MAC Fall 2015 Symposium

Hard Skills for Managing Digital Collections in Archives
September 18 - 19
Minneapolis, MN 


About the Symposium

The 2015 Midwest Archives Conference Fall Symposium, “Hard Skills for Managing Digital Records in Archives” will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 18 – 19, 2015, in the historic Depot Renaissance Hotel. The instructors for this year’s symposium will be Bert Lyons and Joshua Ranger of AVPreserve.

This one-and-a-half day event will provide in-depth and hands-on demonstrations of essential skills for working with digital collections at the basic level of protecting the bits, automating/extracting metadata, and preparing for the next steps of building and managing digital collections. Participants will come away with a clear knowledge of how to use the tools and skills demonstrated, what role they play in collection management workflows, and a sense of how to implement their use. Attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop with all applications downloaded and installed in order to fully participate in hands-on exercises.  A list of the no-cost applications and file sets to be used in the demonstrations and exercises will be distributed to attendees before the symposium.

On Friday morning, the group will explore the landscape of digital content in archive collections. This session will include an overview of basic digital collections management workflows and concepts and explores the use of metadata extraction and file management in digital workflows. We’ll then move on to raw metadata management where the group will be exposed to useful metadata management features within Excel Spreadsheets. Attendees will then be guided through the basics of using OpenRefine (formerly Google Refine), “a free, open source power tool for working with messy data” to analyze, normalize, and clean up datasets through its simple yet powerful features.

During Friday afternoon’s session, participates will learn how to identify files and extract metadata for verification, analysis, and quick description. Using MediaInfo, ExifTool, ffprobe and other freely accessible tools, this session will provide a foundation for archivists to be able to use the metadata inside files to understand them better and to generate reusable data for use in collections management and analysis. The group will also explore how to use of the metadata that exists within files to assist in enforcing quality control and compliance in their data sets.

Saturday morning’s session will focus on using operating systems to manage digital files in their natural habitat. This session will re-introduce the command line interface of MAC OSX and Windows operating systems. Attendees will learn how to copy, move, create, rename, and manage files using the command line interface of their computer. The final session will discuss some digital preservation basics with an introduction to BagIt, a specification for packaging digital files for storage and transfer developed by the Library of Congress with California Digital Library and Stanford University and the tools that support it such as Bagger. The session will delve into file fixity through checksum generation and validation tools, both on the command line and with graphical user interfaces (GUIs). These skills provide archivists the ability to monitor their digital collections’ integrity and authenticity throughout the digital lifecycle.

To keep up to date on information regarding symposium and  to learn more about the Twin Cities area, follow our blog.


Register online today. Options for paying with either credit card or check are available.  

Registration fees: MAC Members: $150.00
Nonmembers: $175.00
Students: $75.00

Registration is limited to 65 participants and includes breakfast, breaks and lunch on Friday.

“To receive a full refund for Annual Meeting or Fall Symposium registration, individuals must submit a written request postmarked or emailed by the advance registration date. No refunds are available after the advance registration date.”


The hotel can easily accessed from all the interstates leading into downtown Minneapolis (I-35W, I-94 and I-394) and features an underground parking. For those of you flying into the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), shuttle service is provided by Super Shuttle.   Or you can ride the Metro Transit light rail Blue Line from the airport to downtown Minneapolis. The Government Plaza Station is only three blocks from the hotel.


The symposium will be held in the beautiful Depot Renaissance Hotel in the Historic Mill and Riverfront District of Minneapolis. The special room rate for symposium attendees is $149 for both single and double occupancy. The hotel includes the repurposed Milwaukee Road Depot which is listed on National Register of Historic Places. The complex features two hotels, an indoor water park, an interpretive history center about the Depot, The Stone Arch Bar, Charley’s Restaurant, and an enclosed seasonal ice rink.  

Room reservations can be made through August 21, 2015. 

Restaurant Tours

On Friday evening, the Local Arrangements Committee will be hosting restaurant tours at several excellent local eateries.  Sample menus and sign-up sheets will be made available Friday morning of the symposium.

Sponsors and In-Kind Donations

  • Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries
  • Minnesota State University – Mankato Libraries
  • St. Cloud State University Libraries
  • Twin Cities Archives Roundtable
  • University of St. Thomas Libraries

Symposium Organizing Committee Co-Chairs

Daardi Sizemore
Archives and Special Collections Librarian
Minnesota State University – Mankato
[email protected] 

(507) 389 - 5949 


Ann Kenne
Head of Special Collections/University Archivist
University of St. Thomas
Saint Paul, MN
[email protected]

(651) 962 - 5461