Social Networks and Archival Context OpenRefine Plugin; Archival Collections in the Digital Age

Gould, Sandra, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Ibrahim, Ahmed, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

How can access to collections be improved? Libraries, archives, and similar institutions hold documents and other items for public use. However, many people in the general public dosn’t know just how much they have available to them, or how to access it.
Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) is a database that helps researchers and archivists access archival material about historical persons. To populate the database, archivists must use SNAC’s website interface, a slow and laborious task. To speed the process, the research team sought to develop a standalone plugin in OpenRefine, an open-source codebase written in Java, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. A successful plugin may reduce data transfer time for hundreds of entries from hours to minutes. Upon completion of the project, the research team successfully created a stable plugin that allows its users to import external data, match it to existing data in SNAC, and push to SNAC. Future work on this project includes making the extension more user-friendly for its mostly non-technical user base and optimizing the plugin’s performance, such as with machine learning or using cloud technologies.
How are library systems promoting the use of their collections and archival data? Libraries and archival institutions are investing in digital resources and are encouraging the public both on and offline to visit. They have digitized collections, provided ebooks, enhanced their online presence through social media and their own websites, provided internet access in their libraries, and renovated to include more collaborative and technology spaces. Besides the libraries and archives themselves, the American Library Association (ALA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) have all been leading the trend.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Library, Archive, Collections, Digital Age

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Ahmed Ibrahim
STS Advisor: Peter Norton
Technical Team Members: Charles Chang, Mark Jeong, John Perez, Victor Shen, Peter Tran, Grace Wu, Jessica Xu

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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