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Minding the Gaps: Digital Preservation Then and Now

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 15 February 2019

Contirbuting Authors of at the Luanch of Preserveren, Amsterdam 28/11/18Author's Note In 2018 I was invited to write an essay for Dutch colleagues on the experience of the DPC and how the issues that have affected the development of digital preservation capability among our members might provide some comparison, correspondence and convergence with the experience of digital preservation in the Netherlands. Published in Amsterdam on World Digital Preservation Day, the volume presents a comprehensive and thoughtful guide to emerging requirements in this dynamic, diverse but collegiate community. Freely available online, the editors have graciously permitted this re-publication of my own contribution: in part to draw attention to the rest of the work for an English-speaking audience; in part because it is a potted history of the DPC and therefore sits comfortably on the DPC blog and with a DPC audience. Also, somewhat inevitably, this essay summarizes and re-states themes that regular readers of this blog will recognize. But it's a longer read than usual for this blog so make yourself comfortable.

The original volume is an open access publication available online:


It is a privilege to be invited to contribute to this volume on digital preservation in the Netherlands, not least because of the impressive impact that Dutch contributors and projects have had over the years. This short paper will review the experience of close neighbours at the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), identifying themes and gaps from the history of the DPC, and proposing directions for the next decade. In doing so, this paper contemplates common and distinctive challenges; and it renews the longstanding invitation to collaborate, which is a defining characteristic of the digital preservation community around the world.

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Reflections on the Digital Preservation Training Programme

Rachael Muir

Rachael Muir

Last updated on 13 February 2019

Rachael Muir is Assistant Archivist at the Bank of England Archive, and attended the Digital Preservation Training Programme with support from the DPC's Leadership Programme which is generously funded by DPC Supporters


Since qualifying back in 2013, it feels like the advocacy and opportunities around digital preservation have got increasingly visible and louder. Certainly, as wider professional discussions have become more frequent, the gap in my knowledge of this subject area is something that has been playing on my conscience as a 21st century archivist!  Arguably the main function of my role is to preserve, and what if the only records from this century that I know how to safeguard are those which happen to have been created in a physical format….

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Digital Archiving = Educational Opportunity

Jacqui Seargeant

Jacqui Seargeant

Last updated on 11 February 2019

Jacqui Seargeant is the Global Archive Manager for John Dewar & Sons Ltd (Part of the Bacardi Limited group of companies)


February the 4th is a special day within our company because it is our Founder’s Day – a time to remember this day in 1862 when Don Facundo Massó established a small distillery in Santiago de Cuba where he produced the world’s first light-bodied rum. The history of our past is well protected and appreciated on many occasions like this one, but the archive of our future (like that of many organisations) is extremely uncertain in the digital world. So, what are we doing about it?

We are starting out on our journey to establish a digital archive repository for the company and its many brands and assets. It is a large (and somewhat intimidating) project, in a company that employs approximately 7,000 people, across 200 brands and labels with more than 20 production facilities in 11 countries. We have recently recruited a Digital Archivist to help get this project off the ground, which means we now have 6 archivists who are located across four countries, all of whom will play a role in the establishment of our digital archive.

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In Response to the Web & Social Media Archiving for Community & Individual Archives Briefing Day: Archiving Images from Social Media

Rhiannon Lewis

Rhiannon Lewis

Last updated on 11 February 2019

Rhiannon Lewis is a PhD researcher at the School of Advanced Studies, University of London


As someone embarking on a PhD, one which will use digital images and accompanying data from social media as its primary research data set, attending a day that investigates different approaches to doing just that was an excellent point of reflection at an early stage! My research will investigate (re)use of digital images of collection objects from Science Museum Group, how different contexts on social media provide new understandings of the objects. Both digital images, as well as the data that accompanies them, will form the primary evidence for my research. I was therefore keen to find out about methods used by national memory institutions for archiving social media platforms. What were the main considerations when archiving different platforms? What were the best practice standards? How can I (and others) apply these to current research?

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What do you think about the NDSA Levels of Preservation?

Corey Davis

Corey Davis

Last updated on 6 February 2019

Corey Davis is Chair of the Levels Reboot Project Implementation Subgroup for NDSA and Digital Preservation Coordinator for Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL)


As many of you will remember, a very smart group of people–including Megan Phillips, Jefferson Bailey, Andrea Goethals, and Trevor Owens–helped the NDSA launched its Levels of Preservation guidelines in 2013. Since then, they’ve become a fixture in the digital preservation community, influencing practice and helping people make the case for robust infrastructure.

The original intent of the “Levels” was to create a set of recommendations for either preservation practitioners who were just starting out, or for those looking to deepen their preservation strategies.

