DPOE Working Group Moves Forward on Curriculum

DPOE WG 2

The working group at their recent meeting. Photo by Julio Diaz.

For many organizations that are just starting to tackle digital preservation, it can be a daunting challenge – and particularly difficult to figure out the first steps to take.  Education and training may be the best starting point, creating and expanding the expertise available to handle this kind of challenge.  The Digital Preservation Outreach and Education  program here at the Library aims to do just that, by providing the materials as well as the hands-on instruction to help build the expertise needed for current and future professionals working on digital preservation.

Recently, the Library was host to a meeting of the DPOE Working Group, consisting of a core group of experts and educators in the field of digital preservation.  The Working Group participants were Robin Dale (Institute of Museum and Library Services), Sam Meister (University of Montana-Missoula), Mary Molinaro (University of Kentucky), and Jacob “Jake” Nadal (Princeton University).  The meeting was chaired by George Coulbourne of the Library of Congress, and Library staffers Barrie Howard and Kris Nelson also participated.

The main goal of the meeting was to update the existing DPOE Curriculum, which is used as the basis for the Program’s training workshops and then subsequently, by the trainees themselves.  A survey is being conducted to gather even more information, and will help inform this curriculum as well (see a related blog post).   The Working Group reviewed and edited all of the six substantive modules which are based on terms from the OAIS Reference Model framework:

  • Identify   (What digital content do you have?)
  • Select   (What portion of your digital content will be preserved?)
  • Store   (What issues are there for long-term storage?)
  • Protect  (What steps are needed to protect your digital content?)
  • Manage   (What provisions are needed for long-term management?)
  • Provide   (What considerations are there for long-term access?)

The group also discussed adding a seventh module on implementation.  Each of these existing modules contains a description, goals, concepts and resources designed to be used by current and/or aspiring digital preservation practitioners.

Mary Molinaro, Director, Research Data Center at the University of Kentucky Libraries, noted that “as we worked through the various modules it became apparent how flexible this curriculum is for a wide range of institutions.  It can be adapted for small, one-person cultural heritage institutions and still be relevant for large archives and libraries. ”

Mary also spoke to the advantages of having a focused, group effort to work through these changes: “Digital preservation has some core principles, but it’s also a discipline subject to rapid technological change.  Focusing on the curriculum together as an instructor group allowed us to emphasize those things that have not changed while at the same time enhancing the materials to reflect the current technologies and thinking.”

These curriculum modules are currently in the process of further refinement and revision, including an updated list of resources. The updated version of the curriculum will be available later this month. The Working Group also recommended some strategies for extending the curriculum to address executive audiences, and how to manage the process of updating the curriculum going forward.

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