This past November I attended iPRES 2015. iPRES is one of the foremost international conferences on digital preservation, and the conference location rotates between North America, Europe, and Asia. iPRES 2015 was hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
UNC Chapel Hill, Louis Round Wilson Library, which houses the university’s archives and special collections. Source: Ildar Sagadejev, CC-BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons
iPRES 2015 was a great opportunity to learn about recent developments in digital preservation research and practice, and to swap stories and ideas with fellow archivists as well as practitioners of many other stripes. The digital preservation community is highly varied and necessarily involves the expertise of multiple professions, and one of the most satisfying elements of my time at iPRES was the chance to look at familiar problems from new angles. Continue reading
This past May, I was fortunate to participate in the DigCCurr Professional Institute on Curation Practices for the Digital Object Lifecycle at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Led by UNC-CH faculty members Dr. Helen Tibbo and Dr. Christopher (Cal) Lee and taught by digital curation experts, the DigCCurr Institute brings together government, university, and private-sector information professionals for a week’s study of strategies and methods for the long-term management of digital materials.
DigCCurr 2012 instructors and participants on the last day of the Institute
Of the 35 participants in the Institute, I was the only municipal government employee; other participants came from institutions as diverse as the Yukon Archives, the University of Melbourne, the Silicon Valley-based Computer History Museum, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Despite our institutions’ respective differences in size, location, and acquisition mandate, the results of the pre-institute survey that participants completed showed similarities in both the nature of our holdings and the difficulties we face in caring for them. Continue reading
Digital curation is an emerging challenge that applies what archivists already do
- receive donations
- decide which elements have lasting value
- process and store them
- provide access to researchers
to digital materials. This creates new challenges. For instance, we have to provide the digital materials in forms that are useful to many different communities, such as technology professionals, data scientists, librarians, and humanities researchers. Each of these professions (and more) are working in various ways to come up with digital curation solutions.
Professional conferences are typically a meeting of the minds of people from a single profession. This means that different communities are each coming up with their own digital curation solutions in a vacuum and missing out on the benefits of collaboration. The unconference format addresses this flaw.
Unconferences tend to be based around a topic area rather than a profession. I recently funded my own attendance to CURATEcamp 2011 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. CURATEcamp defines itself as “a series of unconference-style events focused on connecting practitioners and technologists interested in digital curation.” The themes of each session are provided by participants rather than set in advance: as of the first morning, the schedule was an empty slate. First, we learned the informal procedure of the event, which was a challenge for some of us who are used to highly structured professional conferences.. After this introduction, the organizers asked us to go away for coffee, talk to each other and then come back with our ideas to fill in the schedule.
The blank schedule on the whiteboard was daunting at first and it changed several times over the course of the two-day event, but these are the sessions we came up with. If you follow the link, you’ll find that some attendees linked their notes from the session to the schedule grid. Continue reading