‘How can we make sure we can access our important digital data in the future?’ was the tagline for ‘Aye Preserve’ – a half day event hosted by the University of Glasgow (UoG) and the Digital Preservation Coalition in Glasgow at the end of February.
The UoG and DPC, inspired by similar meetups in Edinburgh, conjectured that local practitioners probably face this question in their own work. The task of preserving digital data can be complicated and many professionals with this responsibility face an uphill battle to establish digital preservation programmes in their organisations. Hearing from peers in other organisations who face the same difficulties and uncertainty might provide some much-needed encouragement. And exchanging tips and tricks learned along the way can help us all get ahead. So, we thought we would give it a go – book a room and send out an open invite to the digital preservationistas of Glasgow and the West of Scotland and beyond.
As it turns out, there are indeed other practitioners out there—from Argyll to Cardiff—facing these challenges. Lots of them – so many we sold out two weeks before the event.
Spending the afternoon in the West at #ayepreserve— Jenny Hunt (@jennyhuntdp) February 27, 2017
Seven brave souls agreed to share with us their digital challenges and ambitions.
We heard from Nicola Siminson from the Glasgow School of Art Library who chronicled the efforts to preserve the restoration of the Mackintosh Library after the 2014 fire.
Alasdair Bachell from Scottish and Southern Energy stressed the importance of close relations with IT in the effort to preserve corporate heritage.
#ayepreserve http;//www.sseheritage.org.uk - todays commercial sector voice— Paul Stokes (@PuckOfPooksHill) February 27, 2017
Robbie Ireland treated attendees to a short picture show to demonstrate how the Digital Library lies at the heart of BBC Scotland.
#ayepreserve film preservation work at BBC sounds highly transferable— Valerie McCutcheon (@mccutchv) February 27, 2017
These and other generous speakers helped to demonstrate the broad range of issues facing digital preservation.
Last week the UofG and DPC got together for a debrief – to exchange notes and reflect on the day. Using feedback from the Open Mic session and a ‘comments box’ – we aimed to decide if ‘Aye Preserve’ could be more than a one-off event. If so, what would future meetings look like? What worked? What didn’t work? What topics do people want to tackle?
The final verdict: yes to more Aye Preserve events! The organisers and the attendees agreed the day was productive and that future meetups would be welcome. Most agreed that the best way forward are gatherings in an informal setting where practitioners can talk to each other as well as discuss issues as a whole group. Taking a hint from comment cards, we hope to see more involvement from the private sector and to hear from commercial perspectives. Everyone wants more information about costing digital preservation and also about the challenges caused by legacy systems and transitioning to new technology.
Hopefully see you next time at Aye Preserve.