A few month’s ago, we announced the release of States of Sustainability: A Review of State Projects funded by the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) (PDF), a report written by Christopher A. Lee of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that provides a review of the Preserving State Government Information Initiative.
The report discusses the challenges state libraries and archives deal with in preserving state electronic records, and how four projects worked to collaborate on technological solutions and capacity building activities within state governments and across state lines. Sharing results through the duration of these projects was key success of the Initiative.
The projects were: Persistent Digital Archives and Library System; A Model Technological and Social Architecture for the Preservation of State Government Digital Information (MTSA); Geospatial Multistate Archive and Preservation Project (GeoMAPP), and the Multi-state Preservation Consortium.
In previous posts, Butch Lazorchak did a stellar job of summarizing the outcomes of both the GeoMAPP project and the MTSA project. I highlighted the work of the PeDALS project in this post. These projects are model examples of state government professionals reaching out across state lines, identifying common challenges, and collaborating on solutions.
When the report was released, we mentioned that we’d be taking a deeper look at the recommendations in the report. One of the recommendations encourages state government professionals to keep looking outward.
Recommendation – Continue to Look Outward
A fundamental factor for continuing success will be state government professionals continuing to look outward. Digital preservation is a highly dynamic arena, with frequent emergence of new projects, technologies, models and funding opportunities. Engagement in and monitoring of professional forums and events is a valuable way to learn about trends, innovations and opportunities. Outreach activities are also essential for informing and revising work practices and approaches. Interstate sharing of experiences and lessons can also help to determine which options and strategies are appropriate in a variety of contexts. Collaboration does not require conformity to a single approach across all states.
Following on to this recommendation, how can the state government community specifically continue to look outward and work on future digital preservation activities? What are opportunities for engagement, learning about available resources, or hearing from organizations about their digital preservation work?
I’ve compiled a list of activities and opportunities that you may already be participating in, working on or thinking about — or want to learn more about.
Participate in Professional Forums
Conferences and meetings are a great way to keep up with dynamic landscape, network with community professionals and share lessons learned. These are just a few upcoming venues that offer these opportunities:
- Society of American Archivists Annual Conference, August 6-11, 2012, San Diego, CA. The Electronic Records Section is having a business meeting during the conference.
- National Conference of State Legislatures, Legislative Summit, August 6-9, Chicago, IL
- National Association of State Chief Information Officers Annual Meeting, Oct. 21-24, San Diego, CA
- Best Practices Exchange, December 4-6, 2012, Annapolis MD
There are also virtual opportunities to participate. If you can’t attend these meetings in person, follow up after the meeting. Find out if there are published presentations, webcasts or blog posts from the conferences. If you find a project presented that was interesting, contact the organization or individual and learn more about it. For our own meeting, DigitalPreservation 2012 later this month, we’ll be blogging about it, and we’ll publish conference presentations, notes and webcasts. Check back with us in August.
The National Digital Stewardship Alliance is also an opportunity to participate virtually in community activities. The NDSA is a diverse membership, including state libraries and archives. Learn more about the NDSA and how you can participate.
Share Your Work
Look for opportunities to use your organization’s communication channels to create visibility. Promote activities, news about project updates and even news where your organization has been recognized by others. Here’s a recent blog post from the National Conference of State Legislatures highlighting their website’s selection in the Library of Congress Web Archives. (Even we leveraged the North Carolina State Archives and Libraries network to promote our resources last year.)
Keep the conversations going and find others in your community with established communication activities. On our blog, we encourage the community to share in their own words the projects they are working on, like here, or what they are learning about, like here. Let us know if you have activities you’d like to share on The Signal.
Stay Abreast of New Resources
Stay informed. For example, the states report (PDF) includes a comprehensive overview of previous state digital preservation activity. It is an excellent resource about collaborative work and could be consulted if your organization is looking for results or to build on previous projects.
Since we view this blog as a community resource (and we hope you do to), share your own activities, opportunities or thoughts in the comments below.