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Four Reasons You Might Need Digital Preservation in a Box

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Digital Preservation in a Box, for those who may be unfamiliar, is a compilation of resources from many different organizations, all available in one virtual place.  It’s been around for a little over a year.  To give a brief background, the Box was produced by the National Digital Stewardship Alliance , specifically the Outreach working group, so this was, and is, very much a collaborative effort with our partners in this group.  The initial aim was to consolidate many resources into one convenient place, providing access to basic information geared towards library professionals and educators.

So, what are some specific uses for Digital Preservation in a Box?  Here are four possibilities:

  1. You are taking a digital curation course in library school and you need to find lots of resources to help with your project or research.  (The Digital Preservation 101 section is a good place to start).
  2. You work in a library, museum or other cultural institution and you have been tasked with starting a digital preservation effort.  (Again, see Digital Preservation 101)
  3. You are teaching a college course which includes digital preservation as a component and you are looking for classroom resources. (See the Resources for Educators, and the story below about Dr. Jane Zhang of Catholic University)
  4. You are preparing a presentation on the value of digital preservation.  According to Butch Lazorchak, co-chair of the NDSA outreach working group, “The Box provides a ready-to-use set of resources that help make it easy to talk about digital stewardship.”

These are just a few ways in which Digital Preservation in a Box could be of use.

At this year’s Digital Preservation 2013 conference, I had a chance to present our NDSA poster on this resource.   A lively poster session it was, too – there was a steady stream of attendees who came by to talk about it.  During these conversations, I was pleased to hear one of two things:  either people had used it over the past year and liked it, or, they didn’t know about it, but now they want to use it!  If any of you have just started using this resource, we’d love to hear from you about your experience.

The Box content is organized into some basic sections, each containing links to a variety of resources:

Digital Preservation 101 – contains a wide range of information, with links to tutorials, videos, blogs, to help provide some basic context.  It also includes an overall definition of digital preservation: “the series of managed activities necessary to ensure meaningful continued access, for as long as it is required, to digital objects and materials.”

Preservation by Format – includes links to suggested approaches for preserving photographs, audio, video, email, documents, and websites.  Much of this is focused on smaller, personal collections.

Digital Storage, Cloud computing and Personal Backup – includes links to basic information on cloud storage and other backup options, as well as a timeline history of digital storage.

Resources for Educators – provides curriculum guidance, lesson plans and teaching materials relating to digital preservation and use of the Box materials.  The class syllabi alone provide a good overview of the digital preservation process, complete with useful reading lists.

As an example of using the Box as an educational tool, Dr. Jane Zhang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science at Catholic University of America (and member of the NDSA outreach working group), created a project for her Digital Curation course that included work with the Box.   The students utilized the box materials, suggested additional resources, and presented a public workshop.  The experience was described first hand in a previous blog post by one of the participating students.

In addition to the above, the Box also includes other sections for glossaries, lists of tools, marketing and outreach, event guidance and basic digitization.

We have noticed some recent mentions of the Box – it’s showing up on some good resource lists, such as this one and this one, and it’s use was also mentioned in a recent blog post.  Feel free to add the Box to any of your own digital preservation or library resource lists.

And this is no static “Box”  – we are adding new resources as they become available, and the aim is to continue adding and updating the information to be as current and useful as possible.  Have a suggestion for any additions?  Want to tell us about how you have used this resource?  Let us know in the comment section below.



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