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Time to become our own profession?

Sarah Higgins

Sarah Higgins

Last updated on 25 July 2017

William Kilbride asked us earlier this week (Born in a Storm 18 July 2017) what digital preservation professionals say when people ask us what we do. Like him I usually try to go under the radar and say I teach at a University. If pushed I say I teach digital information management – it seems a little more understandable than digital curation. Mostly this is met by a polite silence and a change of subject. Sometimes it leads to a lively discussion – especially if I personalise the message – using their own digital photographs or online bank statements as an example of the types of digital information that needs managing. Sometimes people probe further and ask who wants to study digital information management.

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Born in a Storm

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 18 July 2017

JensTweetIn my last blog I briefly discussed how digital preservation came of age in turbulent times.  There was a lot going on in that post as I tried to make a link between economics and digital preservation, proposing a vital, necessary intervention that the digital preservation community should be making in some thorny but important matters of public policy. But it wasn’t an easy read.  Jenny Mitcham washed down an entire bowl of soup as I mangled three decades of economic history.  With all that going on I didn’t dare add a further digression about our values and how these have been affected by the way the digital preservation community has developed.  But I promised to return to the theme while the topic was still in my mind.  

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Cloudy Culture: Preserving digital culture in the cloud

Lee Hibberd

Lee Hibberd

Last updated on 11 July 2017

 

cloudy culture

Part 3: File fixity and downloading

The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre, National Galleries of Scotland and the Digital Preservation Coalition are working together on a project called Cloudy Culture to explore the potential of cloud services to help preserve digital culture. This is one of a number of pilots under the larger EUDAT project, funded through Horizon2020.

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Getting digital preservation started

Lizz Jennings

Lizz Jennings

Last updated on 10 July 2017

This is a joint blog post by Lizz Jennings (Research Data Librarian (Systems)) and Lizzie Richmond (University Archivist and Records Manager)

The University of Bath has engaged in digital preservation activities since launching our Research Data Archive in 2015.  We outsourced bit-level preservation to Arkivum, and focused development efforts on discovery and interoperability.  Our 50th Anniversary prompted a flurry of interest in our archival materials over the past two years.  Part of this involved a project to digitise videos held in our archives to ensure their accessibility into the future.  Once digitised, the question of how to preserve the content brought us together to discuss options for preservation.

As we discussed the options, we began to realise that tackling digital preservation project by project was likely to lead to an ad-hoc, fragmented approach that was unsustainable and hard to navigate.  We had adequate solutions for the short term for both our particular needs, and decided to focus our efforts on understanding the Library’s digital collections as a starting point for a digital preservation plan.

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What I learned about research data management

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 5 July 2017

Even having been part of the DPC for 4 years now, I still consider myself a relative newbie to the digital preservation world, and I’ll certainly never consider myself a digital preservation ‘native.’ That is to say my background is not archiving/information management/digital preservation/IT or any of the ‘usual’ routes into this weird and wonderful community.

So, I’ll openly admit I’m even more of a novice when it comes to the Research Data Management (RDM) game. I thought I knew what research data is/was (stay tuned for an imminent blog post from William Kilbride on ‘what is data anyway?’), I thought I understood why we look after it, and I thought I was beginning to understand its huge potential.

But, attending the Jisc Research Data Network (RDN) event in York last week made me realise I had a whole lot more to learn.

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DPTP Migration of file formats; understanding loss and how to manage it

Chris Loftus

Chris Loftus

Last updated on 3 July 2017

A DPC bursary enabled me to attend the above event hosted at ULCC last month. As someone from an archives background relatively new to digital preservation, Ed Pinsent’s introduction to this one day course at Senate House - which put forward the suggestion that discussion of file migration has previously been dominated by computer science and technical analysis of file format - was reassuring music to my (until recently) untechnical ears. In the context of the reading and research I had undertaken thus far, the idea of shifting the focus back to people, collections, and content was a welcome one.

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Preserve to Innovate: De-brief on Web Archiving Week 2017 in London

Sara Day Thomson

Sara Day Thomson

Last updated on 30 June 2017

 

From the 12th to the 16th June, the member institutions of IIPC and researchers from a surprising array of backgrounds gathered at the Senate House in London for Web Archiving Week – an amalgamation of the Archives Unleashed hackathon, the annual IIPC conference, and the ReSAW Conference. The week’s activities conveyed a healthy and vibrant picture of current capture and curation practices as well as the use of archived web content for research.

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Planning for a digital preservation ecosystem: small steps and culture change

Caroline Gauld

Caroline Gauld

Last updated on 22 June 2017

They say culture trumps strategy every time so when we devised our Digital Preservation Strategy at the University of Melbourne we built it with culture as the first principle. Our university is fairly large (47,000 students, 6,500 staff and over 100 research centres/institutes) so identifying and preserving valuable digital materials has to be a distributed and cooperative effort, no individual department has the resources to take on the challenge single-handed. The Library already has significant digital collections of enduring value, and also the expertise to lead the preservation strategy, but we know that across the university teams and individuals are managing vast amounts of digital research data, university records and collections locally, and most have little or no support for curation or preservation. Our primary challenge has been how to foster this culture change so that our staff and students recognize both the value of digital materials and their inherent fragility, and take actions to preserve them. 

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Sharing the Load: opportunities and options

Maureen Pennock

Maureen Pennock

Last updated on 19 June 2017

The British Library is many things to many people. We are a place of research, a place of academic endeavour. We are a place of content, a dizzying array of content to marvel the minds and stimulate the senses. We are a place of exhibitions, of outreach, and of engagement. We are a place in the bustling heart of London, a place in the quiet countryside of Yorkshire, and a place online. We are a place of experts applying their expertise, of free Wi-Fi, and of reasonable coffee. We are a place of opportunity.

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No End of History

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 15 June 2017

The DPC’s ‘big data siren’ went off again last month when no less an authority than The Economist proclaimed, ‘The World’s Most Valuable Commodity is no Longer Oil But Data’. Normally a mournful foghorn warning business away from things it cannot (or will not) understand, The Economist has been quite the advocate for the digital economy over the years. But whatever your view on the ‘big data bubble’ there is little doubt about the place data occupies in the long history of the economy: indeed Jack Goody, Michael Clanchy and others would have you believe that control over resources was the principal reason for the invention of literacy in the first place and thus indirectly of data too. You might well conclude that The Economist is sounding a millennia-old headline, ‘how can emergent forms of literacy expand new economic activities’.

DPC maintains a ‘big data siren’ because the commentariat, left or right, seem seldom to consider what data is and whether it’s sustainable. It’s a significant weakness. To the right: if we build an economy on data, are we not building on sand? To the left: can something as fragile as data really induce the end of capitalism? What happens if we place digital preservation into that narrative?

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