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Making Your Tools Work for You

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  • Written by Max Eckard

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  • Archivists make use of many different tools and systems in their day-to-day work, all of which cover a wide range of functions in the big, bold (and, of course, sometimes difficult!) archival enterprise: research request and workflow management, archival information management, digital preservation, web archiving, digital repositories, and more. These tools necessarily specialize in one function or another, but none of them do it all, and managing so many resources can become overwhelming. The good news — at least when it comes to technology — is that many systems are designed to connect with one another, and systems integration can support a variety of archival needs, creating efficient workflows from accession to ingest to access.

    Weaving together both theory and reflective practice, Making Your Tools Work for You: Building and Maintaining an Integrated Technical Ecosystem for Digital Archives and Libraries gives an overview of the what, why, and how of systems integration for archives and digital libraries. Using examples from his work at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library as well as others’ work in the field, Max Eckard outlines

    • how to design an integrated technical ecosystem,
    • how to select systems capable of “playing nicely” with others,
    • various integration methodologies to get systems talking to one another,
    • tips for starting a systems integration project, and
    • ways to clean, reconcile, program, and ultimately support data and metadata on the move.

    Whether designing integration from the ground up or taking steps to improve upon current systems, Making Your Tools Work for You is a comprehensive manual that will help readers adapt and apply these ideas to set up archives and digital libraries for success.

    Product Details

    Publisher: Society of American Archivists (2020)
    Paperback: 338 pages
    Product Dimension: 10x7 inches
    Weight: 1.5 pounds
    ISBN: 978-1-945246-44-9

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Praise for Making Your Tools Work for You
  • “[Making Your Tools Work for You] provides insight into how to make decisions on technology when people are not information technologies professionals. Eckard establishes some disclaimers for the audience and states that the technical landscape shifts and changes; much of the guidance to specific tools may be out of date, but the techniques on how to approach tools and systems should remain evergreen.” —Ryan Leimkuehler, Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies

    “Eckard lays out—with encouragement—the mindset and tools that archival and library professionals will need to adopt in order to “teach” their systems to talk to each other, to work more seamlessly. . . . I plan to recommend this book to anyone who is tired of their system(s) being a “black box” to them. Our profession must learn to work more with a “shovel than with tweezers” when it comes to digital archives and library data.” —Lindsey Memory, Journal of Western Archives

    “ [Making Your Tools Work for You] will continue to serve as a resource at my place of work, and I would recommend it to archivists attempting to use technology more effectively and technologists seeking to better serve archivists.” —Rachel I. Howard, Archival Issues