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Abstracts

Future Proof II. Munich, 20-22 April 2005

Introduction to the conference
Peter Harper
Director, NCUACS, Bath
 
This introductory paper considers the role of two of the organisations sponsoring the meeting: the Co-operation on the Archives of Science in Europe (CASE) group and the Commission on Bibliography and Documentation of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science Division of History of Science (IUHPS DHS).  It outlines the thinking behind the present conference and its relation to the Edinburgh Future Proof meeting and possible future meetings.
 

Documenting the Work of Physicists in Industrial Laboratories.
Joe Anderson
American Institute of Physics
 
The Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics, is currently conducting a Study to Document the History of Physicists in Industry, a particularly tough area for conventional documentation methods.  Project staff have interviewed more than 70 corporate physicists, R&D managers, and information professionals at nine leading industrial laboratories in the United
States so far and are visiting major American and European archives that preserve industrial records.  The findings of the study will provide concrete guidelines for identifying and preserving historically valuable R&D records.
 

A joint digital university archives.  Swedish collaborative project on digital preservation of digital scientific data
Renata Arovelius
Swedish Agricultural Sciences University, Uppsala
Eli Hjorth Reksten
Linköping University, Sweden
 
Digital preservation of scientific data is a problem for many universities and research institutions. Fourteen Swedish universities are involved and share costs for a joint project in aim to establish a joint digital university archive for scientific research. The project consists of two main groups: the national steering group made up of representatives from 6 universities and the institutional project group from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The institutional group comprises nine scientists, two ICT staff, two librarians and the university archivist as a project leader. The project will use and test about six different scientific databases and focus on both bit and functional preservation in accordance to the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model and DSpace environment as a technical solution for the test.  This paper will deal with the background of the joint project, main problems and outcome so far.
 

 
How can the Center for History of Science play a role in the formation of a (national) collection strategy for scientific archives?
Maria Asp Romefors and Anne Miche de Malleray
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm
 
The paper provides an introduction to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and its research institution the Center for History of Science, and discusses how this particular institution historically may have played a role in the formation of a collection strategy for scientific archives in Sweden. The Center’s own collection strategies are discussed, as well as its relation to other Swedish institutions preserving scientific archives. In particular the question is raised if the Academy as a non-governmental, prestigious and unbound organisation may have a special role to play in this context. This, perhaps, in spite of the laws governing handling of documents belonging to official bodies, where much of scientific research in Sweden is done.
 

German Science in London: August Wilhelm von Hofman and the Royal College of Chemistry.
Anne Barrett
College Archivist & Corporate Records Manager, Imperial College London
 
Using material from Imperial College Archives, the work of the Royal College of Chemistry and the influences of Hofmann the first Director, will be discussed in the context of 19th century science teaching.
 
 
Archiving SLD Records in SRB: The Persistent Archives Test-bed (PAT) Project at SLAC in 2004.
Jean Deken
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
 
Report on the first year of SLAC's participation in the collaboration to test the US National Archives' and Records Administration (NARA) prototype persistent archives' ability to perform the functions of accessioning, arrangement, description, preservation and access on the electronic records of the SLD (SLAC Large Detector) collaboration using the Storage Resource Broker (SRB) developed by the San Diego SuperComputer Center (SDSC).
 
 
Aufbau des Archivs zur Geschichte der Kernenergie in der Schweiz (ARK) – Ein Modellprojekt für die Archivierung naturwissenschaftlicher Bestände?  (The setting-up of the Archives of the History of Nuclear Energy in Switzerland (ARK) –  A model project for the archiving of historical scientific records/holdings?)
Angela Gastl
Archive und Nachlässe / ETH-Bibliothek Zürich
 
Von 1999 bis 2002 lief am Institut für Geschichte der ETH Zürich ein Forschungsprojekt zur Geschichte der zivilen Nutzung der Kernenergie in der Schweiz («Nuclear Energy and Society»). Im Rahmen dieser Forschungstätigkeiten wurde eine grosse Menge von Quellen bearbeitet, die der historischen Forschung bislang nicht zugänglich waren. Gleichzeitig musste festgestellt werden, dass die Erhaltung und Zugänglichkeit dieses wissenschaftlich äusserst wertvollen Materials über die Dauer des Forschungsprojekts hinaus nicht gewährleistet war. Daraus ergab sich die Zielsetzung, ein «Archiv zur Geschichte der Kernenergie in der Schweiz» aufzubauen.
 
