Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A Tasty Experiment

Since the establishment of CAIS we have built up a significant network of students, tutors and mentors, all of whom contribute to the success of the courses in archives and records management that we offer. Each of our thirty courses was written and is tutored by a subject expert or experts, the majority of whom are external to the University. Currently, we have two hundred or so registered students (both postgraduate students and people enrolled on courses for their continuing professional development) and every Masters student has a mentor who is an experienced record keeping professional local to them. Finally, we have a network of alumni who have completed their studies.

The size and diversity of the CAIS network means that we have an opportunity to develop some interesting and useful resources. One of things we have begun to develop is a link library of online materials relevant to CAIS’ students. Using a small sub-group of our tutors and the delicious social bookmarking site we have established a process that we think can ultimately create a rich resource. You can see the small number of links we've added so far as we've been refining our ideas at delicious.com/CAIS_Archives.

Clearly this resource won’t just be of use to our students. We’re hoping to develop something that contains links which should be of interest or relevance to any archivist, records manager or other information professional. To that end, we would like to invite contributions from anyone in the record keeping community who uses delicious and is interested in helping build the link library and making it as worthwhile as possible.

All we’re asking is that whenever you save a bookmark on a record keeping or related subject with your own delicious account (which is free) you tag it 'for:CAIS_Archives' (without the inverted commas). That sends the bookmark to our inbox and we can then save it for inclusion in the main list. The reason we've used this approach is so that we can keep a modicum of control over the vocabulary we use for tagging. As the list of links grows the tags will become crucial for discovery. However, we will take into consideration any tags you have already attached to the link.

As far as we’re aware no-one has tried to develop a link library in this way. Although we know of lots of very good online bibliographies, literature reviews and wikis on archival and records management subjects and we’ve seen sites by record keepers that aggregate blog posts, news items and tweets, we’re not aware of anyone who has tried to develop a resource like this by crowd-sourcing bookmarks. We think that there is a lot of potential here and hope that colleagues will support the development of the resource. Obviously, we'd love to get comments and suggestions for how this could evolve or hear from anyone who is involved in a similar project.

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