St. Kitts joins CARBICA counterparts in discussing WEBPORTAL

Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 14, 2011 (SKNIS): When a select group of the Caribbean Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (CARBICA) met in Curaçao August 22 to 27, the Federation committed itself to contribute to a Caribbean region wide web portal.

Mrs. Victoria Borg-O’Flaherty informed the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service that the CARBICA Meeting was called in order to fine-tune aspects of the Memory of the Islands: Gateway for Archival Networking (MIGAN) which is the directory for Caribbean Archival Institutions. MIGAN takes the form of a webportal that gives access to the archival resources of the Caribbean. Upon its full completion, it will connect all Caribbean archival institutions in a common data base, and give access to digital archival contents and full descriptions of archival arrangements and collections kept throughout the Caribbean.

The National Archivist revealed that select-committee members decided to give the portal a unified look by applying the standards of International Council on Archives (ICA). This involves the use of ICA AtoM (Access to Memory), a web-based archival description software that is based on ICA standards. As an open source software it is free and enhanced through archival contributions. It was developed by Artefactual of Canada and Jessica Bushey of the company, conducted a workshop on the use of the software. According to Mrs. O’Flaherty, ICA AtoM will be a very useful tool to St. Kitts-Nevis. Considering that the software itself is free, actual costs will involve the purchase of the computer hardware required to operate it.

A MIGAN steering committee meeting followed the workshop and participants discussed progress made thus far pertaining to the web portal, the need for training in digitization, the type of records that would be best showcased on the portal, and the setting of specific targets to be achieved by the next meeting. Archivist O’Flaherty committed St. Kitts to an in-kind contribution which would involve identifying, describing, digitizing and uploading records in the Federation’s collection to the web portal.

The activities of August 26 saw participants attending the opening of the National Archives of Curaçao. Housed in a historic building, fondly known as The Wedding Cake, the Curaçao Archives was renovated and a significant modern addition was erected at the rear. The addition is air-conditioned, and is a building within a building, designed to give the records maximum protection from the external environment. Its shelving is mobile to maximize space.

The week-long session was attended by archivists from Martinique, Bermuda, Surinam, Trinidad and Tobago, Curacao, Haiti and UWI Barbados and sponsored by INTERREG. MIGAN is the brainchild of Dominique Taffin, Archivist of Martinique.

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