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Kicking Off the 2011 NDIIPP Digital Preservation Partners Meeting

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Today is the first day of the 2011 NDIIPP partners meeting. We are starting out with a bang: a keynote from Tim O’Reilly. Our other opening speakers are Siva Vaidhyanathan, Yancy Strickler, Micheal Edson and Aaron Presnall.

change, by busy.pochi, on Flickr
change, by busy.pochi, on Flickr

When I think back to the first NDIIPP partners meeting six years ago,  two opposing thoughts rattle my brain.

First: Hey, six years wasn’t that long ago! Many of the people at that meeting will be at this year’s. Most of the issues relating to digital preservation remain. We are, for example, still looking for improved practices for dealing with digital content across all phases of its life cycle.  Securing sustainable funding remains a challenge. Most preservation models remain institution-specific.  The best path forward still is broad-based collaboration.

Second: Wow, six years was a long time ago! So many new people are showing up at our meetings. And there have been so many new technological developments since 2006—social media, cloud computing, smartphones, multi-terabyte hard drives. We’ve preserved so much digital content since then, including websites, data sets and video. Plus there is so much more information about digital preservation available: everything from short animated videos, to focused websites, to specific guidance on personal digital archiving.

Both kinds of thoughts, while wildly divergent, are valid.  It’s a struggle for me to keep them in mind simultaneously, but it’s necessary. After all, to paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, the test of a good digital steward is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. In the world of digital preservation everything is changing… while lots stays the same.

Look for a broad summary of the action from our meeting for all three days here on The Signal, as well regular dispatches from @ndiipp.

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