As we move forward with the electronic evidence study at CRL, one challenge keeps rising to the surface in all of our conversations, literature reviews, and reviews of internet resources. In a word: Metadata. Collecting metadata and context information seems to be particularly challenging for digitally or electronically created documentation; in response, archivists and preservationists are striving to create simple, use-friendly means of capturing the information that will ensure that preserved documents will serve a long and useful life. Such processes would allow documents to serve as evidence for continued activism, policy work, scholarship, legal action, and even for maintaining national memories of events once crises are past and democratic processes get improved or established (see the recent post onADAM at Amnesty International for an example of one recently developed strategy). After all, as the UN has recently established in its reportRight to Truth, documentation and archives are fundamental to ensuring that all individuals’ human rights are supported and protected.
Given the challenges discussed above, it’s interesting to learn that the next generation of mobile Web devices will have the ability to automatically collect metadata such as geographic location, temporal information, and context for materials generated on them. As stated in “Data-rich Internet Needs Context, New Modes of Consumption and Serendipity:”