Digital Records Archivist
As Digital Records Archivist, Ben is involved with faculty interviews and can speak to issues on long term preservation. After faculty have done all their research and built up a body of work, he is interested in how to keep it around for other people to use in their research later. As an archivist, he is curious about what technologies faculty members use to create anything that may end up in an archive, as well as what their personal archiving habits are, whether they delete often, whether they are using standard or unusual software, and so on.
Now and Later: Digital Archiving
Sadly, Ben does not see digital archiving playing as much of a role in society as it used to. A lot of people know that they should back up their information but don’t. Additionally, technology changes quickly, making it hard to keep up with. Ultimately, data growth has skyrocketed because technology allows us to create infinitely more. Ben cites photography practices in the past and present as an example. Photographers were more careful and took less pictures in the past because they had larger cameras and film was extremely expensive. They produced less, yet the photos were of higher quality. Now, it is so easy to take digital photos that the quantity people take are much greater, even though the quality is not always very high. Essentially, the amount of stuff people have to manage has grown so much, which makes it overwhelming for many people. Ben is unsure of whether this will change in the future.
Survivor: Technology We Can’t Live Without
Ben uses email heavily for professional reasons and personal reasons. Email helps him to collaborate with other people, to communicate, and to move work between various computers. From an archivist’s perspective, email is curious because people started using it and, in some sense, forgot about cleanliness, as shown by how email inboxes often are disorganized with messages sprawled out all over the place.