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National Digital Stewardship Residents Conclude Program with Capstone Meeting

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The following is a guest post by Kris Nelson, Program Management Specialist at the Library of Congress and Program Coordinator of the National Digital Stewardship Residency. A version of this article was originally published in the Library of Congress weekly staff newspaper The Gazette.

Residents and program managers at the Capstone Meeting. Photo credit: Amanda Reynolds
Residents and program managers at the Capstone Meeting. Photo credit: Amanda Reynolds

The National Digital Stewardship Residency concluded the inaugural year of the program at its Capstone Meeting, held May 28 in the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building.  The residency program is a collaboration between the Library and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to place 10 recent postgraduates in rigorous field experiences at one of 10 partner institutions.  The Capstone Meeting marked the residents’ completion of nine months of hands-on training in the field of digital stewardship.

Residents completing the program included Julia Blase, resident at the National Security Archive; Maureen McCormick Harlow, resident at the National Library of Medicine; Jaime McCurry, resident at the Folger Shakespeare Library; Lee Nilsson, resident at the Library of Congress; Emily Reynolds, resident at the World Bank Group Archives; Erica Titkemeyer at the Smithsonian Institution Archives and Lauren Work at the Public Broadcasting Service.

Heidi Elaine Dowding, resident at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Margo Padilla, resident at the University of Maryland Libraries and Maryland Institute for Technology in Humanities and Molly Schwartz, resident at the Association of Research Libraries, completed a majority of the program but left early to accept graduate fellowships or employment opportunities.

Christine Borgman provides the keynote address at the meeting. Photo credit: Amanda Reynolds
Christine Borgman provides the keynote address at the meeting. Photo credit: Amanda Reynolds

Director Susan Hildreth of IMLS and Associate Librarian for Library Services Roberta Shaffer of the Library welcomed guests and residents to the program.  Christine Borgman, presidential chair and professor at the University of California, Department of Information Studies, provided a keynote address entitled “Big Data, Big Opportunities.”  According to Borgman, “Data are representations of observations, objects, or other entities used as evidence of phenomena for the purposes of research or scholarship.”  Her address focused on how stakeholders in digital stewardship, including those participating in the residency program, can practice sustainability measures across knowledge infrastructures to ensure the longevity of data use.

Allison Druin, Chief Futurist of the University of Maryland’s Division of Research, provided an address entitled “Call to Action:  the Future of Information Professionals.”   In her message, Druin urged the residents to create a participatory model, blaze new partnering paths and build currency in organizations in order to guide the future of information.  Druin supported her statements with various quotes taken from residents’ publications, including one from resident Emily Reynolds on anticipating the needs of researchers: “One of the hardest parts about digital stewardship: we don’t know what researchers in the future (or even now) want!”

The program concluded with resident Lauren Work speaking about the residents’ experience in the program, reflecting on participation in various conferences and symposia and the great camaraderie among the residents.  George Coulbourne, Executive Program Officer for OSI, and Kristopher Nelson, Program Management Specialist in OSI, presented certificates to the graduates.  Coulbourne offered many thanks for those who supported the program, offered insight into the residents’ post-residency plans, and discussed future plans for the residency.  IMLS is currently funding complementary residency programs in New York City and Boston, with a second cohort being planned for Washington, D.C. in 2015.

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