Das ARK umfasst heute Archivalien, die aus den Beständen von Firmen, Forschungs- und Bunde¬sinstitutionen sowie von Privatpersonen zusammengetragen werden konnten. Im Rahmen des Archivaufbaus wurden die Materialien bewertet, geordnet und elektronisch verzeichnet. Sie stammen aus den Jahren 1941 bis 1998 und beanspruchen im erschlossenen Zustand 214 Laufmeter Platz. Dem interessierten Publikum sind sie über Findbücher auf Papier sowie über die elektronische „Archivdatenbank online“ des Archivs der ETH Zürich zugänglich. Im Lesesaal der Spezialsammlungen der ETH-Bibliothek können die Archivbestände vor Ort eingesehen werden.
 
Im Rückblick erweist sich dieses Archivprojekt als Erfolgsbeispiel für die dauerhafte Archivierung und Erschliessung ursprünglich breit gestreuter Teilbestände, die erst in ihrer Gesamtheit eine solide Basis für Forschungsarbeiten bilden können. Diese Ausgangssituation ist im Zusammenhang mit naturwissenschaftlichen Archivbeständen weit verbreitet. Welche Lehren können aus diesem Beispiel für ähnliche Projekte gezogen werden, und inwiefern kann das ARK-Projekt generell als Modellprojekt für die Archivierung naturwissenschaftlicher Bestände genutzt werden?
 
 
From 1999 until 2002, the Institute of History of the ETH Zurich ran a research project for the history of the civilian use of nuclear energy in Switzerland ("Nuclear Energy and Society"). In the course of the research a large quantity of historical sources was examined, which had not been accessible to historical research before the launch of the project. At the same time it became obvious that the preservation and accessibility of these scientifically extremely valuable materials were not ensured beyond the duration of the research project. These facts led to the objective to build up an "Archive of the History of the Nuclear Energy in Switzerland".
 
Today, the ARK holds records that originate from business companies, research or federal institutes as well as personal papers from individuals that were involved at the time. During the process of setting up the ARK the records were evaluated, arranged and registered electronically. They cover the years 1941 to 1998 and add up to 214 linear meters. The files may be searched online in the archival database (http://www.ethbib.ethz.ch/eth-archiv/dachs.html) or in the finding aids in the reading room of the Special Collections.
 
In the review, this project proves a successful example for the durable archiving and development of originally broadly strewn records, which can only form a solid foundation for research work as a whole. In case of historic scientific records above setting often occurs. Which lesson can therefore be drawn for similar projects, and in what respect can the ARK project generally be of use as a model project for the archiving of historic scientific records?
 
 
Digital Manuscripts: capturing scientific information and the historical moment by adapting existing scientific techniques.
Jeremy Leighton John
Department of Manuscripts, Directorate of Scholarship & Collections, British Library
 
This talk briefly discusses the concept of digital manuscripts, compares these with conventional manuscripts, and highlights possible implications for archival work today and in the future. An archival life cycle is outlined for ‘born digital’ unpublished writings, data and workings on computer media, incorporating a tripartite approach to capturing, retaining and presenting the information for curators and researchers. In particular three forms of access to personal digital files are advocated: (i) initial access with a pragmatic but certified digital examination tool, (ii) style-retaining high-fidelity access with restoration and emulation of obsolete legacy hardware and software, and (iii) archival access with digital facsimiles, metadata and machine knowledge. Thoughts on cataloguing and description will be briefly mentioned. Much of the talk is devoted to indicating how some techniques and technologies can be usefully borrowed and modified from existing scientific disciplines: computer forensic science, ancestral computing and emulation, and bioinformatics and evolutionary science. In this wide-ranging, sometimes complex and often inherently urgent activity, diverse cooperative alliances are likely to be essential – cooperation with other archivists and their institutions, university and institutional researchers, and amateur and professional experts.
 
