Workshop 2 – 4th of May 2023

Our Workshop 2 will take place on the 4th of May of 2023 in London both in person, at The White Chapel building in East London, and online. The workshop will continue our discussions on AI applied to born-digital archives, particularly government archives.

Details about registration and the full program of speakers will be published soon. 

AI AI and Archives AI Ethics born-digital archives Dark archives email archives Open Data recordkeeping Records Management search interface transparency UX

LUSTRE Workshop 2: AI and Born-Digital Archives in the Government Sector and Beyond: Challenges and Opportunities

May 4 @ 10:00 am 3:30 pm

Abstract particle mesh

We are pleased to invite you to the second workshop organised by the AHRC-funded project Unlocking our Digital Past with Artificial Intelligence (LUSTRE) led by Dr Lise Jaillant (Loughborough University). LUSTRE seeks to better understand how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help improve the preservation, access to and usability of government archives produced in digital form.

Our Workshop 2 will take place on the 4th of May 2023 in London (The White Chapel building) and will be streamed online. The workshop will continue our discussions on AI applied to born-digital archives, particularly government archives.

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To register for the online event click here
To register for the in-person event click here

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Find below the programme and click on the talk’s title to access the abstract and the speaker’s bio 

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10:00 – 10:30 _Welcome and Refreshments (for in-person participants only)

10:30 – 11:00 _Talk: Artificial Intelligence in the Public Sector: Separating Myth from Reality, speaker: Dr Keegan McBride (Oxford Internet Institute).

11:00 – 11:30 _Talk: The impact of AI on records management,  speaker: James Lappin (Loughborough University).

11:30-12:00 _Coffee Break.

12:00 – 12:30 _Talk: AI and Archives from a Researcher’s Viewpoint, speaker: Dr Lise Jaillant (Loughborough University).

12:30– 13:30 _Lunch Break.

13:30 – 14:00 _Talk: Title TBA, speaker: John Sheridan (The National Archives).

14:00 – 14:30 _Talk (online): Is NARA Ready Yet? The Newly Extended 2024 Start Date for Accessioning Records into the US National Archives Only in Electronic and Digital Formats, and What That Means, speaker: Professor Jason Baron (University of Maryland).

14:30 – 15:00 _Coffee Break.

15:00 – 15:30_Roundtable and concluding remarks.


May 4
10:00 am – 3:30 pm
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Workshop 1. AI and born-digital archives: Challenges and opportunities

Thursday 26 January 2023

Through a series of talks and a round table, this day long workshop delved into the challenges and opportunities that AI offers to the management and use of digital born archives.

The workshop was an hybrid event (in London and online).

Invited speakers included Professor Stephanie Decker and Dr Adam Nix from the University of Birmingham; Dr Jenny Bunn from The National Archives and University College London; and Dr Tony Russell-Rose from Goldsmiths University.


Finding light in dark archives: Using AI to connect context and content in email.

Professor Stephanie Decker and Dr Adam Nix (University of Birmingham).

The practice of digital archival discovery is still emerging, and the approaches future research will take when using digital sources remain unclear. Archival practice has been shaped by paper-based, pre-digital sources and guides assumptions around how researchers will access and make use of such collections. Paradoxically, dealing with the increasing relevance of born-digital records is not helped by the fact that many born-digital collections remain dark, in part while questions of how they should be effectively made available are answered. Our research takes a user perspective on discovery within born-digital archives and seeks to promote more meaningful access to born-digital archives for researchers. In doing so, our work deals with the implications that unfamiliar archival technologies (including artificial intelligence) have on disciplinary traditions in the humanities and social science, with a specific focus on historical and qualitative approaches.

Our work in this area currently focuses on the issue of context within organisational email, and the challenges of searching and interpreting large bodies of email data. We are particularly interested in how effective machine-assisted search and multiple pathways for discovery can be used to open contextually opaque collections. Such access is likely to leverage a collection’s structural and content characteristics, as well as targeted archival selection and categorisation. We ultimately suggest that by combining relatively open user-led interfaces with pre-selective material, digital archives can provide environments suited to both the translation of existing research practices and the integration of more novel opportunities for discovery. Our presentation will summarise our progress in this area and reflect on the technical and methodological questions our work here has raised.

Putting principle into practice: Transparency, recordkeeping and AI.

Dr Jenny Bunn (The National Archives and University College London).

At the level of principle it is difficult to argue against the inherent good-ness of ideals such as transparency, accountability and fairness, but they have never been easy to put into practice. The increasingly advanced assistance technologies, generally placed under the label of AI, can now offer us further complicate this picture; offering as they do new possibilities for us to distance ourselves from both the consequences of our decisions and the very making of them. Recordkeeping has long acted to bridge this distance and this presentation will consider the new forms it may need to take to continue to ensure that accounts are rendered and explanations offered in the enduring spirit of transparency.

Searching, fast and slow: rethinking the query builder paradigm.

Dr Tony Russell-Rose (Reader in Computer Science, Goldsmiths University).

Knowledge workers such as information professionals, legal researchers and librarians need to create and execute search strategies that are comprehensive, transparent, and reproducible. The traditional solution is to use command-line query builders offered by proprietary database vendors. However, these are based on a paradigm that dates from the days when databases could be accessed only via text-based terminals and command-line syntax. In this talk, we explore alternative approaches based on a visual paradigm in which users express concepts as objects on an interactive canvas. This offers a more intuitive UX that eliminates error, makes the query semantics more transparent, and offers new ways to collaborate and share best practices.

Ethics for AI and Government Records

Roundtable with Dr Lise Jaillant, Dr Adam Nix, Prof. Stephanie Decker and Dr Jenny Bunn

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Lunchtime talk 1 with Giovanni Colavizza: Towards AI-supported records management

Wednesday 7th of December 2022

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly necessary in support of records management decisions. The scale, rapidity and complexity required in modern records management operations all contribute to make AI increasingly relevant to practitioners. This talk will start by reviewing recent contributions at the intersection of records management and AI, as well as highlight the many challenges still lying ahead of us. Preliminary considerations on the preconditions and requirements of using AI in support of records management will be proposed for discussion. These will be grounded in concrete examples and in an appreciation of the limits and potential of modern-day AI technology. 

Giovanni Colavizza is Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at UvA, visiting researcher at The Alan Turing Institute and at the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), Leiden University.

He did his PhD at the Digital Humanities Laboratory of the EPFL in Lausanne, working on methods for text mining and citation analysis of scholarly publications, and is co-founder of Odoma, a start-up offering customised machine learning techniques in the cultural heritage domain. Giovanni was also a Co-investigator on the Living with Machines project and convenes the AI for Arts interest group at the Turing.

Prior to joining the UvA, Giovanni has been part of the Research Engineering Group of The Alan Turing Institute, and a researcher at Leiden University (CWTS), the Leibniz Institute of European History in Mainz, and the University of Oxford. He studied computer science (BSc) and history (BA, MA) in Udine, Milan, Padua and Venice in Italy.

AI AI and Archives AI Ethics born-digital archives Dark archives email archives Open Data recordkeeping Records Management search interface transparency UX