Julienne Pascoe

Julienne Pascoe

Last updated on 3 November 2023

Julienne Pascoe is a Digital Archivist for Library and Archives Canada.

Digital Preservation is a collaborative effort, one that benefits from a variety of perspectives, expertise, and multifaceted participation. As a Digital Archivist at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), I work closely with my team in our section, Digital Integration, as well as colleagues in the Digital Preservation section, to perform a variety of tasks and services in ensuring that digital records are transferred, assessed, and preserved for sustainable access in the future. The stewardship of our digital legacy would not be possible without a collaborative, concerted effort with my colleagues who contain invaluable, diverse expertise and perspectives that combine to research and devise strategies for tackling the many nuanced digital preservation challenges. This collaborative effort to ensure continued access to our digital legacy extends to (and relies upon) the community that we are a part of, the digital preservation community, and it is this subject that I would like to discuss in my blog post today. More specifically I would like to discuss my experience as a ‘first-timer’ with the DPC this year, and the value that such a network brings to my role as a digital preservation practitioner. 

While I have been aware of the DPC as a resource for the digital preservation community for some time, and often referred to its website for information, this year marked the first time I actively participated in several of its committees and working groups as well as attended its various clinics, courses, and webinars. I thus consider myself to be a “first-timer” with the DPC this year in terms of taking on a more active role in the coalition. At the start of the year, I joined the DPC Python Study Group (PSG) transition team as well as one of the sub-committees, the Advocacy and Community Engagement sub-committee (ACE). Both groups offered different experiences of collaborating with the DPC, as well as insight into their supportive role in the community, one that has sustained benefits in the day-to-day operations on the ground in digital preservation. 

I’ll start with my experience in the PSG transition team. This DPC-led project was developed around the start of 2023 to continue the program started by BitCurator, which facilitated peer-supported study groups for participants to learn Python. In partnership with BitCurator, the DPC took on this project to provide additional administrative support and structure so that it can continue as a vital opportunity for digital preservation practitioners to learn programming skills and support each other along the way. I joined the Content team and we have been meeting monthly to assist in reviewing existing resources and developing additional content that can provide some starting points for exploring Python with other digital preservation colleagues. This work has demonstrated the value of both the work that is being done (supported by DPC and BitCurator), as well as provided opportunities for collaboration with peers who have a variety of expertise and perspectives to contribute to developing a program geared to further support of their colleagues in this important technical area of professional development. By investing in this program, the DPC is indicating its awareness of the need in this community for training and resources but also peer-related support and frameworks for this to occur.

As for my experience on the ACE sub-committee, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but then it came as no surprise that the DPC’s commitment to all things digital preservation was represented in the proceedings of this committee. I was rather impressed by how organized and thorough the ACE charter and work plans were and how these resources connected to their overarching goals of transparency, community and advocacy. Through my participation, I was able to see the many areas that DPC was developing, all with the goal of supporting digital preservation communities and sustaining advocacy through partnerships, resource development, events and training. In addition to the specific programming that was discussed at the meetings, the committee demonstrated the prioritization of transparency and collaboration in which the DPC operates - ensuring that programs align with community requirements and that members have a voice in its direction. One thing I have noticed with the DPC is they immediately make you feel welcome and encouraged, and this was demonstrated in the ACE committee in which they continually seek out the input of their members and make them feel welcome to do so.

In addition to the two groups I have participated in, I have also benefited from DPC resources, training, and events. Digital preservation is a quickly moving field, and as a practitioner it is vital to be aware of new technologies, standards and resources while feeling supported and connected to colleagues in the field. Some of the resources that I have found particularly useful are the Bit List, Procurement Toolkit, Technology Watch Publications, Digital Preservation Handbook, Novice to Know How: Email Preservation, DPC clinics and webinars, as well as the recently released frameworks for assessing program and personal development in digital preservation (RAM and CAT). There are many others that I could mention, and I know my colleagues have their own ongoing collaborations and experiences with the DPC that we then draw from as a team. 

Lastly, throughout my ‘first timer’ year with the DPC, I have felt my knowledge and understanding of the field and its complexities expand, while also feeling a little less isolated in our endeavors at LAC. This alone has important consequences for the mental health of digital preservation practitioners (another area the DPC is involved in!), and I think it is important to underscore this often unrecognized benefit of having a community to engage with in your domain of expertise, especially one as challenging as digital preservation. One has to acknowledge both the direct and indirect role the DPC has in facilitating this community and interpreting its importance.

So with that final note, I hope the DPC doesn’t mind being the subject of my post (and a little praise being directed at them!) but in light of it being WDPD and their ongoing efforts to advocate and support this community, I think it is a rather fitting topic for the WDPD23 theme, ‘Digital Preservation: A Concerted Effort’. Without the DPC’s active role in bringing us all together, the herculean task of preserving digital heritage would be ever more daunting. While we all come together to play the digital preservation ‘symphony’ as its orchestra, it is community-based organizations such as the DPC and their role as a ‘conductor’ that helps bring us all together in harmony.



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