 
Acquisition of personal papers in the Archives for the History of the Max Planck Gesellschaft
Marion Kazemi
MPG, Berlin
 
The Archives for the History of the Max Planck Society document the scientific work of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society / Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, a German non-profit organization with - today - 78 research facilities for basic research in natural sciences and the humanities. The Archives keep not only the records from the Administrative Headquarters, but also from the institutes and research units. They focus primarily on preserving the papers of outstanding personalities who were once active in the KWS/MPS, especially of the Scientific Members. Since the Archives started work in 1976 they have collected the papers of more than 200 scientists. It will be shown why the Archives try to save these papers and what kind of efforts are made to acquire them.
 
 
Distributed Collecting? Strategies for archive networking in Germany.
Michael Klein
Leibniz-Gemeinschaft, Bonn
 
In Germany, national collections are nearly not practicable because of the cultural sovereignty of the federal states. Nevertheless, the topics of many particular collections are of national, i.e. nationwide, interest. In this situation, it is to show that ‘distributed collecting’ is not only a makeshift but a new strategy for archives: Building networks of archives with different purposes and focuses within a common collecting policy. The Leibniz Association (Leibniz-Gemeinschaft), as a nationwide network of scientific institutes, archives and researching museums, is an example for this new strategy. Diversity and variety are not a deficit but a strength in the process of developing an integrated modular system of nationally relevant collections.
 
 
French provincial observatories and their scientific archives. 
Françoise Le Guet Tully,
Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Nice, France 
Jean Davoigneau
Direction de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine,Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Paris, France
 
Unlike the Paris-Meudon observatory, provincial observatories do not have a specialised staff for keeping and safe-guarding their historical archives.  In the mid 1990s we launched a national inventory of the astronomical heritage.  An indirect consequence of this has been to focus interest on archival material which documents the instruments, the buildings and other items. As a result, in most of the inventoried astronomical sites initiatives have been taken in order to try and set up real archival policies. We shall describe the different attempts, assess the results achieved until now and discuss the future of these scientific archives.
 
 
All is Digital: Scientists’ records in a connected information universe.
Gavan McCarthy
Director, Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, University of Melbourne
 
The archiving of the records of scientists from the mid twentieth century onwards has generally proved to be problematic and this is usually associated with the introduction of new information technologies, in particular, digital technologies. Hans Christian von Baeyer, in Information: the new language of science (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, London 2003), argues convincingly that all information, at its most fundamental, is digital. In other words, all information can be reduced to a sequence of 0s and 1s. For those of us grounded in the physicality of records, there is an embedded challenge in this assertion that should cause us to think more deeply about the work we do and how we approach the archival problems of the digital world. Paper-based materials have essential qualities that have evolved over centuries to make them particularly useful for humans. These sit in stark contrast to the coded, abstract, machine-dependent electronic materials that now form the dominant means of communication in the developed world. How do we reconcile these differences? If we conceive of all information as being digital does this help us envision a future where this reconciliation might take place? Although the associated challenges of long term preservation and access have been a key focus of archival discourse for some time, it appears that the scientists are less concerned by these issues. For the scientists, working day-to-day and meshed in the context of their laboratory, their workgroup, their organisation, their disciplinary colleagues, their collaborators, their particular funding framework, their political environment and their personal circumstances, these new technologies seem to be working just fine. Why? Because each scientist builds a corpus of implicit contextual knowledge that they use to make sense of the world in which they live. In the paper world enough of this contextual information was captured (by chance) to enable archivists to do their job. However, in the electronic world it is this knowledge that tends to be lost. What can be done to ensure that this critical contextual information is somehow captured? In a connected information universe, where all is digital, it is possible to conceive of ways this might be achieved. Recent scientific studies of open complex networks have shown that they have surprising and useful properties that could be employed by archivists to help them meet their long term objectives.
 
