SILS Professor Presents Digital Forensics Workshops in Australia

July 14, 2016
From left, Corin Haines, manager, services to public libraries,
National Library of New Zealand; Lesley Sharp, group manager,
online and ICT services, State Library of South Australia;
Cal Lee, UNC SILS professor; Sarah Slade, head of storage
and digital collection services, State Library Victoria.

From left, Corin Haines, manager, services to public libraries, National Library of New Zealand; Lesley Sharp, group manager, online and ICT services, State Library of South Australia; Cal Lee, UNC SILS professor; Sarah Slade, head of storage and digital collection services, State Library Victoria.

Cal Lee, professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS), traveled to Australia to teach a series of workshops on digital forensics for librarians and archivists from May 30-June 10. The events were hosted by the National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA), State Library of Victoria and State Library of South Australia.

The first stop on Lee’s trip was State Library Victoria, where he presented a three-day digital forensics workshop as part of NSLA’s Digital Skills project. Twenty-seven staff working in collections, preservation and IT at national and state libraries in Australia and New Zealand attended the workshop, which was a mix of theory and hands-on experience using a range of tools within and outside of the BitCurator environment.

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  • develop increased and common understanding of forensic concepts and tools
  • develop increased confidence in each NSLA Library to discuss, plan and implement digital collecting and digital preservation programmes
  • create a cohort of NSLA practitioners and encourage connections, knowledge development and shared problem solving.

Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, with 96% of evaluation survey respondents saying that after the workshop they felt “somewhat” or “very” prepared to begin implementing what they had learned in their own library.

The following week, Lee presented a two-day workshop at the State Library of South Australia enabling 17 library staff to learn about the relevance of digital forensics techniques for keeping digital collections accessible. Colleagues from local universities and the Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities (CAARA) members also participated in the workshop. One of the participants, Daniel Gordon, blogged about the experience. The State Library of South Australia plans to commence implementing much of what was learned in the course and to bring a sharper focus to its digital collecting activities.

Lee then returned to State Library Victoria and presented two one-day workshops to 26 staff from State Library Victoria, Victorian Public Libraries and Public Records Office Victoria. The workshops provided practical hands-on experience with the BitCurator environment and important insights into what can be achieved with digital forensics tools. As with the State Library of South Australia, State Library Victoria plans to develop and implement much of what was learned in the course and to bring a sharper focus to its digital collecting activities.

Story and photos courtesy of NSLA, State Library of Victoria, and State Library of South Australia.