Thursday, June 23, 2005

Extinct and flightless

We in SQA have been taking an increasing interest in natural history it seems. First we pondered the woolly mammoth. Now we give consideration to the Great Auk.

The Great Auk

In the web site of the McGill University Biology Department we read the Great Auk was an extinct flightless species and has become a symbol of destruction of the Earth and its life forms.

Should we be so surprised therefore that the National Archives in collaboration with the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), the National Council on Archives, Collection Services of the National Library of Wales, the National Archives of Scotland and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has named a new national online search engine to connect all UK archives after the Great Auk? Surely no. This new development comes to you from the same source as the Linking Arms Consortium Project which we have blogged previously (Nellie does another whoopsie).

We are not alone in our concerns. The Common Information Environment web site states we can hope that “powerful new search engine” doesn't translate into “yet another dead-end destination site that few will ever find”.

At the time of blogging we can find nothing about aUK on the National Archives or MLA web sites. This unusually quiet approach hints that funding may be an issue, on top of which several archives bodies are no doubt smarting from the serious criticism made about the Linking Arms Consortium Project by the Heritage Lottery Fund who stated it had insufficient heritage merit to offer value for money for HLF funding.

Let us hope the new aUK is less prone to extinction than the woolly mammoth, Great Auk and Linking Arms Project.

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