Glossaries are important. If you can’t agree on the definition of terms how will you know what you’re arguing about? And if you don’t know what you’re arguing about you’ll never come to an agreement on anything!
With that in mind, today we’re announcing the release of a National Digital Stewardship Alliance glossary to support the work being done in the NDSA on the Levels of Preservation. The Levels of Preservation activity is working to provide basic digital preservation guidance on how an organization should prioritize its resource allocation. The NDSA glossary strives to provide a common language for NDSA members to communicate about the levels work and should also be useful as a general digital stewardship glossary.
This glossary evolved out of the work of the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Working Group which has spent several years identifying current practices and policies for the preservation of digital material at the Library. The glossary was drafted by our 2012 Junior Fellows as an internal document to define terms in working group progress reports and thus was somewhat limited in term scope. It was never an official Library of Congress product. However, it did provide a solid basis for future work.
The Junior Fellows extensively referenced the available literature to identify pertinent sources, including glossaries developed by the Society of American Archivists, the Digital Curation Centre, Jisc and many others (a list of the referenced works is available here (PDF)). And while the existing sourced glossaries have much to recommend them, there was still a need to develop a glossary that succinctly defined terms of special value to the NDSA and its extended digital stewardship community.
With that in mind, we’re sharing the first version for all to use with the idea that it is a living document and that members of the NDSA and the wider digital stewardship community will contribute to its ongoing development. Feel free to drop suggestions in the comments below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with thoughts on future terms and definitions.