Carey Garvie

Carey Garvie

Last updated on 2 November 2023

This blog has been written by Carey Garvie, Senior Digital Preservation Specialist, Library Systems & Digital Preservation and Susannah Bourke, Digital Archivist, Description Original Materials at State Library Victoria

This year’s theme for World Digital Preservation Day - Digital Preservation: A Concerted Effort feels extremely pertinent to our experience over the last year. In December 2022, State Library Victoria appointed two new Digital Preservation positions. Together these roles have been focused on setting up procedures and equipment for processing incoming and legacy digital acquisitions. One of the first steps has been to set up a working group of staff from across the acquisitions, description and library systems teams who process unpublished digital materials for the collection. This group has been working together to map out current workflows, identify opportunities for improvement and document procedures. While this was occurring a search was also underway for a location to set up the digital preservation equipment.

When you start at the Library one of the first things Technology makes you do is print off a staff map of the building. Why? Well while the Library looks like a single building from the outside inside it’s over 20 buildings cobbled together through staircases, tunnels and mystery doors. There are places with wonderful names like the Elephant lift, Catacombs and Pendulum staircase that date back to the days when it also held the Museum. Rumours abound of missing staff lost in the bowels of the building never to be seen again. While we’ve not yet come across any human skeletons, we’re increasingly being informed of technological ones in strange locations including the mysterious Quadriga room.

Much like the room of requirement in the Harry Potter films this room was known by a variety of other names and no one was entirely clear on its location or use. Several months ago the room finally revealed itself just when we needed it to! Unlike in the Harry Potter films though the room didn’t come fully equipped and ready for use. The bare bones were there including more power points and data ports than a digital archivist could dream of. In a temperature-controlled room with built-in benches and a large cupboard … could all this be true? What was the catch? It turns out there were several hurdles that we still needed to address including; whether anyone was still using the room, who we needed to speak to about taking it over, did the data ports work, who owned all of the AV equipment in it, how could we get it removed and how could we get the room reconfigured for our purposes.



Thus began another journey over the last few months of working with our Property and Technology teams to set the space up. A stocktake of the room was undertaken identifying a mixture of audiovisual equipment, some of which was chained to the benches, that belonged to a variety of teams. A locked box labelled keys was discovered but unfortunately, no key was found for the box! If only this was a Harry Potter film and we could wave a magic wand to clear everything up but alas no. Working with Property we managed to get the audiovisual equipment relocated and the room thoroughly cleaned. With that step completed we then began negotiating with Technology to have the data ports connected and configured as required. They’ve also been assisting us in moving our equipment in and setting it up.

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It’s been a long process with a lot of stops and starts but last week everything finally came together and we were able to hold our first training session with staff on the new processing procedures in our new workspace. None of this would have been possible without a concerted effort from staff across the organisation.

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