 
Pour un observatoire de l’archivage des materiaux de terrain des ethnologues
Marie-Domique Mouton
Universite de Paris X
 
On constate depuis quelques années l’engouement grandissant des ethnologues pour leurs archives et en particulier pour les matériaux recueillis ou constitués sur le terrain. Jusque là considérés comme des éléments essentiels à l’histoire de la discipline, ces documents s’envisagent maintenant comme des ensembles constitués, composés de données primaires, disponibles pour de nouvelles études. Or, élaborer le projet de ré analyser, pour sa propre recherche, les matériaux de terrain rassemblés par un autre ethnologue, est une démarche certainement plus novatrice mais qui suscite également plus d’interrogations. Elargissant la réflexion, on peut se demander quelles conséquences pourrait avoir la systématisation de ces opérations d’archivage, pour les ethnologues, pour ceux qu’ils ont observés, pour la pratique de la discipline elle-même.
 
A ce stade, seule la mise en oeuvre d’expériences concrètes pouvait nous aider à progresser dans la réflexion autour de ces questions. C’est ainsi qu’à été conçu le projet d’un Observatoire de l’archivage des matériaux de terrain des ethnologues.
 
Dans ce cadre, seront menées parallèlement huit expériences, organisées autour de deux axes : le premier Archiver les matériaux de terrain : pourquoi et comment?  portera sur la collecte des données, la constitution de corpus, les problèmes méthodologiques, juridiques et éthiques rencontrés lors du traitement et de la valorisation des archives ; le deuxième Re-visiter des terrains archivés permettra de tester comment et avec quel résultat une équipe nouvelle parviendra à appuyer un travail de terrain sur un fonds d’archives anciennement constitué (à Grazalema en Andalousie, sur les traces de Julian Pitt-Rivers; dans les Baronnies de Bigorre à partir des notes de terrain de Georges Augustins; à Madagascar pour une revisite des archives de la Norvegian Missionary Society).
 
Un site Web [réalisé à la MMSH (Aix-en-Provence), sous la direction de Jean-Christophe Peyssard] dédié à cet observatoire assurera la visibilité du projet. Sur ce site seront publiés les résultats de chaque expérience. Plusieurs ateliers virtuels seront organisés, ils permettront d’approfondir la réflexion sur des questions connexes : quels critères appliquer dans la sélection des fonds, le choix des documents à éliminer, à conserver, à numériser? Quelles méthodologies mettre en oeuvre pour indexer les documents et contextualiser les fonds? Comment développer l’accès aux données en faisant respecter les droits des observés, en garantissant, aux déposants, le respect de leurs droits d’auteur?
 
Sur tous ces points, on s’attachera à recueillir les réactions et les réflexions de chercheurs de diverses disciplines, de professionnels de la documentations et des archives, issus tant des pays occidentaux que des régions du monde concernées par la collectes des matériaux de terrains.
 
A cette occasion enfin, on tentera de mettre en place une base de données européenne [réalisée à la MISHA (Strasbourg) par Catherine Douvier] des fonds d’archives des ethnologues.
 
 
Anthropologists seem to be more and more interested in their own archives or, I would rather say, in their predecessor's archives. Between all the documents collected and kept, anthropological records or field materials are perceived as particularly precious because they can be used not only for writing anthropological history but also for doing new anthropological researches. That is why anthropological archives repositories may become tomorrow new places for doing fieldwork. From now we can ask ourselves to know what will be the consequences on former observers and observed and on anthropology itself
 
The project: "Archiving field notes: Towards an observatory of practices" has been worked on the debates leaded during workshops and informal meetings about all that topics.
 
The purpose is to re-use former field notes during new research program. We hope to involve in that project all the archivists and the anthropologists concerned with these problems by the way of an interactive website. On this web side we will organize online meetings and give access to a databases of anthropological records kept in different European institutions.
 
 
The preservation of research data in the Netherlands. Archival law and digital archives
Menno Polak
University of Amsterdam
 
Academic research results in publications that are based on evidence of collected data (or objects). Obviously, not all the raw or processed data find their way into the publication. For several reasons however the preservation and access of these data is important.  The issue of how to preserve them came up in the course of the University of Amsterdam's Archive Project, that is intended to recover the university's archives since 1877 and to transfer them to a public repository, as is prescribed by law.  On 29 November 2004 a conference was held in Amsterdam that addressed the issues involved. A report of that  conference will be presented.
 
