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The Academy Meets Digital Preservation

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The following is a guest post from Heather Bowden, Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Program Specialist in the Library of Congress Office of Strategic Initiatives.

Hot on the heels of the Academy Awards, we would like to present to you, Zoe Friedlander, Systems Librarian for the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Zoe was one of the inaugural 24 trainers invited to attend the Digital Preservation Outreach & Education (DPOE) Train-the-Trainer Workshop in September 2011.  I thought it would be apropos to get in touch with her to learn more about what she does for the Academy and how it ties in with digital preservation and her new role as a digital preservation trainer.

Zoe Friedlander
Zoe Friedlander

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?

As Systems Librarian for the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, I’m responsible for the operation and continued enhancement of three of our main library systems: our library catalog, which is a Voyager database; our Inmagic system, which contains inventories of our special collections materials, photograph collections, clipping files and other resources; and our CONTENTdm system that we are using to build a digital library. In addition to these systems, our Photograph Department has a DAMs which is managed by our Digital Archivist. I’m also the webmaster for the library portal and I analyze and troubleshoot system problems of all sorts and act as liaison to the Academy’s IT department.

Systems librarianship is my third career; my first two were technical writing and then graphic design. Both of those were excellent background for the job I do now; the skills I learned as a software technical writer have been key to my ability to communicate technical information to less technical staff, and the graphic design skills I gained have helped make the Web pages and forms I design easy to use and navigate.

How are you involved in digital preservation at your organization?

So far I’m really just preparing to start the conversation. I chair the library’s Technology Committee where we discuss things like the need for greater redundancy for our DAMs storage;  but my goal for the outcome of the training I will do here in the next month or so is for the library to develop a digital preservation policy.

What encouraged you to apply for the DPOE Train-the-Trainer Workshop?

The truth is that I set myself a personal goal to start presenting more to groups, and I thought attending the Train-the-Trainer workshop would be a great way to ensure that that happened. And then once I attended the workshop, I realized that here were all the questions (about how to deal with digital resources) that we really needed to start talking and thinking about, especially with respect to future digital donations to the library.

If you were to offer one piece of advice to aspiring digital preservationists what would it be?

I see a potentially huge market for jobs for digital preservationists, but in many cases, for many companies, you will have to first explain the risks and the need, and make the costs of inaction clear, before you can persuade management to put money towards a plan and staffing.

What kind of training events do you foresee holding in the near future?

I plan to present probably the first three modules of the DPOE workshop, Identify, Select, and Store, in April. I will be sending an email to my company (around 260 people) and will present to the first 20 or so people who sign up, on a first-come first-served basis. Depending upon how that goes, I may then offer the next three modules, or teach the first three modules again.

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