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Inclusiveness: An Open Environment to Explore Digital Preservation Practices

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I’ve been following the tweets coming out of Webwise 2012 this week. The annual Institute for Museum and Library Services conference is an opportunity for practitioners from museums, libraries, archives, educational institutions and other organizations to discuss and see first-hand the impact of digital technologies in their respective fields.  It has a broad reach for those interested in the future of digital learning and it’s inclusive of organizations and individuals across distributed communities.

Webwise is a successful and engaging initiative because diverse participants share similar values. We strive to emulate this approach through the National Digital Stewardship Alliance and its expressed values. I’ve written before about how the NDSA aims to foster collaboration. Let me talk about another explicit NDSA value: inclusiveness.

Community Center Free - everybody welcome
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Here’s an excerpt from the NDSA inclusiveness values statement: “We [NDSA] value the range of experience, the potential for innovation, and the fault-tolerance that heterogeneity brings. We believe the preservation of digital information is a pervasive challenge and that engaging across different communities strengthens the nation’s digital preservation practices and increases the likelihood of preserving content now and into the future.”

Membership is open to those organizations who share the stated values of the Alliance and to those who contribute to the stewardship of diverse digital content.  Here in NDIIPP, we see the National Digital Stewardship Alliance working groups engage in issues that align with their shared interests. The diverse network brings together individuals from multiple sectors — from educational institutions to non-profits to commercial entities – to work toward common outcomes, contributing resources and expertise.

A great example of this has been the Outreach Working Group’s Digital Preservation in a Box activity.  Individuals from educational institutions (Catholic University of America), Federal institutions (National Library of Medicine and Library of Congress) and commercial entities (EZ Photo Scan and Archive Media Partners) have been collaborating on a suite of resources that can be used to provide introductory-level education those who may have little to no knowledge of digital preservation and digital curation issues.

Each of these organizations has a different core mission. But the NDSA enables an inclusive environment in which each can explore new digital preservation practices for the benefit of the community.

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