Connecting with People and Institutions at Digital Preservation 2013

How do people outside of our community think about digital preservation?

Courtesy of Hilary Mason.

Courtesy of Hilary Mason.

In her opening, Hilary Mason, chief scientist at bit.ly and the first speaker at Digital Preservation 2013, posed this question, framing her talk from the perspective of computer engineers and those working in start-up businesses.  She went on to talk about the evolution of bit.ly and data archiving, noting that preservation without access is useless. Her thoughtful keynote set an excellent stage for the next few days of presentations and discussions.

Hilary was one of of two dozen speakers, including Lisa Green of Common Crawl, Emily Gore of DPLA and Rodrigo Davies of the MIT Center for Civic Media Labs, invited to share their views and work during our annual summer meeting. Some of the speakers were not directly involved in the preservation or long-term access to cultural heritage, scholarly or scientific digital materials. But we like to invite speakers who expose our audience to the perspectives of those organizations creating, consuming and accessing digital information. Why?

One of the goals of our annual meeting is to support the development of expertise for digital preservation through education and training of working professionals and students. Hearing from a community of data producers and researchers as well practitioners and stewards of digital information, we can better understand together the current challenges and potential collaborative solutions of stewarding digital materials for future use and research value.  People getting together in person to discuss issues, share ideas and work together on solving shared problems is an activity we find invaluable and a core benefit to our work.  We hope those of you who were able to attend gained new insights to help them in their practice and had a meaningful experience.

For a full-run down of the first two days of the meeting (July 23-24), I’d encourage you to read Mat Kelly’s trip report on the Old Dominion University’s Web Science and Digital Libraries Research Group blog. It’s an excellent and comprehensive recap of the meeting and chock full of great quotes from speakers and lightning talks. Not only that, he captured videos of the speakers, which are a great resource! (We videotaped the presentations too, but our post-production process is not as fast as Mat’s.)

The "Green Bytes:  Sustainable Approaches to Digital Stewardship"  Panel: Josh Sternfeld, NEH; David Rosenthal, Stanford University; Kris Carpenter, Internet Archive; Krishna Kant, George Mason University

The “Green Bytes: Sustainable Approaches to Digital Stewardship” Panel: Josh Sternfeld, NEH; David Rosenthal, Stanford University; Kris Carpenter, Internet Archive; Krishna Kant, George Mason University. Credit: Shealah Craighead.

We were also thrilled to see that a couple of meeting attendees posted their talks on their own blogs.  Sarah Werner, of the Folger Shakespeare Library, posted the text of her keynote talk, as did David Rosenthal, of Stanford University, of his talk on the “Green Bytes: Sustainable Approaches to Digital Stewardship” (PDF) panel.  Barbie E. Keiser wrote a nice article of her impressions for Information Today, Preserving Our Digital World, on the first two days of the meeting.

Aside from the great presentations, a couple of highlights for us at the meeting included:

The release of the 2014 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship.  Micah Altman, director of research, libraries, MIT, rolled out the agenda, noting that the document integrates the perspective of dozens of experts and hundreds of institutions to provide funders and other executive decision-makers with insight into emerging technological trends, gaps in digital stewardship capacity, and key areas for development.

The 2013 NDSA Innovation Award Winners: Martin Gengenbach, Gates Archive; Kim Schroeder, Wayne State University; Stephens Abram, California Digital Library, accepting on behalf of the DataUp project; and Jason Scott, Archive Team, accepting on behalf of the Archive Team.

The 2013 NDSA Innovation Award Winners: Martin Gengenbach, Gates Archive; Kim Schroeder, Wayne State University; Stephen Abrams, California Digital Library, accepting on behalf of the DataUp project; and Jason Scott, Archive Team, accepting on behalf of the Archive Team. Credit: Erin Engle

Presentation of the NDSA Innovation Awards.  The awards winners were officially recognized during the meeting. Each of the winners talked briefly about their work and projects, and we find that it’s a nice way to mark achievements by organizations and individuals in the field.

As we did last year, alongside the main meeting, on July 25 we co-hosted a CURATEcamp.  This camp’s focus was broadly about the idea of exhibition, everything from faceted browsing, visualizations and displaying audio-visual materials to digital storytelling, social media as exhibition and interpreting digital objects. Sharon Leon, of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Michael Edson, of the Smithsonian Institution, and Trevor Owens, of the Library of Congress, facilitated the day. Many of the sessions notes were captured in Google docs, which are available on the wiki.  You can get deeper sense of the topics and issues discussed just by reading the notes.

Presentations are now available on the NDIIPP website and videos will be added as they become available, starting later in August.

For those in the Washington DC area and who missed meeting, there will be an NDIIPP briefing Review of Digital Preservation 2013 Meeting on Tuesday, August 6th, at 11:00 am in the Pickford Theater, on the third floor of the James Madison building at the Library of Congress. The presentation is free and open to the public.

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