Organized into five functional areas, the Levels helped frame many of our efforts as we moved forward with the work of digital preservation. Currently, those five functional areas are:

  • Storage and geographic location;
  • File fixity and data integrity;
  • Information security;
  • Metadata; and, 
  • File formats
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Ironing out the digital: Housekeeping at UAL

Elisabeth Thurlow

Elisabeth Thurlow

Last updated on 1 February 2019

Elisabeth Thurlow is Digital Archives & Collections Implementation Manager at the University of the Arts London


Across the six colleges which make up the University of the Arts London (UAL)1 we hold over 120 archives and special collections, many of which contain an increasing amount of digital content – both digitised and born digital materials. These collections chart past and contemporary creative arts practice; the development of art and design education; and the emerging digital arts landscape.

Like others we have been thinking and talking about digital preservation for a number of years. But since January 2018 we have been actively implementing a dedicated digital preservation system, in a collaborative project between our IT Services and collections management staff. A working group of archivists, museum curators, special collections librarians and IT specialists, who together have a shared interest in digital preservation and access.

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Levels of Preservation Reboot Overview and Update

Bradley Daigle

Bradley Daigle

Last updated on 30 January 2019

Bradley Daigle is Chair of the NDSA Coordinating Committee, NDSA Levels of Preservation Working Group and content and strategic expert for the Academic Preservation Trust


A little background

About the NDSA: The National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) is a consortium of preservation-minded organizations scattered across the globe. Do not let the “national” part of the title lead you to believe that this is a US-only effort. We have partners of all shapes and sizes—including some in Canada and, of course, our close friends at the DPC! We currently boast over 220 members and are growing all the time. If you would like to learn more - check out our history in more detail.

About the Levels of Preservation: In the heady early days of the NDSA, a group of thoughtful, smart, and forward-thinking individuals crafted a document called the “Levels of Preservation” (LoP) in 2013. These levels are expressed as a tiered set of guidelines on how organizations could begin to build or enhance their digital preservation activities. They function as the key tool to help practitioners of all levels deploy a sustainable digital preservation strategy. Since that time practitioners across the globe have been working with the LoP and some have been extending and adapting them.

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Form an orderly queue for a chance to takeover the DPC

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 25 January 2019

You may or may not know, that the DPC’s Executive Board has four Sub-Committees which oversee and shape our work. 

Each Sub-Committee is chaired by a Board Director and brings together around 12 people from right across the DPC membership including a diverse mix of people at all points in their careers and across all the sectors and agencies we represent.  They meet quarterly for around two hours, normally by video conference; receiving reports about work we have done in specific areas, and reviewing plans for upcoming or new initiatives, as well as asking for new ideas, thoughts, opinions and actions!

Each one is facilitated by a DPC staffer and we aim to refresh the Sub-Committee membership once a year with some new faces.

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A blog on good practice and standards

Jenny Mitcham

Jenny Mitcham

Last updated on 23 January 2019

When I took on my new job as Head of Good Practice and Standards at the DPC I was told by several people not to stop blogging.

Luckily, the DPC is an organisation that actively encourages blogging - not just from its staff but also from members.

Note to members - Sarah has a blog schedule and you will be on it somewhere - but don’t feel limited by the schedule - you can blog at any time, it really is a great way to share information and make contact with the wider community.

When working as a digital archivist at the University of York I found that one of the challenges of the role was simply keeping up with new developments and initiatives in this ever evolving field...whilst simultaneously juggling meetings, deadlines, projects and other commitments. I tried my best but had to accept that I was fighting a losing battle - there would never be enough hours in the day.

In my new role at the DPC I feel it is all the more important for me to have my ear to the ground and to have a sense of what is going on out there so this challenge continues. Developments around ‘Standards’ should be relatively well defined and perhaps a bit more quantifiable, but ‘Good Practice’ is a harder one to keep on top of. I will do my best but no doubt will still find that there aren’t enough hours in the day!

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The Great iPRES 2019 Digital Preservation Bake-Off is looking for YOUR favorite ingredients and recipes!

Michelle Lindlar

Michelle Lindlar

Last updated on 22 January 2019

Michelle Lindlar is Digital Preservation Team Leader at Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) in Germany and part of the workgroup for iPRES 2019.


Ever wonder how workflows are implemented in other repositories? Do you have a suspicion that there might be a perfect tool for your specific type of content and problem out there, but you haven’t found it yet? Or maybe you are just building a workflow and would like to see how different tools fare in a specific task like file format validation? iPRES2019 has the right session for you and needs your input! But, let me back up a bit …

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