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Digital Preservation 2012: The Power of Community

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In a world of video and web conferencing, text messaging, email, immersive communications and (almost forgot!) telephones, we seem to have eliminated the practical need to ever meet with people face-to-face.

Tim O'Reilly at NDIIPP/NDSA 2011 Meeting
Tim O'Reilly at the 2011 NDIIPP/NDSA Meeting. Photo credit: Abby Lewis

So why even have a meeting like we’re holding this week, the Digital Preservation 2012 conference? (July 24-26 at the Sheraton Pentagon City in Arlington, Va in case it slipped your mind…).

While Web 3.0 technologies will undoubtedly make our lives much easier, they’ll never replace the power of real community achieved when people get together in person to discuss issues, share ideas and work together on solving shared problems.

Plus, meetings are fun, entertaining and educational!

This is certainly the case for the Digital Preservation 2012 meeting. The meeting kicks off on Tuesday July 24 with a series of public presentations from some of the most insightful commentators on digital culture.

Anil Dash by user mirka23 on Flickr
Anil Dash by user mirka23 on Flickr

It starts with Anil Dash, the founding director of Expert Labs, an organization that helps agencies in federal, state and local government listen to the ideas and insights of citizens. Dash is “an entrepreneur, writer and geek living in New York City, obsessed with the ways that technology shapes and transforms culture, media, government and society.” He’s also a very dynamic speaker exploring a variety of technological innovations that promise to shape the way people communicate.

We then turn to David Weinberger, a senior researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. “Senior researcher” really fails to capture the range of his activities and interests. He’s the author of a number of influential books, including The Cluetrain Manifesto, Small Pieces Loosely Joined and Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder, as well as a frequent commentator on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and a frequent author in business and technology journals. If that weren’t enough, he’s also the Co-Director of the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and was a Franklin Fellow at the United States Department of State.

But wait, there’s more!

Michael Carroll CC Summit 2011 Warsaw by user kalexanderson on Flickr
Michael Carroll CC Summit 2011 Warsaw by user kalexanderson on Flickr

Next up is Michael Carroll, Professor of Law and Director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University Washington College of Law. He’s a founding member of Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. His research focuses on the search for balance in intellectual property law over time in the face of challenges posed by new technologies.

Finally, joining us from Europe is Bram van der Werf, the Executive Director of the Open Planets Foundation. OPF was founded in March 2010 to provide practical tools, solutions and expertise in digital preservation, building on the investments made by the European Union and the Planets consortium, which brought together sixteen major European research and national libraries, national archives, leading technology companies and research universities to improve decision-making about long-term preservation, ensure long-term access to valued digital content and control the costs of preservation..

And that’s just day one!

Day two, Wednesday July 25, includes main room panel discussions on “Big Data Stewardship,” “Preserving Digital Culture” and “Funding the Digital Preservation Agenda,” along with breakout sessions on a huge variety of digital preservation, curation and stewardship issues, including demos of some of the most innovative current preservation tools.

17 August 2010 by user carmendarlene on Flickr
17 August 2010 by user carmendarlene on Flickr

If possible, day three, Thursday July 26, is even more interesting because you get to help set the agenda. NDIIPP is co-facilitating CurateCamp: Processing with folks from the National Archives and Yale University. CurateCamps are a series of unconference-style events focused on connecting practitioners and technologists interested in digital curation. CurateCamp:Processing will explore both the “computational” and “archival” senses of processing, and bring together archivists and curators with software developers and engineers to do some creative thinking and tinkering.

Three days, man! Three days! The Digital Preservation meeting only happens once a year, so we cram in as much activity as we can.

Follow the action at #digpres12 on Twitter, but attend in person if you can. There’s nothing like the power of face-to-face community.

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