Fifty Digital Preservation Activities You Can Do

The following is a guest post by Tess Webre, former intern with NDIIPP at the Library of Congress

Preservation Week 2013 might be over, but digital preservation must go on every week of the year. In truth, preservation is an ongoing, long lasting process that requires active management. Don’t despair, though. I have some helpful suggestions to help keep you in the preservation-y mood until next year.

Polk Motel's other sign, by SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent), on Flickr

Polk Motel’s other sign, by SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent), on Flickr

  1. Find an online stewardship project that appeals to you and give it some time.  Try going here for insight into new projects. At a recent Digital Cultural Heritage DC meeting, members of a prestigious museum said that crowdsourcing in the past few years had accomplished as much as 14 full time positions, so know that you are making a difference.
  2. Locate a digital repository close to you; find out what activities/projects they are undertaking and use social media to promote work that you like.
  3. Follow NDIIPP on Twitter
  4. Like NDIIPP on Facebook
  5. Subscribe to the monthly Library of Congress Digital Preservation Newsletter via email.
  6. Volunteer at a local repository.  Call one up and see if they need help or supplies. They are usually quite nice, in my experience.
  7. Write some blog posts to increase public awareness for libraries and repositories.
  8. Do some personal digital estate planning. (Here are some insights.)
  9. Take a stab at some digital disaster planning. (Here are some more insights.)
  10. Visit the Eyebeam Gallery and marvel at how they were able to salvage so many of their digital assets that had been damaged in the flooding of Hurricane Sandy.
  11. Take some time to do inventory on your storage media. Does it need an update? Here is one of the best guides on the topic.
  12. Do some double checks on your cloud storage. Everything accounted?
  13. Migrate proprietary files to an open sourced format.
  14. Organize your email. (Really, it’s worth considering.)
  15. Do some backups of your smart phone, tablet, digital camera and other mobile devices.
  16. Make sure your digital photographs are accurately described.
  17. Talk to your children about the need for good digital preservation skills.
  18. Read your kids a digital preservation fairy tale (This one is also good for adults.)
  19. Write out your worst personal digital data loss story. Reflect on it.
  20. Take a look at some of the Library of Congress’ many excellent videos that discuss the challenges and solutions facing digital archivists. I personally love this one of Cory Doctorow.
  21. Watch a film that deals with preservation (Keanu Reeves just came out with a documentary  discussing digital movies.)
  22. Read NDIIPP’s new collection of digital preservation perspectives, it has many ideas and tips.
  23. Take some time to brush up on your Spanish by reading this tutorial on digitization of images from Cornell University Library.
  24. Or, if you don’t speak Spanish, brush up on your French, by reading this digital preservation management planning guide from University of Michigan.
  25. It’s also available in Italian.
  26. Or take the time to learn a programming language. It’s extremely satisfying and not that difficult to learn.  Just start out with a “hello world” and you’re golden.
  27. If that doesn’t appeal to you, take some time to learn a metadata schema such as Dublin Core, METS or others.
  28. Pick a digital preservation mascot to keep you motivated.
  29. Take a look at the new Digital Public Library of America. It’s quite awesome, and has some fantastic exhibits.
  30. Check out the preservation of video games by going here.
  31. Or take some time to look at the preservation of geospatial data, by going here.
  32. Take a peek at how the internet used to look by visiting the Wayback Machine.
  33. Take a gander at Archive-It and one of its many exhibits.
  34. Or just take a look at all of the Internet Archive’s many wonderful projects.
  35. Also, take a look at the Library of Congress’ Minerva collection.
  36. Or, check out the British Web Archive’s many exhibits from across the pond.
  37. Or, see how they do web archives down under, by looking at Australia’s web archive Pandora.
  38. Or, take a look at the Czech Republic’s web archive.
  39. Finally, take a moment to view the Portuguese web archive.
  40. Organize an event with a local club to increase awareness of digital preservation initiatives. Remember to serve cake, people will come if there is cake.
  41. Attend a conference, or lecture discussing digital preservation. There is sometimes cake.
  42. Distribute digital preservation leaflets, or guides. Some are available here.
  43. Eat strawberry ice cream with sprinkles, hot fudge, and a maraschino cherry on top. It doesn’t really have anything to do with digital preservation, but if you made it this far down the list, you deserve a treat. Also, this is the best combination of ice cream flavors…according to science.
  44. Watch one of these fantastic short videos on digital preservation and root for Digiman!
  45. Check your personal digital archiving knowledge by taking this fun quiz.
  46. Didn’t do so well? Try giving yourself a personal digital archiving audit (bonus, there are pictures of puppies.)
  47. Take a look at these personal digital archiving tips.

And of course:  48. Identify;  49. Decide;  50. Organize;  51. Make Copies.

Oh dear, that’s 51. Sorry, I got carried away with my enthusiasm for the subject. Anyway, this list should keep you busy until next year’s preservation week. Have fun and let us know if there are other things you think should be on the list.

Until next time, I wish you all safe data.

2 Comments

  1. Alex Amaral
    May 9, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Great post Susan!
    Thanks!

  2. Susan Manus
    May 10, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Glad you enjoyed it, Alex! (And you can thank Tess, as the actual author)

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