The Future of Access to Digital Records: A User’s Perspective

27th June 13:50 – 14:10

Speaker: Dr Lise Jaillant

Abstract: Keeping users in mind should be a priority for record creators and archivists. And yet, too often, digital records are inaccessible to researchers and other users due to data protection, copyright and other issues. Artificial Intelligence can contribute to unlocking archives, for example by identifying sensitive records and making non-sensitive records more accessible. AI can also automatically create metadata when metadata is missing or incomplete.

In this talk, I will outline practical recommendations for government professionals (as record creators) and archivists to make their records more user-friendly. The talk draws on a series of interviews we conducted as part of the LUSTRE project and the earlier pilot project “Unlocking our Digital Past.” It also builds on my experience of leading four AHRC-funded projects on AI applied to digital records. A central argument is that technology is not enough to foster greater access to digital records. Greater trust in human users is also essential to unlock inaccessible archives.

Bio: Dr Lise Jaillant is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Digital Cultural Heritage at Loughborough University.

Lise has a background in publishing history and digital humanities. She is an expert on born-digital archives and the issues of preservation and access to these archives. Since 2020, she has been UK PI for four AHRC-funded projects on Archives and Artificial Intelligence. These international projects aim to make digitised and born-digital archives more accessible to researchers, and to use innovative research methods such as AI to analyse archival data.

Lise enjoys working across sectors and disciplines. As a digital humanist, she has extensive experience of collaborating with computer scientists, archivists, librarians, and government professionals to unlock digital archival data with innovative technologies.