 
Initiatives in the archives of science and technology in Taiwan
Timothy E. Powell
NCUACS, Bath
 
This paper presents a personal overview of initiatives being taken in the acquisition, preservation and provision of access to archives of science and technology in Taiwan.  Taiwan’s prosperity has depended largely on its industrial and technological strengths but as the country has had to adapt to meet competition in these areas, its economy is rapidly changing.  Without a longstanding archival tradition (its Archives Law only coming into force in 2002) or a strong heritage lobby as exists in many western countries, the Taiwanese National Archives Administration and archivists and curators in other institutions are looking to preserve a physical record of this recent past before it disappears.  As a new country (not yet sixty years old) comes to terms with how to best document its heritage, it is instructive to see how the issues surrounding archives of science and technology are being addressed.  I shall highlight some of the difficulties facing Taiwanese archivists and some of the ways in which starting from the beginning has encouraged an imaginative approach.
 
 
Spain’s new Scientific Archives Service: building on the Catalan Servei d’Arxius de Ciència’
Jordi Sequero
CEHIC, UAB. Barcelona
 
The three year pilot programme to launch the Servei d’Arxius de Ciència was completed in 2004 with clear progress: the systematic search for personal and institutional collections was well on its way, and the results about to be implemented in a renewed web site; and, on the other hand, two significant personal collections, that of Esteve Terradas and Professor Albert Dou, were almost completely catalogued.
 
We will report about recent progress and, above all, about the extension of the Servei to the whole of Spain as a new Servicio de Archivos de Ciencia, thanks to a grant from the Spanish Ministery of Education and Science. This will allow us to hire a full time archivist, improve the web, travel to a numbers of repositories, etc. We will also extend the systematic search for collections along the same lines of the existing Servei.
 
So far, emphasis has been placed on gathering information about existing collections, in the hope this will help us convince Spanish scientists that their papers may be relevant and should be kept.
 
 
History of physics and physics archives of Strasbourg University (1945-Present)
Sebastien Soubiran
Strasbourg
 
The University Louis Pasteur of Strasbourg entered a program for the preservation of the records and the development of historical researches on physics in Strasbourg since 1945. This study focused mainly on paper archives but included also instruments and all kind of materials related to the activity of physicists in the University of Strasbourg after the Second Word War. This initiative is certainly unique in France where no dedicated centralized structure exists to collect scientific archives. The National archives office, though aware of the specificity of this kind of archives, didn’t put in place a long term policy for the benefit of this kind of materials. Over all, few universities care about the preservation of their archives and only three of them have a record department.
 
To begin with, six physics laboratories or institutes have been chosen: the Institute of Physics, the astronomical Observatory, the Charles Sadron Institute (research on macromolecules), the Institute of Subatomic Research, Institute of Physics and Chemistry (magnetic and optical properties of materials), and Laboratory for complex fluids dynamics. Those six departments represent most of research in physics pursued at the University and its heritage.
 
As well as creating access to historical records of modern physics via the web and other media, this program aims to set a records management plan of physics laboratory attached to the university and have finding aid of the various papers in order to initiate various researches on the history of physics in Strasbourg after 1945. This program received the 2005 Grants from the Friends of the Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics.
 
After a brief presentation of the program and the first results obtained so far, I will focus my paper on two major issues. Firstly, I will try to explain why such initiative has been possible in a French university given the difficulties described previously. Secondly, I intend to put our program in a European perspective and compare it with other major actions involved with the preservation of physics archives linked to research program in history of twentieth century physics.
 
Double Helix: The Munich Way of Research in the History of Science and Technology
Helmuth Trischler
Deutsches Museum, Munich
 
The paper will firstly present the “Munich way” of linking the Deutsches Museum with the Munich universities with the aim to run an international center of excellence in the field of history of science and technology. It will secondly provide an overview on the research agenda of the Deutsches Museum which closely connects the main research activities with its core functions of collecting, exhibiting and educating. It will thirdly discuss the key role of the archives of the Deutsches Museum for its research program.




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