Apps for mobile users

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Cynthia Coleman

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Oct 24, 2016, 7:12:47 PM10/24/16
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Hi

Is anyone across the existence (or names if they do exist) of apps that allow mobile users to access the Artefactual family of products?

Given the predominance of mobile computing that exists nowadays, I'm hopeful but not expecting that such a thing exists for the Android and Apple platforms.

Thanks Cynthia 

Dan Gillean

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Oct 24, 2016, 10:49:46 PM10/24/16
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Hi Cynthia,

It could definitely use further improvement, but AtoM does include some basic responsiveness (we use the Bootstrap responsive CSS framework for the look and feel), meaning that the public user interface should work on a mobile device such as a phone. At this time, I don't know of anyone who has developed a separate mobile app to access either AtoM or Archivematica.

We'd love to see the application's responsive design improved to make it more user-friendly across a wide range of devices!

Regards,

Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
604-527-2056
@accesstomemory

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Cynthia Coleman

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Oct 25, 2016, 2:57:42 AM10/25/16
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Thanks Dan

To summarise, that sounds like we can currently access AtoM or Archivematica via a standard browser on a mobile device, but there is no app available to download from Apple or Google stores. Am I correct?



Cynthia 

On 25 October 2016 at 13:49, Dan Gillean <d...@artefactual.com> wrote:
Hi Cynthia,

It could definitely use further improvement, but AtoM does include some basic responsiveness (we use the Bootstrap responsive CSS framework for the look and feel), meaning that the public user interface should work on a mobile device such as a phone. At this time, I don't know of anyone who has developed a separate mobile app to access either AtoM or Archivematica.

We'd love to see the application's responsive design improved to make it more user-friendly across a wide range of devices!

Regards,

Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
604-527-2056
@accesstomemory

On Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 7:12 PM, Cynthia Coleman <ccol...@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi

Is anyone across the existence (or names if they do exist) of apps that allow mobile users to access the Artefactual family of products?

Given the predominance of mobile computing that exists nowadays, I'm hopeful but not expecting that such a thing exists for the Android and Apple platforms.

Thanks Cynthia 

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Dan Gillean

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Oct 25, 2016, 10:29:28 AM10/25/16
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Hi Cynthia,

That's correct for AtoM - as a system designed for both access and description, the basic elements are there for mobile use - though as I said, there is a lot of room for improvement.

For Archivematica, it is unlikely that there is any native responsiveness built-in. I'm not sure why you'd want to operate Archivematica from a phone, but ultimately the best way to find out how usable each application is on a mobile device will be to test it out!

Please let us know how it goes.

Regards,

Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
604-527-2056
@accesstomemory

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Cynthia Coleman

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Oct 26, 2016, 8:44:11 PM10/26/16
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Thanks Dan

I worded this as a general enquiry to tease out information and interest levels. 

My comments below are as an individual, and not necessarily representing the views of my current employer. Nor are these comments representing the need for my current employer to fund anything. I'm also unclear if this forum is the right place to air future considerations/directions for the family platform. Feel free to close this discussion or suggest an alternate forum.

Here we go:

1. Today's world is increasingly mobile, and students in particular are encouraged to bring their own devices to their learning institutions and libraries. Researchers use the entire range of cultural institutions. Apps are common place nowadays, and subject to funding it makes sense to have an app as part of the family (Atom and Archivematica)

2. Archivematica. Granted that DAM/Digital preservation is a back office function (typically seen in larger cultural institutions at the moment). However as technology continues to grow in leaps and bounds mobile devices will become a tool of choice for significant born digital artefacts. Social media and the press are big users of this type of born digital currently (in fact I have seen definitions of GLAM which extend to the press and creative sectors). At some point in time, I can see the need for clients to submit directly born digital to a DAM/Digital preservation system to cover donations/acquisitions. Thus a simple interface/app would be beneficial for consideration.



Thanks Cynthia



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Dan Gillean

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Oct 26, 2016, 9:27:05 PM10/26/16
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Hi Cynthia,

Thanks for your thoughts! For the record, this is absolutely the right place to share these lines of inquiry. While we at Artefactual do our best to assist users and contribute to discussion, this is ultimately a User Forum - that is, a place to connect with other users, share thoughts (and critiques!), workflows, workarounds, and ideas for how we can improve things in the future.

