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The 2014 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship is Released

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Since its founding in December 2010, the National Digital Stewardship Alliance has worked to establish, maintain, and advance the capacity to preserve our nation’s digital resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

In late 2012 the NDSA Coordinating Committee, in partnership with NDSA working group chairs, began brainstorming ways to leverage the NDSA’s national membership and broad expertise to raise the profile of digital stewardship issues to legislators, funders and other decision-makers. The National Agenda for Digital Stewardship became the vehicle to highlight, on an ongoing, annual basis, the key issues that affect digital stewardship practice most effectively for decision-makers.

The NDSA is excited to announce the release of the inaugural Agenda today in conjunction with the Digital Preservation 2013 meeting.

“The Agenda identifies our most pressing digital preservation challenges as a nation and gives us the direction to deal with them collaboratively,” said Andrea Goethals, the Digital Preservation and Repository Services Manager at the Harvard University Library and one of the Agenda’s authors.

Effective digital stewardship is vital to maintaining the public records necessary for understanding and evaluating government actions; the scientific evidence base for replicating experiments, building on prior knowledge; and the preservation of the nation’s cultural heritage, but in the current resource-challenged climate, digital stewardship issues often get lost in the shuffle.

Still, there is broad recognition that the need to ensure that today’s valuable digital content remains accessible, useful, and comprehensible in the future is a worthwhile effort, supporting a thriving economy, a robust democracy, and a rich cultural heritage.

The 2014 National Agenda integrates the perspective of dozens of experts and hundreds of institutions to provide funders and other executive decision-makers with insight into emerging technological trends, gaps in digital stewardship capacity, and key areas for development.

The Agenda informs individual organizational efforts, planning, goals, and opinions with the aim to offer inspiration and guidance and suggest potential directions and key areas of inquiry for research and future work in digital stewardship.

The Agenda is designed to generate comment and conversation over the coming months in order to impact future activities, policies, strategies and actions that ensure that digital content of vital importance to the nation is acquired, managed, organized, preserved and accessible for as long as necessary.

In addition to the discussions during the Digital Preservation 2013 meeting, a series of webinars will be scheduled over the next few months to provide further opportunities for the digital stewardship community to learn more about the agenda and explore opportunities to put it into practice.

The release of the inaugural Agenda is an important milestone in digital stewardship practice. For more information follow the activity on Twitter (hashtag: #nationalagenda or @NDSA2) and read more about the NDSA and the Agenda on the Signal.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the Agenda in the comments.

Comments (2)

  1. I’ve just seen this report, as the PrestoCentre Newsletter for May 2014 has highlighted it. I was very disappointed in the content of the brief paragraph on Moving Image and Recorded Sound ‘stewardship’. Factually it was quite wrong, saying that ordinary people couldn’t easily make ‘a movie’ until, of all things, the Betacam was created. Betacam is video, not film. Perhaps you meant camcorder? But for fifty years before the camcorder ordinary people could buy ‘real film’ cameras, and the 8mm formats were extremely popular, globally, in the 30 years before camcorders.
    But the glaring omission was any indication of the current crisis in any audiovisual content still on shelves. Probably 70% of it will never get digitised and will be lost, if current trends continue. THIS IS A WORLD CRISIS, it is happening now, and your report doesn’t hint at it.
    Finally, I’m disappointed that only institutions can join the NDSA and try to make a better case for audiovisual matters. I’m just a person, not an institution, but I would like to contribute.

  2. Richard,

    Thanks for the note. The National Agenda attempts to cover a number of digital stewardship issues at a high level, geared towards decision-makers and legislators, and such is the case with the coverage of particular content types. The content types identified in the 2014 Agenda were pulled out because the authors wanted to draw extra attention to them, even while acknowledging that digital content in general is in need of greater stewardship.

    You’ll see more detailed recommendations in the 2015 National Agenda, scheduled to be released in conjunction with the Digital Preservation 2014 meeting in July of this year.

    The NDSA was established as a alliance of organizations rather than individuals because it built on the organizational partnerships that had developed out of the NDIIPP partnerships. The goal of organizational membership is to secure and leverage institutional initiatives to support the ongoing development and sustainability of a network of committed digital stewardship partnerships.

    The Signal blog often publishes information on NDSA activities, and a great way for individuals to participate in the NDSA work is to comment on posts. We welcome any insight you can bring to digital stewardship issues.

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