Tuesday 17 January 2017 – Anthea Seles – “It always seems impossible until it is done”: Sensitivity Review and Digital Records’

When/Where: 17:45 in room Room N304, 3rd floor, IHR, North block, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Anthea Seles , The National Archives; Joint Session with the Archives and Society seminar


“It always seems impossible until it is done”: Sensitivity Review and Digital Records’ touches on the experiences and lessons learned at The National Archives on digital records sensitivity in order to enable the scalable and repeatable transfer of digital records, and user access, while protecting personal data and sensitive information from release. The presentation draws directly from the published research report The application of technology- assisted review to born-digital records transfer, Inquiries and beyond (February 2016) and will explore the software testing The National Archives carried out to try and develop a scalable approach to the appraisal and selection, and sensitivity review of large unstructured digital records collections. During the talk Dr. Seles will also endeavour to touch the impact these approaches have on the historical record and the strengths and weaknesses data analytic software can have on future digital historical research.


Dr. Anthea Seles is graduate of Masters of Archival Studies (MAS) programme at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, British Columbia) and a recent doctoral graduate from the Department of Information Studies at the University College London. Her doctorate: The Transferability of Trusted Digital Repository Standards to an East African Context was awarded the 2016 Digital Preservation Coalition Award for Most Distinguished Student Work in Digital Preservation. Dr. Seles has worked in the field of archives and records management for over 10 years, during that time she worked for the International Records Management Trust. At the Trust she examined topics such as data integrity for open data, accountability and transparency and worked with organisations like the African Union Commission (Addis Ababa) and the International Criminal Courts (The Hague, Netherlands). She joined The National Archives in 2014 as the Digital Records and Transfer Manager. In her position she and her team oversee the transfer of government digital records transfers. As part of this process she advises on the capabilities of data analytics/eDiscovery software for the purposes of digital appraisal and selection and sensitivity review.

Dr. Seles has lectured and spoken extensively on digital preservation topics at international conferences, symposia and universities. Most recently she has presented on the topics of digital sensitivity review at the University of Glasgow (November 2016), and on the impact of digital records on historical research at King’s College (December 2016). She has also written several papers on digital record-keeping in Africa, based on her experiences at the International Records Management Trust.

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