• ‘Smelling the Digital Flowers’

    Date: 19.02.2012 | Category: Archives, Digital Preservation, Reading | Tags:

    The title from this post came from a talk given by Andrew Featherstone of the Museum of London that was given at  the DPC event ‘Digital Preservation: What I Wish I Knew Before I Started’. The meaning behind this statement was that, when considering digital preservation, it is very easy to get bogged down with solving the immediate problem, without taking the time to read around the subject (project reports/presentations/standards etc).

    I’ve been mulling over what to do for my next blog post, and have even got several half finished posts drafted on my dashboard. I suspect this one might actually make it onto the blog though (perhaps even later today!) as the idea that we should all take time to ‘smell the digital flowers’ really struck a chord with me.

    Earlier this week, I tweeted about needing a day off just to go through some of various links to information on digital preservation that I have found while trawling the net. Today, I’ve finally found the time to sit down and go through a few things and have found some really useful bits and ideas to follow up on.

    Firstly, check out the Digital Preservation Coalition website. They are a key training provider on all things digital preservation and one on the main collaborators who are driving development in this area. They run regular events for all levels of information professional and publish helpful Technology Watch Reports on the challenges of different types of digital material. I was unable to attend their latest event (‘What I Wish I Knew Before I Started’) but have been able to read the slides and ponder the issues raised.

    As well as reading around the subject I’m also planning on attending more events based around the challenges of digital preservation. One of the underlying themes of the subject as a whole seems to be collaboration. Quite often when one reads reports of events, the delegates are initially concerned about whether they will understand the technicalities of digital preservation, but come out of the event feeling empowered once they understand that archivists already have most of the skills required to deal with digital material. I was certainly excited after attending my first event of this type ‘Getting Started in Digital Preservation’ (also run by the Digital Preservation Coalition) – in fact, I think that event is what started me thinking seriously about a possible future as a ‘digital archivist’.

    There is an abundance of really good information out there for anyone interested in digital preservation, and an increasing amount of events to attend and to meet other interested parties. The problem is not one that is going to go away, and it is not something that can wait for the ‘perfect’ solution to come along. Information professionals should be encouraged to experiment as much as possible and to communicate with other interested parties regularly.

    I’m hoping to play around with a few more tools and to write something up here (although I can’t promise anything more coherent than a stream of consciousness!); in the meantime, check out these links and start ‘smelling the digital flowers’!

    http://blogs.ukoln.ac.uk/jisc-bgdp/ <<JISC Beginners Guide to Digital Preservation

    http://www.dpconline.org << Digital Preservation Coalition

    http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue46/rusbridge/ << ‘Excuse me…some digital preservation fallacies’, by Chris Rushbridge

    http://www.clir.org/pubs/archives/ensuring.pdf << ‘Ensuring the longevity of digital information’ by Jeff Rothenberg