The following is a guest post by Barrie Howard, IT Project Manager at the Library of Congress.
Walking to work today I reflected on the rocket’s red glare of recent Fourth of July fireworks displays and relished the aesthetic appeal of streets still adorned with bunting. Not ready to put away the fife and drum, I’m stirred to issue a call to action. Whether the source of inspiration is Independence Day, or upcoming events to commemorate the Civil War Sesquicentennial or War of 1812 Bicentennial, the mission remains to preserve the cultural heritage of our nation and protect the memory of American achievement and creativity.
The Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) Program has joined the effort through building and maintaining a corps of professionals equipped to teach the fundamentals of digital preservation. DPOE’s overarching strategy is to foster outreach and education about digital preservation on a national scale. Tactically, the program has launched the 2014 DPOE Training Needs Assessment Survey to scan the information sector to get a sense of the state of digital preservation practice, and identify the capacity of organizations and professionals to effectively preserve digital content. The first survey was conducted in 2010, and this follow up activity will reveal any changes that have occurred in the last four year.
Data collected from the initial survey informed the development of the baseline DPOE Curriculum and training modules. These educational materials are used by instructors in the DPOE Train-the-Trainer Workshops, which are designed to provide hands-on, in-person continuing education opportunities for working professionals with little or no digital preservation experience, and increase the organizational capacity of their employers to provide long-term access to mission-critical digital content. To date the program has deployed volunteers across the United States from Washington, DC to Alaska to deliver workshops. Through these activities DPOE has established a strong community of external stakeholders, who have partnered with DPOE to continue to build and maintain a growing national trainer network, and share knowledge through program’s communications infrastructure.
DPOE wants you to join forces with the Library of Congress in the fight against digital obsolescence! I encourage you to participate in the 2014 DPOE Training Needs Assessment Survey today, or contact the program via email to discuss how you can host a DPOE Train-the-Trainer Workshop at your organization. Contribute to the DPOE Calendar to announce upcoming continuing education opportunities in your area. Join the DPOE List listserv to share information about digital preservation tools, services, and best practices to increase visibility of the little victories taking place across the information landscape.
Every organization has strengths to win a skirmish here and there, but together we can win the battle.