Bryony Hooper

Bryony Hooper

Last updated on 14 June 2023

Bryony Hooper is the Digital Preservation Manager at the University of Sheffield

At the University of Sheffield, we have established a Digital Preservation Advisory Group (DPAG) which is composed of staff across the University who provide support and oversight for the coordination of our Digital Preservation activities. We meet periodically and make recommendations for the University’s Digital Preservation Service, including policy and strategic planning, as well as the development of resources needed to fulfil our mission. That mission is that the Digital Preservation Service seeks to facilitate the long-term discovery of, and access to, key information assets of the University. The University aims to embed good practice in digital preservation throughout the organization to enable new opportunities, while safeguarding institutional and cultural memory.

For the inaugural meeting of DPAG, I used the Bit List to help open up our initial discussions and get the group engaged with what the Digital Preservation Service could do for the institution in terms of risk mitigation. I presented to the group slides which highlighted in bold all the files we are likely to have unmanaged on our servers which feature on the Bit List as vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered (and red for unknown!). This was a really useful way to get staff to think about the level of risk we are carrying as a university.

One of the most impactful things about using the Bit List in this way was that I was able to demonstrate risk by pointing to an independently verified resource… rather than staff just hearing from me that these digital materials were at risk. It was a really effective method for delivering that message and getting those new to Digital Preservation to think about the implication of not safeguarding our data properly.

The takeaways from our initial meeting included a range of ideas on priorities and scope for digital preservation at the University, and a greater understanding (for me) of the University's drivers for change. There was also a level of enthusiasm for the tasks ahead which came from that initial DPAG meeting. I believe that was helped in part by our ability to look at external outputs such as the Bit List, and maturity models against which the University can measure its progress and impact in digital preservation.


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