Development

Hello World Webinar — details

Next event
Theme: Accessibility
When: Thursday 16th of July, at 10.00 PST, 13.00 ET and 18.00 BST
Where: At this Google Hangouts link 
You don’t need to register, just put this in your calendar!  We’ll send a reminder too. 

On the 5th of June 2020 over 50 people came together to attend the launch of the development of the new DCD online archive.

This is a two-year development program to connect users with the Dance Canada Danse [DCD] archive. This may sound like every other digital archive project you’ve ever heard of, but it’s not. It’s an exciting and innovative program. Read on and discover how the Hello World webinar revealed this…

What is DCD Digital?

Gavin Starks, Director of Dgen, explained how DCD will develop a digital archive focussed on people’s needs. He reflected that ‘We never start with code. We ask what people want first.’ The approach is ‘Less technology, and more focussed on contact.’

Amy Bowring, Executive and Curatorial Director, DCD, added that the DCD archive is the largest collection of dance in Canada, with over 60 other pockets of dance history identified in other institutions. She explained that the aim of the program is to bring this material together, along with personal archives and individual histories. Amy stated that the use-led design of the project means that each stage will be ‘test[ed] iteratively over 18 months’ by you. 

DCD is for you, designed by you. 

What could the future look like? What could be possible?

We discussed what could be possible: what could the future of archives be in the digital world? With no restrictions or restraints, how can we use digital archives? The idea to think ‘digital-first’ was a constant theme. Some of the ideas, thoughts and feedback included:

  • a forum for co-curating and archiving an open archive would be invaluable
  • an open archive would be inclusive. Archives are not neutral. Who decides what goes in?
  • technology allows us to share and collaborate in a way that wasn’t possible even ten years ago
  • the guiding principle is that ‘open’ survives

Questions

Questions from this discussion about what the future could be included:

  • what can we make that everyone else can use and how do we get it out to people?
  • who has the material that should be added to DCD and how do they get it to the DCD?
  • how do we bring together the collections (big and small) of dance material across Canada and how do we make it accessible?

Stories

As a user-led project, DCD thrives on you sharing your experiences with us. We need and want your case studies.

During the Hello World webinar many people shared their experiences of using and creating digital materials with us. One case study described a project which started in the 1990’s and is still on-going. It is an organically created archive. It raises so many interesting points to consider:

  • what to do with the archive? Where should it go to ensure its survival?
  • how to capture and share the on-going work, particularly the living and active conversation
  • who is telling the story? Is the person curating the archive? Is it the voice of one person or many?
  • where to tell the story? Should it be Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp? 

This case study led to the question being raised of how you approach the compatibility of systems. We’re all using different bits of technology, and different hardware and software, sometimes these don’t work well together. This then led to a further discussion around how digital materials should be preserved and around obsolescence. 

Wrap up

The Hello World webinar was an amazing starting point. It was fantastic that so many attended, that everyone spoke and that everybody was so enthusiastic and supportive of the new DCD online archive. 

We want to build this community. With a widespread and large community, the more inclusive, accessible and sustainable DCD will be. Please help us to connect to other people

Sign up 

The Hello World webinar has provided us with so many ideas and thoughts regarding how we move forward. The DCD online archive is at the beginning of its development. We are currently focussed on identifying your needs. What would you like from a digital archive? Think big. Think differently. Think digital-first. 

Q. If you could have anything you wanted from a digital archive what would it be?

We also want your stories. We want to hear your experiences. We want to listen and hear. We want the good, the bad and the ugly. We are looking at the user experience of archives at the moment. We have identified accessibility, searchability of catalogues and databases and gatekeeping as the key topics to explore.

Q. What are your experiences of accessibility, searchability and gatekeeping?

Please send your responses to these questions to lorraine@dgen.net. We’re not asking for an essay. A couple of sentences or a paragraph is fine. 

Join us on Thursday 16th of July, at 10.00 PST, 13.00 ET and 18.00 BST for our on-line discussion of the thorny subject of accessibility. We’d love for you to share your examples of where archives have got accessibility right, as well as your horror stories. As a user-led project, your input is invaluable.

Help us to answer the question ‘What can we make that everyone wants to use?’

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