Nancy McGovern

Nancy McGovern

Last updated on 5 November 2021

Nancy McGovern is Director of Digital Preservation at MIT

WDPD’s theme Breaking Down Barriers is perfect for this year! I know I’ve been working on all kinds of barriers this year. These are some of my barrier busting examples from this year:

ICA Managing Digital Archives course: This one comes first because it’s the most recent – it’s launching today! It’s been so rewarding to collaborate with Margaret Crockett at ICA, my co-creator, with significant contributions from Kari Smith of Global Archivist. One of our objectives was to help organizations with limited resources, a common barrier, to build their capacity by providing an accessible and comprehensive course that is lifecycle-based and grounded in standards and good practice. More info here: 

Quick related follow up from last year: Our course distinguishes digital archives from digital preservation while showing how these two domains fit together. My Digital Archives and Preservation (DAP) Framework entry, a disambiguation of these two core domains, came out this year – this might be an example of a barrier to understanding and collaboration? It’s in the Handbook of Archival Practice: along with lots of other great entries including some wonderful contributions about digital preservation. Common use of words help to bridge domain and other barriers to understanding to work together more productively.

With lots of help from DPC’s Sarah Middleton, it was rewarding to continue working on the iPres Working Group (iWG). Since our overview of the iWG outcomes at iPres 2019, a lot of people have contributed to addressing the 13 recommendations we derived from feedback from the iPres community. The recommendations focus on a number of barriers that as they come down will grow the iPres community, use hybrid options for iPres events to reach interested members from everywhere and  align our governance model with the changing needs of our community. It’s exciting that the work of the iWG will continue to work on the remaining recommendations during this interim year. Hopefully you saw the update by Andrea Goethals, new co-chair with Seamus Ross of the iPres Steering Group, at the closing session of iPres 2021. This is the iWG update I shared with STG at iPres 2021: You can explore the iWG wiki here: to see who’s been involved and what we’ve been working on. Thanks to Kate Murray, Andrea Goethals, Micky Lindlar for their leadership and to everyone who  contributed!  

In addition:

  • The Digital Preservation Storage Criteria Working Group continued to work on helping organizations traverse what can be a daunting gap between organizational needs and existing IT support and approaches. We shared updates this year in a poster presentation for iPres 2021 ( and today during an NDSA session ( NDSA coincides with WDPD this year!

  • The Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture (PDT&C) Journal is expanding its scope to better include digital preservation through new members of the editorial board and the possibility of a special issue to complement the 20th anniversary of DPC at iPres 2022 and looking ahead to the 20th anniversary of iPres in 2024. Watch this space:

Following up on related things from last year:

  • The NDSA Levels 2.0 Training Materials we were working on are available to help people make the most of the Levels:

  • The purpose of the Beyond the Repository Toolkit is to help organizations to use distribute digital preservation (DDP) tools. Today at NDSA, the Toolkit is receiving an award – we’re so excited! Please explore the Toolkit if you haven’t already:

The digital preservation community is growing – you can see it expand each year as we learn to bridge barrier after barrier. We have more and more opportunities come together to work on common objectives from wherever we are. Looking forward to seeing everyone’s examples.

Happy WDPD 2021 – such a festive day!

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