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Home of the Future: How we would like to be and where we are

John McDonough

John McDonough

Last updated on 11 May 2017

And so the National Archives has been asked to blog about digital preservation. 

I guess this will be aspirational at best as I think of how we would like to be and where we are.  The National Archives has for the last while been endeavouring to develop a Public Service Records Management plan (PSRM) across the Irish civil service.  The plan is intended to progress the drafting and distribution of guidelines and information notes on how best to manage administrative records and to begin to address the myriad questions we receive on a weekly basis about email management, digital archiving, file naming, version control etc.

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Are we there yet? Understanding digital preservation costs and benefits.

Neil Beagrie

Neil Beagrie

Last updated on 11 May 2017

Over the last 18 months I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to reflect, research, and synthesise with colleagues, what we have learnt about costs and benefits from digital curation and preservation. The results are now published in a cost-benefit advocacy toolkit released by the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA).

It was a small project focussed on the needs of social science data archives but much of what it has done will be of interest to anyone involved in digital preservation and repositories.

So what have we learnt over recent years, and to borrow from the title of this blog, are we there yet?

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Instaforever: a digital preservation perspective on social media

Sara Day Thomson

Sara Day Thomson

Last updated on 11 May 2017

At first glance, the terms ‘social media’ and ‘long-term preservation’ do not seem to belong in the same sentence. The two terms are perhaps even incompatible, mutually exclusive, and contradictory.

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Obsolescence 2.0 Digital Preservation by people, for people

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 2 May 2017

On Sale at All Good Pharmacies: Eternal Life

There’s a paradox that links digital preservation with medicine. Digital preservation systems are subject to the same obsolescence that they exist to guard against: and even great doctors catch colds. I believe my doctor is mortal but that doesn’t mean I reject her advice. Her advice is not intrinsically dependent on her own experience but is situated within a global, dynamic community of research and practice. The medical profession deals with the problem of its own mortality by shifting the locus of their competence from the specific to the general. So, if mortality is to medicine what obsolescence is to digital preservation, and if really great doctors don’t have to prove themselves by living forever, what about digital preservation tools? What should we do about the problem of obsolescence? Should truly great digital preservation systems demonstrate their worth by living forever? What is the locus of their competence?

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Quantitative File Formats for Preservation

Jenny O'Neill

Jenny O'Neill

Last updated on 28 April 2017

Last month I emailed William Kilbride at DPC with a query about file formats for quantitative data for long term preservation and, as a result of that email and the ensuing conversation, I appear to have agreed to write a blog post about the topic. Here is that blog post.

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With luck, it’s a swinging door

Sheila Morrissey

Sheila Morrissey

Last updated on 26 April 2017

In his most recent blog post, William Kilbride reminded us that we in the digital preservation community “cannot make the case [for preservation] on our own terms. We need to make the case in terms that our audience understand” so that “preservation becomes an intrinsically achievable goal from the outset, not something we need to tack on at the end.”

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Losing all hope to find freedom: Fail Club is here to help

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 3 August 2017

Well, with any luck things aren’t so bad that all hope is lost. But freedom, or at least enlightenment, may well be on the horizon!

Its not supposed to look like that

What do you mean it's not supposed to look like that?!

(Image courtesy of glennbphotoThe Atlas of Digital Damages)

Last summer, beneath the lofty cathedral-esque ceiling of York’s Guildhall, a group of troubled digital preservationists held their heads in their hands.

‘If only there was a way we could talk openly about our workflow woes,’ they cried.

‘It would make the task seem so much easier if I could just share what’s going wrong with someone who understands what I am going through,’ they confessed.

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Beware of the Leopard! Oxford’s adventures in the bottom drawer

Sarah Mason

Sarah Mason

Last updated on 18 April 2017

The Bodleian Libraries have partnered with Cambridge University Library on a two-year collaborative project: Digital Preservation at Oxford and Cambridge (DPOC). Funded by the Polonsky Foundation, the project is  researching and developing requirements for each library’s digital preservation programmes. Both libraries have appointed three Polonsky Fellows each, specialising in the following areas: Policy and Planning, Outreach and Training, and Technology.

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Chippy campaigning: how the DPC likes to spend its ‘spare’ time

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 12 April 2017

November 2016 saw the culmination of possibly the most exciting Digital Preservation Awards EVER! Well, it was for me anyway. Here’s why: we attracted more nominations than ever before – more than 30 from around the world and many from outside the Coalition too, we were able to offer more categories than ever before including a long overdue celebration of the work of our colleagues in commercial organisations and industry, the event was live streamed enabling another 300 people to watch on the night and after the event, #DPA2016 trended in the top 6 UK hashtags that evening (my personal highlight) AND everyone had a great time!

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A foot in the door is worth two on the desk

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 2 May 2017

Shibboleth

I am asked, from time to time, how to persuade management that digital preservation matters. It’s a puzzling question in context and content. For a start, I am not sure I have ever persuaded anyone of anything. I have been on hand when people persuaded themselves but that’s not the same thing. It’s like finding the fire brigade at the scene of every major fire and assuming they are to blame. Moreover, I am not sure it’s possible to offer a global shibboleth for digital preservation that will work for all time zones and all sectors. I’m not saying it’s not possible to make the case but, in this particular conversation contexts matter. A lot of local truths don’t make a universal one.

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