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Connecting the Bits 2020: The new normal?

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 3 June 2020

Connecting the Bits has always had two objectives:

  • To provide members with a face to face networking opportunity, facilitating good productive chat and knowledge exchange

  • To gather information from members which will inform the development of a program of DPC activities for the following year.

Conscious that the growth of the Coalition meant that a large proportion of the members would be unable to attend in person and contribute to either of these objectives, last year we trialled an online version of this process. While the information required by the DPC was gathered successfully, members missed the opportunity to network and share ideas with each other – so we had grand plans for a return to the face-to-face networking unconference event(s) for 2020!

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Let's do it together

Rachel MacGregor

Rachel MacGregor

Last updated on 27 May 2020

Rachel MacGregor is a Digital Preservation Officer at the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick. 


When I added a note to my diary to remind myself to write a blog piece for the Digital Preservation Coalition I thought I would write about what I was working on at the time - maybe policy writing? Perhaps a tricky file format or some musings on processing workflows*. However as I sit down to write looking out across my suburban cul-de-sac and not at my digital curation workstation I am going to reflect on what I see as my main challenges in working in digital preservation over the coming months (and longer probably).

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Try a Little Tenderness

Sharon McMeekin

Sharon McMeekin

Last updated on 22 May 2020

May 18th- 24th 2020 is Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK, and now, more than ever, it seems apt to turn a spotlight to these issues. This week last year, I wrote a blog post about my own struggles with anxiety and depression, and how they affect my work on a day to day basis. While I now have well established coping mechanisms that help me manage my mental health, the Coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting lockdown, bring with them a whole range of new challenges and I thought I’d write a little about my own experiences so far.

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Risk Alert: Insufficient Technical Metadata

Hannah Merwood

Hannah Merwood

Last updated on 20 May 2020

Hannah Merwood is a Research Assistant in the Digital Archiving department at The National Archives.


Last year Sonia Ranade and Alec Mulinder wrote a blog introducing the work we are doing at The National Archives to create a new method to manage digital preservation risk. In January, our lottery funded research project “Safeguarding the Nation’s Digital Memory'' was launched - a collaborative project with statisticians at the University of Warwick and other UK archive partners to develop a risk management decision-support tool based on data and evidence.  

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Putting archives into bags

Adam Harwood

Adam Harwood

Last updated on 15 May 2020

Adam Harwood is a Research Data & Digital Preservation Technologist at the University of Sussex. 


The University of Sussex Library Special Collections is taking a whole new approach to digital preservation this year and will embrace the do it yourself for no money philosophy. The goal is to use a suite of open source tools and existing infrastructure at the University to create a digital archive.

I’ve been testing out a few different open source tools recently and putting together a workflow to process Special Collections' digital archives. I’ve been meaning to test out Bagger to create AIPs for a while now and last week I spent a morning giving it a test run. I know I find it very helpful reading about how other practitioners have been using digital preservation tools and so I wanted to share my experience of testing Bagger. It was a relatively painless experience…

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The Greatest Hits: Vol. 5 - Don't You Wonder Sometimes ('Bout Audiovisual Preservation)

Amy Currie

Amy Currie

Last updated on 13 May 2020

DPC staff have been involved in very many events and webinars over the years, responding directly to members’ needs and filling the gaps where other advice and support was lacking. The ‘Greatest Hits Collection’ will play that back over the coming months while colleagues and members are working from home and perhaps not able to access other development opportunities. And of course, we’re always open to proposals from members who want to put together their own digital preservation themed mixtape.


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I Went to a Marvellous Party: The Launch of Novice to Know-How

Sharon McMeekin

Sharon McMeekin

Last updated on 11 May 2020

The Build-Up

As I’ve already shared on this blog, on Twitter, by email, to anyone willing to listen…. DPC colleagues and I have been super busy the last few months working on a new online training endeavour, funded by The National Archives (UK), Novice to Know-How (N2N). The project officially finished on 31st March and we went straight into a soft launch to help iron out any wrinkles. But the question then remained, how do we create a fanfare about the official launch in these extraordinary times?

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Preserving the Mystery (Box)

Eleanor Dumbill

Eleanor Dumbill

Last updated on 8 May 2020

Eleanor Dumbill is the Library Support Officer (Research Repository) at the University of Loughborough.


Shortly after joining the repository team at Loughborough, I was presented with a mysterious cardboard box. My colleagues were only able to tell me that the contents were generally related to past doctoral theses and that the box had been sitting under a desk in the office for at least ten years. I’ve been able to use some of my experiences investigating this box in training as an illustration of preservation formats and data management. 

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University of Bristol Case Study

Emma Hancox

Emma Hancox

Last updated on 4 May 2020

Emma Hancox, Digital Archivist at the University of Bristol, explains how we went about developing a new preservation policy for her institution, alongside the development of the Digital Preservation Policy Toolkit.


Our three-day digital preservation policy ‘Book Sprint' grew out of the University of Bristol’s need to create a digital preservation policy to support the preservation of digital collections in Special Collections and the Theatre Collection, and the Digital Preservation Coalition’s awareness that its members would benefit from support with writing their own policies. The DPC Team, a group of invited domain specialists from other DPC members and University of Bristol stakeholders assembled in Bristol to draft the policy’. The plan was that by the end of the process Bristol would have its policy and the DPC would have a Toolkit for other organizations to use in developing their preservation policies.

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First Steps in Digital Preservation

Helen Fisher

Helen Fisher

Last updated on 1 May 2020

Helen Fisher is the University Archivist at the University of Birmingham.


We were asked to write a blog post this time last year but we postponed it because we didn’t really know what to say about our digital preservation journey at that stage. Our turn has come round again, and we can’t put it off any longer, so here goes!

Since 2017 colleagues from different divisions of Library Services at the University of Birmingham have been working together to try to deal with our digital preservation challenges. I’m the University Archivist and am based in the Cadbury Research Library which manages the University’s rare books and archives. I had been concerned for some time about the growing gaps in the University Archives, with digital copies of committee minutes and other record series not being transferred to us, and about the amount of born-digital material scattered across our collections on USB sticks and floppy disks of various sizes

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