Jenny Mitcham

Jenny Mitcham

Last updated on 20 March 2020

What do you do if Covid-19, travel bans and social distancing stops your planned DPC Australasia launch party taking place?

You take your party online of course!

So early (very early) this morning I got myself up, donned a sparkly top, grabbed a glass of orange juice and some cereal and logged on to a virtual party. I briefly toyed with the idea of bringing a glass of wine but regretfully decided it was a step too far at 7am.

William Kilbride and Jaye Weatherburn were our party hosts and were joined by special guest stars, experts and a host of eager digital preservation party people from across Australasia and Europe.

There were two very important reasons to celebrate:

  • Launching DPC Australasia ...more here
  • Announcing the 100th Member of the DPC (a warm welcome to the University of Adelaide) ...more here

 

As well as hearing from colleagues from the University of Melbourne, and DPC Chair and Vice Chair Kevin Ashley and  Juan Bicarregui, invited experts and guest speakers included Barbara Sierman, Marcel Ras, Garth Stewart, Anthea Seles, Neil Beagrie, Adrian Brown and Ali Hayes-Brady. There was much talk of community and collaboration.

Discussion topics included digital preservation challenges, what we wish we'd known before we started in digital preservation, web archiving and our soon-to-be-released Preservation Policy Toolkit. We spent some time reminiscing about the early days of the DPC. This included a look at the first website of the DPC (via the Wayback Machine of course).

 

 

We also had a bit of informal networking with the help of Mentimeter.

Firstly this involved finding out where people were ...with so many of us working at home as a social distancing measure, it was interesting to see what room of the house people most liked to party in. We discovered that some revellers were still in bed and one individual was enjoying the party so much they no longer knew where they were.

We also had clear confirmation that we picked a great day for the party, with the sun shining for most attendees (I suspect mostly the Australasian party goers - it was pretty cloudy here in York).

As well as celebratory drinks ranging from coffee to beer to bubbly, there were a variety of snacks on offer, with traditional party food of biscuits, crisps and nuts being popular alongside breakfast items. Local delicacies from around the world also made an appearance including regional ‘biscuit’ favourites Tunnocks Tea Cakes, Tim Tams (more on them later), Brie and Vegemite (in a variety of forms).

With so many of us working at home, it was also interesting to find out who attendees brought along as their +1. There were sightings of at least one real dog, 2 balloon dogs and one child.

The individual who claimed to have a horse with them did not provide evidence of this fact.

Some attendees really made an effort with their party clothes. A special mention should go to Sarah Jones of the Digital Curation Centre for the most inventive and amazing party wear.

I should also mention the party hats….

Not a scientific count by any means, but at the start of the party there were about 5 hats on display but headwear increased in popularity as the party progressed and the final hat count was around 15. Some attendees claimed to be wearing hats but their camera was switched off so we have to take their word for it. The variety and beauty of some of these hats can be seen below:

 

 

The ‘pub’ quiz

Every good party has games, so we ran an online quiz using Mentimeter. This was an opportunity to test everyone’s knowledge about the DPC. I think there are some areas where more studying is required ...so if anyone wants me to tell them all about DPC RAM I’d be very happy to oblige!

Ultimately Somaya Langley from the University of Sydney was crowned as the DPC quiz champion - well done Somaya, you have clearly been paying attention!

 

DPC biscuit vote

The last important task of the party was to decide on an official DPC biscuit. Nominees had been carefully selected by William Kilbride to represent the locations of our current DPC offices and he was fully prepared to sample the winning biscuit once the result was confirmed.

In a breathtakingly close final, the Salted Caramel Tim Tam (an Australian delicacy) pipped the Scottish Tunnocks Tea Cake to the post at the last minute... just as William was extracting a Tea Cake from its packet, ready to take a bite. A sad day for the Tunnocks Tea Cake but hooray for the Salted Caramel Tim Tam.

Other party highlights

Every good party has memorable moments, here are a few more from me and my colleagues:

  • The build up to the 100th DPC Member announcement...complete with dramatic and stirring music
  • The time when everyone started waving at a small child (who joined the party with yoghurt and unicorn sprinkles)
  • The amazing FREE HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY ...that actually happened
  • The incredible realisation that you can put backgrounds on Zoom...so you can make it look like you are on a desert island
  • The bit when I broke Mentimeter and we had to 'seamlessly' cut to some music and a comfort break!
  • The 'afterparty' bit where just a few stragglers were left and we were enjoying the music too much to want to leave

 

Feedback

And here is a selection of feedback from our guests:

  • "This has cheered me up and been a great start to the day!"
  • "so nice to see everyone online and thanks to the organisers for marking this so much fun"
  • "Congratulations on opening the Australian office, and what a wonderful party. 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😃😀😃"
  • "Bonza event!"

 

Thanks to you all for coming - we couldn't have done it without you! 

 

Silver linings

It is always good to find some silver linings to the situation we find ourselves in...

Firstly, the virtual party format enabled people across the world to join regardless of where they were. Bonus!

Secondly,  no sweeping up of crumbs, washing up or apologising to the neighbours to do afterwards.

Thirdly, no hangover (not for me anyway).

 

A virtual digital preservation community

The DPC have been increasing the number of events we run online but I think this was our first 'virtual launch party'. We think it went pretty well! We're keen to provide future opportunities for the digital preservation community to meet and chat. This will be increasingly important over the coming months as conferences and events are postponed and more and more of us are working from home.

Do watch this space for further news on DP Connect and let’s keep this conversation going!


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