Adam Harwood

Adam Harwood

Last updated on 29 November 2018

Digital Preservation day offers our community a chance to shout from the rooftops that what we do is important for everyone.  This day has given me recourse to consider my role in rooftop shouting and to reflect on how successful I have been in spreading the message about digital preservation.

My role at the University of Sussex is in both research data and digital preservation and I have a lot of opportunities to talk about digital preservation in both spheres.  So I list here everything that I can remember over the past year where I've managed to talk about digital preservation with someone who hasn't been familiar with it before.  What has been my reach this year?  Here is my highly scientific presentation of my findings.

  • Spoke about it in a seminar with approximately 30-40 attendees consisting of professional and academic staff at the University of Sussex, triggering a short discussion.  I estimate that 95% of the audience had not considered digital preservation as a significant factor in their work. Reach: 35 (ish)
  • Had meetings about our digital preservation plans with 2 colleagues in IT services who had not considered it before. Reach: 2
  • Introduced my new manager to the digital preservation community.  Reach: 1
  • Gave two presentations to staff at my place of work on digital preservation and what we are doing about it.  Reach: approximately 40 staff members.
  • Gave a presentation to colleagues at The Keep - a local archive that is a partnership between the University of Sussex, East Sussex Record Office and Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove.  Reach: approximately 40 staff members
  • A colleague in IT services, with whom I have spoken at length about digital preservation over the past 3 years, was able to coherently explain what digital preservation was to another colleague. (I’m particularly happy about this one!)  Reach: 1 (I give myself an extra bonus of 1 for this one!)
  • 2 colleagues in our University web team who attended a presentation I did on digital presentation.  Reach: 2
  • Had a meeting with a colleague in the University communications team about digitally preserving communications content.  Reach: 1
  • Reviewed 10 research data management plans and advised on best digital preservation practices. Reach: 10
  • Carried out 2 workshops on data management for 2 different schools on campus that included a section on digital preservation.  Reach: 30 (approximately)
  • Random conversations with colleagues/academics about digital preservation.  reach: 30 (at a guess)
  • Friends and family I have spoken to about digital preservation who made the mistake of asking just what it is that I do for a living! Reach: 30 (at a guess).

Adding all that up comes to a whopping 223 people - and that’s just the encounters I can remember.  That’s 223 people who might now consider that their digital outputs might need to be appropriately preserved in the future.  I realise that this is a gratuitously self aggrandising post, but I'm sure that there are many more members of the community that have been far more successful than I have been in raising the importance of digital preservation to people who haven't encountered it before. 

This year, I pledge to keep a more scientific record of my digital preservation outreach.  I have a target to beat!

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