There is no hiding from it. It pops up in your fat stuff (objects), your flat stuff (letters/photos/books) and your in-between stuff (my area, recording media). In preservation, you cannot escape the need to understand digital preservation and the ability to create a plan to address it. You might be saying, "hey, that thing is on paper, it will last forever. Why do I care whether a digital copy exists 5 years from now?" I wonder if you are the same person saying "why don't you have more available online?" And, if you have asked that question, you have probably gotten the answer "It takes a lot of man-hours and resources to digitize collections." And, if you have talked to me you will hear "it takes a lot of digital space to store those collections."
Okay, so now you know a little bit of the background that prompted me to apply for the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach Education (DPOE) Train-the-Trainer event. Everyone has questions, but who is answering them and who has the best answers? In my direct field of interest, when you are dealing with the exclusive creation of born digital oral history interviews, this opens up a whole new need for immediate knowledge of standards and guidlines, not only for myself and KHS, but for the institutions we work with on oral history preservation planning. At it's core, a digital file is a digital file - whether a .tiff or a .wav or a .pdf - so what is the plan?
After attending the 4 day Midwest Region training in August (alongside 20 other midwest representatives) in Indianapolis, I may not have all of the answers, but I know the questions to ask, where to look for resources and the structure for building a digital preservation plan. [thanks to the awesome DPOE trainers: Mary Molinaro (UofK), Robin Dale (LYRASIS), and Jacob Nadal (Brooklyn Historical Society) -- who made this stuff look easy].
Like any complex question, there is no absolute answer, but a series of other questions to ask until you drill down to the best solution for your paritcular situation at a particular time.
SO, how does it work?
The DPOE curriculum is structured by breaking the digital presevation process into 6 segments:
Identify . . . the types of digital content you have.
Select . . . what portion of your digital content will be preserved.
Store . . . your selected content for the long term.
Protect . . . your content from everyday threats and emergency contingencies.
Manage . . . and implement requirements for long term management.
Provide . . . access to digital content over time.
Is your institution (library, archive, history museum, local historical society) grappling with these same questions? Want a place to start building a plan?
I can now provide training in the decision making process for all of these modules. They can be presented individually, comprehensively or in clustered groups and we can start where you need it most (ie: at the beginning, in the middle...) Let me know what the needs are and we can start a conversation about solutions. Have presentation, will travel.
KHS has supported my training certification through DPOE and we hope this can be an extension of our outreach offerings. As the first DPOE train-the-trainer graduate in Kentucky, let me know how I can help you. We are thrilled to have many more Kentucky voices in the international discussion of the future of preservation.
---Sarah Milligan (email@example.com)
Special Thanks to the Indiana State Library for hosting the DPOE trianing along with support from IMLS.
images: top image- http://digitalbevaring.dk/ - with use under the creative commons license
group image: DPOE MIdwest Trainers Group - provided by LOC DPOE office