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Three Layers: investigating the potential of data, records and context

Presenter 1
Michael Jones
University of Melbourne
Presenter 2
Gavin McCarthy
University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne's eScholarship Research Centre is currently working on a number of projects requiring the preparation, submission, preservation and dissemination of multiple types of information. Work on the Saulwick Age-Poll Archive involves paper-based and digital archives, a digital guide to records, micro-data from political polls managed by the Australian Data Archive (ADA), and the proposed development of a context layer to maintain authoritative information on key people, organisations, events and subjects. Similarly, work on important historical social science data collected by Wilfred Prest and the Reverend Robert Richard U'Ren has involved extracting that data from hard-copy archival records for deposit with ADA. Drawing on these examples, we will explore the benefits of treating context, records and data as separate (but interrelated) 'layers', each with their own requirements and limitations. There are challenges involved, particularly when managing boundaries and information flows between each layer. Addressing these through effective collaboration between 'traditional' archives, data archives and contextual information managers is essential to success; and the needs of all three elements need to be considered and balanced to fully realise the potential of historical and current research data and related material.

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