The following is a guest post by Jefferson Bailey, Fellow at the Library of Congress’s Office of Strategic Initiatives.
In early October, I began a postgraduate resident-in-study fellowship in the Library of Congress’s Office of Strategic Initiatives. I come to LC having received my MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh and having worked on digitization and digital preservation projects at a number of cultural heritage institutions in the New York City area. I am excited about the opportunity to blog here at The Signal both to detail the projects I will be working on over the upcoming months and to provide insight into some of the initiatives that OSI and NDIIPP will be undertaking in 2012.
In seeking out this fellowship, I was motivated by my interest in a number of areas of digital preservation including distributed models of access and display to encourage use and, thereby, preservation; collaborative knowledge sharing around digital preservation technical requirements; and public outreach and training efforts focusing on personal archiving and digital preservation. I am lucky that the confluence of my interests and OSI and NDIIP projects will allow me to contribute to these important pieces in the overall mission of digital preservation stewardship.
One of my first projects since coming onboard has been to assist with the launch of Viewshare.org , announced earlier this week Viewshare is a free, open-source tool cultural heritage institutions can use to create dynamic online displays of their digital collections. Using metadata imported through spreadsheets, MODS records or OAI-PMH, Viewshare allows digital-collection managers to build custom views such as timelines, maps and charts that users can manipulate through facets and interactive features. Viewshare also contains a number of data-augmentation tools allowing content managers to refine and convert existing metadata about their collection.
The conceptual foundation behind the tool is to provide novel ways to support the use and discovery of digital collections through a distributed approach that requires no collection digital objects to be uploaded and also enables both data export functions for metadata enhancement and view export functions for collection managers to embed their created views within their own websites. I will be helping the Viewshare team with testing the software, writing user guides and documentation, offering user support and helping develop future enhancements.
During my fellowship, I will also be supporting collaborative knowledge sharing about digital preservation by being involved in the activities of the NDSA, especially projects underway and forthcoming from the Innovation and Infrastructure working groups. I plan on working with NDSA partners conducting research, helping write and edit summary reports, developing an awards committee for recognizing innovative digital preservation projects, encouraging open-source software creation and sustainability and helping devise future working group activities.
Finally, as an archivist and a student of history, I have a personal and professional interest in how those tasked with preserving and making available digital material can actively engage with the creators of tomorrow’s archival collections. Because of the ways technology has expanded the ease with which one can create and disseminate material of potential archival value, archivists and preservationists must work with, and provide guidance to, those creating this material – be they professional communities or individuals.
Offering guidance to individuals interested in preserving their digital data is one of NDIIPP’s ongoing projects, as evident in NDIIPP’s Personal Archiving resources, workshops and outreach. I hope to contribute to this strategic objective by developing materials that smaller cultural heritage institutions can use in creating their own personal digital preservation workshops.
Through these and other projects, I look forward to supporting OSI and NDIIPP’s efforts to develop initiatives that maximize the scope and reach of digital preservation programs by leveraging expertise, sharing knowledge and encouraging collaboration. My commitment to these projects will allow me to further my professional expertise while also contributing to the overall mission of the Library of Congress.