A new phase for ePADD development

ePADD team for 2020 Mellon grant - Zoom meeting

We are delighted to join Harvard University and the University of Manchester again on a collaborative venture over the next 18 months (2021-2022) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, Email Archives: Building Capacity and Community managed by the University of Illinois. This project will focus on integrating long-term preservation functionality into ePADD, the email appraisal, processing, discovery, and delivery tool developed by Stanford Libraries Department of Special Collections and University Archives.

The team has not changed that much from our current Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant (2020-2021) run by Stanford University with one large exception – we (Stanford Libraries’ Special Collections) are no longer running this new development project.

For me this is a profound change.

I became involved, along with colleagues Peter Chan & Michael Olson, with email archiving for discovery and delivery in 2011 during my involvement in the AIMS Project managed by the University of Virginia. A year later, we were applying for our first grant (from NHPRC) to develop a prototype email archiving tool that would allow us to publish metadata online to allow discovery and full text of unrestricted messages and attachments to scholars in our reading room. Since that time, we received two additional grants, one from IMLS in 2015 and another from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2020, as well as several internally funded grants from Stanford Libraries’ administration that have enabled us to turn ePADD into a more robust processing tool.

The result has been a tool that we use consistently to process our email archives at Stanford Libraries. Four collections have been completed and two more are in the pipeline; the metadata from these collections is available on our Discovery site. The existence of ePADD allows us to consult with our Curators about possible acquisitions of archives of personal email accounts and listservs and work with researchers and donors on the review and transfer of their email. We have just completed the work for the 2020-2021 grant, and in fact, earlier this month announced the release of Version 8.

As our current 2020-2021 grant wraps up, for the first time in ten years, I will no longer be the guiding force behind development of our tool – ePADD (Email: Process, Appraise, Discover, Deliver). It is a bitter-sweet moment akin to watching your child go off to college – which I will also be experiencing this year. A double whammy. We will see how I do to navigate another year of change and become a collaborator as the software development moves forward.

Thanks to all those who have been involved over the years in the various iterations of this software and the internal staffing changes (Aimee, Peter, Josh, Annie, Michael & Sally), I have thoroughly enjoyed working with all of you on the project! Lastly, I want to give special thanks to the Amuse Labs and Ixora contingent – our software engineer and technical advisors, whom have been with us from the beginning: Sudheendra Hangal, Chinmay Narayanan, and Chaiyasit Manovit. This project would not be the same without you!

Thank you all,