Digital preservation is now an important part of most archives and library/information work, and it’s importance is only set to grow. Getting students studying in these areas to engage with the idea and the practicalities of digital preservation is very important for everyone working in the field. The DPC run an annual Student Conference, ‘What I wish I knew before I started’ . This year it took place here in Senate House on 22/January. The conference offers a useful glimpse into the world of digital preservation, and hopefully enthuses new professionals about this area of work. I was invited to give a library and information manager view of working in digital preservation, and was delighted to be a part of such an inspiring event.
Digital Preservation – An Information Manager’s Perspective
My own talk gave five basic tips:
- Everything you learn and think you know will change over time – be prepared!
- Learn to keep up-to-date, it’s a very important part of your skills set.
- Learn some basic technical skills and play around, and share what you are doing.
- Resign yourself to explaining why storage is not digital preservation. All. The. Time.
- Join the digital preservation community – it’s the best support you could get.
You can see the complete slides plus notes below.
I took the opportunity to promote our free online beginner course in OAIS, something I hope that the delegates will find useful as they progress in their knowledge of digital preservation.
The main theme from all the speakers focused on the value of the digital preservation community. For those of us working in this field, our peers are our support network. It’s the community that offers us help and guidance, where we learn and share the discoveries we have made, where we get support. Although from the outside, our work is often perceived as being all about the technical, it’s impossible to work in this field an imagine not having our fantastic network there alongside us. I felt proud to work in an area that sees community as it’s greatest strength and to show new potential members how welcome they would be to join us.
Thanks to Edith Halvarsson of British Library for capturing the panel so well!
Other talks included a great overview of technologies and some tips for getting started from Matthew Addis of Arkivum, a fascinating look at the wider aspects of working with digital preservation from both Sharon McMeekin of DPC and Adrian Brown of Parliamentary Archives, a glimpse behind the scenes of the British Museum digital collections from Glenn Cumiskey and a grand tour of web archiving from Helen Hockx-Yu of the Internet Archive.
It was also fantastic to listen to Ann MacDonald of University of Kent archives, who is herself a new professional, speak about her experiences both as a student and as a professional archivist working with digital preservation. Ann also came on our DPTP course in 2014, so it was very special to hear about her work now. It was a proud moment when she recommended our courses! The final speaker, Dave Thompson of the Wellcome Trust, was speaking from the experience of a (much!) longer career. His enthusiasm and interest in his work though, made him just as inspiring as Ann, which is a great endorsement for working in our field.
Slides from all the speakers will be available via DPC shortly, and you can see what people were saying on the day in my Storify of the event.
We finished the day with a panel session which was thought-provoking and great fun – a pretty good summary of the whole day, in fact.