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Looking Back on a Defining Experience: The Residency Class of 2014

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The following is a guest post by Margo Padilla, Program Manager for NDSR-NY.

Residents pose with the James Madison statue at the Library of Congress. Photo credit: Ali Fazal
Residents pose with the James Madison statue at the Library of Congress. Photo credit: Ali Fazal

With a month remaining in the inaugural term of the National Digital Stewardship Residency program, the cohort is busy putting the finishing touches on projects, participating in closing program events and planning future endeavors. Since arriving in Washington DC last September, residents have thoughtfully and tirelessly contributed to the host institutions and to developing NDSR into a sustainable, enriching program we hope will serve as a model for postgraduate residencies. When asked recently if we would do it all again, the answer was a resounding “Yes!”

The resident experience started when ten recent graduates of master’s programs entered a room at the Library of Congress to begin a two-week intensive digital stewardship immersion workshop using the Digital Preservation Outreach & Education Baseline Digital Preservation Curriculum. Sessions were led by digital preservation heavyweights such as Nancy McGovern and Jacob Nadal. Throughout these initial two weeks, we got acquainted with each other, familiarized ourselves with our projects, and exchanged ideas on tools and best practices. We were then dispatched to prestigious host institutions in the DC area to begin work on various digital stewardship-focused projects ranging from identifying the digital curation requirements for time‐based media art to accessibility standards and policies.

We’ve documented project progress and research findings on our individual blogs and have been remarkably active on Twitter (#NDSR). We have presented at national conferences such as ALA Midwinter and WebWise. Most recently, Residents presented at the Coalition for Networked Information Spring Meeting as well as at my host institution, University of Maryland Libraries and Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, at a MITH Digital Dialogue. The NDSR residents were also warmly welcomed at the past three Digital Cultural Heritage DC meetups to discuss their work.

The enthusiasm for the NDSR program has been evident wherever we’ve gone and we’re excited to welcome new residents into our ranks. The Institute of Museum and Library Services has funded the program in New York and Boston, which are currently accepting applications from interested participants through the end of May. I’m very pleased to be staying involved with NDSR as the Program Manager for NDSR-NY, which is being administered by the Metropolitan New York Library Council with project partner Brooklyn Historical Society. I plan to use my experience as a resident to refine and further develop the program and ensure that incoming cohorts have a solid working and learning experience that leaves them prepared to meaningfully contribute to the field of digital stewardship within the library, archives, and museum community.

From left to right: Molly Schwartz, Erica Titkemeyer, Lauren Work, and Margo Padilla at the MITH Digital Dialogue. Photo credit: Stephanie Sapienza
From left to right: Molly Schwartz, Erica Titkemeyer, Lauren Work, and Margo Padilla at the MITH Digital Dialogue. Photo credit: Stephanie Sapienza

The inaugural year of the NDSR program brought together a stellar group of individuals. Over the past eight months, we have each provided our host institutions with documentation, workflows and toolkits that will inform key decision-making and implementation of digital curation requirements. We also had a lot of fun—tours of libraries, visits to museums, road trips and frequent get-togethers. Being the inaugural class was not without its bumps in the road, but with the leadership and strategic planning skills of the cohort, greased with our good humor and the generous support from staff at our host institutions, IMLS, and the Library of Congress, we trust we have streamlined new standards and objectives for future cohorts. We are proud to have contributed to this groundbreaking program conceived, launched, and administered by IMLS and the Library of Congress.

The NDSR program has been a life-changing experience that has had direct influence over my future.  I have also gained a group of people I will turn to professionally throughout my career. Feel free to contact us, we are all more than happy to discuss our experience in the program:

For more information and updates about the program, visit NDSR-DC, NDSR Boston, or NDSR-NY.


  1. As historian for the nonprofit , 501 (C)(3), I have rethinking my electronic file system to your methods. Thank you for your input of information. Keep it up. We will continue to collect history and photographic JPGs on our 107 year old Hillsboro Inlet FL Light Station and Lighthouse. There is still lot of missing information .
    Now it has the strongest light beam from a Lighthouse in the world.
    We will keep it lit for you and others.
    Hib Casselberry, HLPS Historian, Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society, Inc. 671 Lakeside Circle #118, Pompano Beach, FL 33060

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