DIGADI2015We are pleased to announce a one-day conference on 1 Dec 2015, to be held in Pretoria/Johannesburg at which we plan to bring together experts and practitioners in a range of disciplines including records management, archives, libraries, museums, natural history, cultural history, galleries, oral history, built heritage, archaeology, and all related disciplines.

Digitisation is of increasing concern to all of the heritage and memory disciplines, and when more knowledge and experience is shared then institutions can better adapt themselves to the shift to digital. If your institution is not adapting then it will become more difficult to access and will become less relevant over time. You will be left behind, as institutions compete to provide knowledge and information to meet the appetite of the new digital-savvy generation of users. We have identified that major constraints to successful adaptation are the lack of knowledge, skills, budget and facilities.

This conference is organised by The ETHER Initiative, in association with De Vaal & De Vaal who have run conferences on bringing together the disciplines over the past few years.

We have been motivated to host this conference based on our experience of attending conferences in the individual disciplines, which all focus heavily on digitisation as a thematic area, but which appear to be working in isolation from the other disciplines. In particular, we have experienced very little cross-pollination of delegates between these disciplines with most attending their own disciplines only and being unaware of work taking place in other disciplines. When an institution is required to determine where they are in their progress on digitisation, they may compare themselves to their peers in their own disciplines, but much value can be gained from understanding how they are positioned across the disciplines, and how learnings in one discipline can be transferred to others.

Our motivation is also to accelerate the development of and access to digital resources which are relevant to the local population of learners, researchers, and organisations. These resources will help to improve competitiveness of South Africa when measured against benchmark countries, since it is evident that those countries who are investing heavily into digital resources are more able to develop people, small businesses, and markets.

During 2009-11 we, together with our associates, were commissioned to develop the National Policy on Digitisation for the Department of Arts & Culture. Our focus was on exploring digitisation as a generic and shared discipline which supports the goals of other disciplines. We used an analytical model which we had developed to examine the scope and life-cycle of digitisation, largely on a discipline-neutral basis. Our model demonstrated the complexity of the digitisation process and that much is common between the individual disciplines.

Arising from our prior work we have selected a range of themes which we see as central to successful digitisation practices, and we are seeking speakers who can contribute to the dialogue and discourse, including best practices, successes, and failures, and can help to point the way forward to others. These papers should ideally illustrate the multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary nature of the theory and practice of digitisation, and how experiences and practices from one discipline can be shared and can benefit other disciplines. The themes we propose are the following, but we will entertain papers on any innovative and important topics:

  • Common Practices in Digitisation: what is the potential to share.
  • Digitisation Strategies:  how to create strategies that are fit for purpose
  • Repository management: trust, sustainability and sharing
  • Metadata and standards: documentation, discovery, and access
  • Local Best Practice and Case Studies
  • Copyright : the administration of digital rights and the Copyright Amendment Bill
  • Bulk Capture
  • Secondary Education: the potential of digitisation to transform our educational system
  • Born-Digital: the challenge of digital inputs
  • Government vs Institutions vs Private Practice: how do the players fit into the emerging system
  • Regulation: how should digitisation be regulated?

We are structured this as a one-day conference and we are seeking a few key papers which meet one or more of these themes and which are cross-disciplinary in nature. Each paper is planned to accommodate 30 minutes, of which 12 minutes is devoted to Q&A sessions, and thus papers which stimulate discussions are significant.

It is planned that the entire conference will be captured in images, audio and video, and these digital records, together with the papers and CVs, will be made available as a digital repository for the benefit of the delegates. Given the nature of this conference, all access to the materials will be digital in nature, accessible from tablets, phones, or laptops during the conference.

It is a policy to not include commercially-based papers, but rather to consider applications for sponsorship or exhibition stands to meet these needs.

The papers to be presented should include the following (max two pages):

  • author names and brief CVs
  • title
  • theme/s
  • keywords
  • abstract
  • audience for this paper
  • why this paper is important and how it meets the conference objectives

A selection committee will decide on the right mix of the papers to maximise the benefit to the intended audience. All speakers will be required to participate in pre-conference support workshops, which may be conducted digitally, to ensure that all of the papers and the presentation meet the highest international standards.

Please note the following important dates:

  • Aug 7 : First Call for Papers
  • Aug 19 : Second Call for Papers
  • Aug 31 : Deadline for Submission of Abstracts
  • Sep 15 : Selection of Papers
  • Sep 30 : Final Programme and Opening of Bookings
  • Oct 31 : Close of Early-Bird Bookings
  • mid-Nov : Speaker Briefing and Submission of Final Papers
  • Nov 30 : Arrival of Delegates and pre-conference ice-breaker
  • Dec 1 : DIGADI 2015 Conference

Should you have any questions concerning this please contact Roger Layton on roger.layton@ether.co.za.

We look forward to your participation in the DIGADI 2015 : The First National Conference on Digitisation Across the Disciplines.