Valerie McCutcheon

Valerie McCutcheon

Last updated on 10 March 2017

The University of Glasgow is delighted to have become a full member of the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC). This joint initiative between the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII) and the Library builds on seven years of collaboration between HATII and the DPC. Our membership decision comes as the University finalises our own Digital Preservation Policy, creates our high level DP plans and engages with the Jisc's pilot preservation project. We look forward to collaborating with and contributing to the DPC and its broad membership as we manage the challenges that DP brings.

Like any UK University we are constantly accumulating digital records. Our most important corporate records are being created digitally and with the help of the DPC there is a stronger chance they will survive in the University Archive with the parchment inherited from our 15th century founders. The accumulation of research and teaching collections is also constant.  A significant proportion of all acquisitions are digital and require preservation for compliance and re-use for a time limited period.  A smaller selection of these materials will also be required for posterity as evidence of our institutional impact on the world.  

Preserving our research outputs is important, but just as importantly our graduates must rest assured that their qualifications can be validated throughout the 21st century regardless of the pace of technological advance.  HATII delivers a sector accredited undergraduate programme in Information Studies, and a postgraduate degree in Information Management and Preservation, with a focus on digital curation. This builds on HATII’s 20 years of research experience all aspects of in digital preservation and curation, as well as work undertaken by the Library.

Glasgow blogpostPicture: HATII Information Management and Preservation students play digital preservation game

A group from our Archives and Special Collections, Data Protection and Freedom of Information Office, IT Services, and Research Information Management Team are evaluating digital preservation requirements at the University. 

We will have to navigate many challenges such as how to identify the relevant records for long-term storage, data protection concerns, and software and hardware obsolescence.  

We are delighted to join the DPC and to work in partnership to address our requirements.  The wealth of expertise which we can draw upon as well as the expert consultancy included in the membership will be invaluable.  We are already learning from the informative updates and publications e.g. http://www.dpconline.org/docs/technology-watch-reports/739-dpctw11-01-pdf/file  these can save us considerable resource in researching digital preservation from scratch. The Business Case Toolkit is another tool which we plan to use when we need to make a case for a Digital Preservation project and sustainability of a service.

The DPC mailing list is a useful tool to hear about activities of others and to ask questions.  We are keen to use the network to obtain and share information to make the best use of resources available across the member organisations. 

We recently organised ‘Aye Preserve’ in collaboration with DPC colleagues with the aim of connecting those interested in digital preservation in the West of Scotland.  This was very successful and we look forward to discussing digital preservation further at the next meeting of this group in about six months time.  This activity builds on initiatives developed with DPC over the years, including joint work on EU projects such as 4C, Foster and DigCurV.

As part of membership we get free places at informative events such as the forthcoming ‘Procuring Digital Preservation: A Briefing’ event https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/procuring-digital-preservation-a-briefing-registration-31962236911

Our full membership of the DPC brings with it a seat on the board and the opportunity  to shape the DPCs strategy, our local experience can help to shape the direction and the priorities of the DPC.

While we are still very new full members, we have already benefited from DPC resources and drawn on the expertise of DPC colleagues with our recent 'Aye Preserve' meeting. We know just how fantastic  the DPC is and how the member services can support and develop staff across the University of Glasgow. We are excited to learn and to share via this forum. Watch this space!

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