The Library of Congress, the ALAs Association for Library Collections and Technical Services and the Public Library Association have joined forces to spread information about personal digital archiving, using public libraries as information resources for local communities.
Barbara A. Macikas, executive director of the PLA (a division of the American Library Association), said that the shared mission of the Library of Congress, the ALCTS and the PLA will help fulfill the mission of the IMLS-funded Digital Learning Resource project, to develop a collection of digital literacy resources that will be accessible to libraries, patrons and other community-based organizations. Bill Lefurgy, digital initiatives program manager at the Library of Congress, will formally join the DLR project at the ALA Midwinter conference.
The first webinar, on March 20, is directed at librarians who are considering hosting a personal digital archiving day event. The webinar explains the issues around personal digital archiving and reviews the resources the Library of Congress has made available for the public and for librarians to present to their communities (such as the Personal Digital Archiving Day kit).
The second webinar, on April 24, is directed at the general public and it will be a comprehensive overview of the issues that are at stake and what average people can do about preserving their stuff simply and properly.
Both webinars are intended to help audiences understand the nature of our common digital files — such as digital photos, recordings, video and documents and learn what it takes to preserve them as well as we might preserve our physical possessions. Technology changes rapidly and without proper care of our files, we could lose access to them.
ALCTS, PLA and the Library of Congress share the conviction that the local public library is a natural resource from which the community can get information about personal digital archiving. The Library of Congress has conducted outreach events at public libraries close to Washington DC and has honed its outreach message for clarity and simplicity. At these events, Library of Congress staff was enthusiastically received by both the librarians and members of the community. Everyone was grateful for the expert information and guidance. The audience’s follow-up questions helped shape and tighten the Library’s subsequent presentations.
The PLA will offer ongoing information about Library of Congress personal archiving resources through its electronic newsletter, Facebook site , website and Public Libraries Online. The mutual, long-term goal of both institutions is to keep up the steady drumbeat of communication until eventually the message reaches everyone and good personal digital archiving practices become second-nature.