In absence of a formal steering committee or governance structure, Artefactual has taken on maintenance of the application, but based on the business model we use and the community-based nature of the development (more on this here), improving AtoM depends almost entirely on its users. This means we definitely want you to talk with us and more importantly, with each other about what works, what doesn't, and how we can collectively improve things in subsequent public releases.

I will say that I think, in terms of code maintenance, that it's a better idea to improve the native responsiveness of the applications so they adapt and work well on all devices, rather than developing a separate app - if you take that approach, you end up with 2 entirely different code bases you have to maintain in parallel. Once we've improved the responsiveness of the applications, I think it would be possible, however, to basically create an app as a wrapper that essentially just launches your institutional website, optimized for view on a device - in fact a quick search shows that there are services that offer this now, though I have no idea how reliable they are. I'm not a developer! But I would worry about having to maintain 2 different versions of code doing the same thing... so finding ways to make an institutional AtoM site available via an app store that doesn't require this would possibly be the best way to go?

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?

Cheers,

Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
604-527-2056
@accesstomemory

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Sarah Romkey

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Oct 27, 2016, 10:57:11 AM10/27/16
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Hello all,

I wanted to jump in with a few thoughts from the "Archivematica side of the shop" :)

Cythina, your point is well taken that more and more people, of various positions and technical abilities, will need to submit digital materials to repositories in the future. I would take the stance though that having those people come in direct contact with Archivematica is not as great a solution as having an easy to use but secure deposit tool which can allow the archivists/curators/administrators to direct the content directly to an Archivematica pipeline if that's what they choose to do. There have definitely been some exciting tools along these lines, like Exactly for example, although I'm not sure it's been optimized for mobile use either. The trend that we're seeing among Archivematica users is increasing automation and less interaction with the web-based dashboard so I'm not sure that developing an app, or concentrating on a more responsive design, would be keeping in step with the trends we're currently seeing.

It's great to have this conversation though and please keep the ideas coming! Something that I could potential see as a more mobile-friendly use case would be some kind of monitoring tool that allows you to check in on your Archivematica pipelines and identify problems at a glance. Just an idea!

Cheers,

Sarah

Sarah Romkey, MAS,MLIS
Archivematica Program Manager
Artefactual Systems
604-527-2056
@archivematica / @accesstomemory



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Creighton Barrett

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Oct 27, 2016, 8:52:15 PM10/27/16
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Super interesting. Cynthia, you are right to wonder about using archives software on mobile devices. And I also think Dan is right to wonder why anyone would ever want to run Archivematica on a phone.

My thoughts, as a digital archivist that still doesn't have a mobile phone (so take it with lots of salt, please):
  1. Apps are annoying. From a UX perspective, I truly hate when a random website I access on my iPad asks me to download an app. Try finding tab on Ultimate Guitar. It's better now, but in the past, you had to know that Safari had some hidden option to display the site in the browser. But there are still pop-ups, poorly placed Xs to close windows, etc. All really bad stuff.

  2. Mobile display is awesome! I like how our AtoM site displays on my tablet. Could it be better? Yes. But I think it works pretty well. My view is that we should focus on improving responsiveness and not contribute to the proliferation of the "there's an app for that" development mindset.

  3. Archivematica. You seem to be talking specifically about transfer/ingest (depending on your terminology). And that is something where I could maybe see an app being a nice addition to Archivematica. One of the most annoying aspects of my iPad is how I have to connect it to my laptop to download images for backup. Wouldn't it be great if you could run an app to package and transfer all your images into a transfer storage bucket where back-room archivists can access the content and ingest it into Archivematica? I could see some value in allowing people who work in mobile environments to transfer their content into a digital preservation system. Would that destroy your data plan? Definitely. And the end user would need to somehow arrange permissions to access the storage bucket. Those are the kind of real-world problems that I think will continue to force lots of people into connecting their device to a workstation where a regular transfer could take place.

I see Sarah also mentioned this idea of a mobile-friendly secure transfer tool - and a monitoring app, which I could also see as being kind of useful, especially for sys admins who already get alerts and other reports on their mobile devices.

Good stuff! Thanks for starting this thread.

Cheers,

Creighton

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