eige, to visit to assist the group there to develop plans for a community digital archive. Late October weather and ferry crossings do not always make ideal partners, and in this case, the Loch Nevis, the usual ferry was out of operation. The easiest way from Assynt to Eigg is via Skye, meaning two ferry trips, from […] show more
|March 8, 2015||Consultancy|
The True North conference took place at Timespan in Helmsdale on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th March 2015. The conference title was a good way of reflecting the eclectic nature of the presentations, from technologists through to sound artists, geo-political visionaries to genealogists and many points in between. I had a five minute slot into which I managed to cram one or two practical issues which are the real experience of running digital archives, especially […] show more
|February 18, 2015||Consultancy, Technical Comment|
January 2015 saw a major update to the tiny little raspberry Pi single board computer, which I have previously written about here. The Pi now has four times the number of “cores” on the same chip, and four times the amount of memory of the original, and is roughly six times as powerful. Yet it is the same astonishing price, just £25. This puts the Pi well into the frame for establishing a community digital […] show more
|December 3, 2014||Consultancy, Education|
The Wildflower Europe project has recently produced a e-publication (http://wildflowereurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Community-historic-archives.pdf ) based on the research and practical experiences in setting up a community history digital archive in a small rural community in Scotland, and on ethnobotanical pilot work in botanical rich areas of South East Europe. Wildflower Europe’s aims were to share experiences and to promote the feasibility of developing small scale archives at community level. In addition they were investigating the use of archiving […] show more
|November 25, 2014||Technical Comment|
Omeka is interesting digital archiving software in that it combines the storage requirement with interpretive and presentational capabilities. This can be a two-edged sword, but for some requirements, Omeka is attractive. Omeka is also Free Software and is published under the General Public Licence. It is much simpler to install than, say, DSpace, in that it is written in PHP, which most servers support easily and which is well understood for ease of use. And […] show more
|July 7, 2014||Consultancy, Principles, Technical Comment|
One of the constant themes you will find on this web site is the concept of taking a long view regarding running a digital archive. This truism is sometimes in conflict with the world in which it operates, the technological and digital world, which is driven by constant expectations of “upgrades”, “features”, “faster” and other implications of improvement. In the consumer digital world, we are used to the short life spans of technology, but in […] show more
|May 10, 2014||Interesting, Operations, Principles|
The Assynt Field Club, as reported here, set up a project to begin the process of archiving digitally a huge set of physical collections of sighting records and other information they have accumulated over many years. Key to these collections is the work of two local residents, Pat and Ian Evans. Through the North Highland Initiative, funds were made available to employ an archivist to carry out a pilot project. The pilot seeks to establish […] show more
|April 2, 2014||Consultancy, Operations, Principles|
If you have read something of the history of the Assynt Community Digital Archive on this site or elsewhere, you will know that the Archive was set up as part of the project that brought the old Fishermen’s Mission building into community ownership as a bunkhouse and café in 2009, opening in 2011. The Assynt Community Association, a long-standing umbrella body for various Assynt initiatives, took the lead in this, and the building is owned […] show more