University Records and Archives team awarded £20,000 grant for digital preservation of archival records project

21 August 2017

The University Records and Archives (URA) team, who manages the University’s current and historic records, has been awarded a £20,000 grant by Jisc as part of a project to advance research data management. 

Jisc is a membership organisation which provides digital solutions for UK education and research. The grant awarded to the University Records and Archives team comes as part of one of their 26 current Research and Data (R&D) projects, worth £29.6m of investment in total.

The Research Data Shared Service project, which the University Records and Archives team will be contributing to, will produce a pilot service enabling researchers to easily deposit data for publication, discovery, safe storage, long-term archiving and preservation.

The University of Westminster is currently investing in the long-term preservation of its digitised and born-digital archival records. These are records that have been identified as having enduring value to the University, and are or will be part of the University archive.

Over the last five years, the University has seen a marked increase in the general volume of digital records being created, used and collaborated on by staff and there has been a corresponding increase in the volume and type of digital records transferred to the Archive. This poses a number of interesting challenges that the University Records and Archives team will be investigating with Jisc’s support.

For instance, as only a percentage of the records that the University creates need to be kept indefinitely, or for a longer period of time, there needs to be an appropriate method for the review and selection of these records. URA will investigate how appraisal and selection theory can be applied in practice to digital records, contributing to the development of Jisc tools in this area.  

Additionally, they will be looking at automating the way new records are passed over to the team, to develop a less manual process that requires less resources. Supporting this, they will be investigating the potential of future integrations with other systems used by the University, such as Microsoft SharePoint and iBase Trinity.

Speaking about the Jisc grant, Rebecca Short, Senior Records Manager, said: “University Records and Archives is very excited to be a recipient of the grant. This will enable us to develop some key areas of our digital preservation work, in collaboration with the wider community. We also hope to provide some valuable contributions to the development of the Jisc Research Data Shared Service.”

Learn more about Archive services at the University of Westminster.

Cover image left to right: Rebecca Short, Senior Records Manager; Claire Brunnen, Archivist; Elaine Penn, Head of University Records and Archives; Anna McNally, Senior Archivist

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