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How to make friends and expand your brain: why not give DPC Reading Club a try?

Jenny Mitcham

Jenny Mitcham

Last updated on 24 October 2023

Earlier this year, we established our DPC Reading Club. It is something we had talked about doing for a while but we finally put those thoughts into action and held our first session in April this year. It has been a monthly fixture in our events calendar ever since and we even managed a face-to-face session at our unconference in June.

 

Our Reading Club sessions are small, informal and friendly and genuinely one of the highlights of my month. I was really sad to miss last month’s after being called away to a conference in Stockholm. I mean, the Stockholm conference was great, but I’d so been looking forward to seeing what everyone thought of ‘Alexa, is this a historical record?’! 

 

I’d love to get a few more people coming along though, so this blog post is a series of (highly persuasive) counter arguments to any excuses you might have for not signing up to one of the forthcoming sessions in our events calendar…

 

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DCDC 2023 – Radical Reimagining

Emma Burgham

Emma Burgham

Last updated on 18 October 2023

Emma Burgham is Archivist at the Science and Industry Museum, Science Museum Group. She attended the DCDC 2023 Conference with support from the DPC Career Development Fund, which is funded by DPC Supporters.


I am the Archivist for the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, which is one of five institutions making up the Science Museum Group (SMG). In July 2023, I attended the Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities (DCDC) conference, thanks to a DPC Career Development Fund grant. One of the strengths of the conference is its drawing together of the GLAMA sectors. The museum sector can learn a lot from libraries and archives about digital collecting and preservation practice. Within my institution, there is a drive to prioritise digitised and born-digital archives, so I was keen to hear from a broad range of speakers and delegates working with digital material.

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World Mental Health Day 2023 – More Than a Feeling

Sharon McMeekin

Sharon McMeekin

Last updated on 10 October 2023

Today is World Mental Health Day. It’s a day I always like to mark with a blog post, aka “Sharon’s yearly overshare”. This year I’d actually hoped that things would be a bit different, and I would be able to announce the publication of the report on our Mental Health and Wellbeing survey of the Digital Preservation Community. Alas, time and circumstances have not been on my side and the release date is still a TBC (probably December, *she says with her fingers crossed*).

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Byte-sized Bit List: Using the Bit List to discover video game preservation

Ellie O'Leary

Ellie O'Leary

Last updated on 4 October 2023

Ellie O'Leary is the Administration Manager at the DPC and a part-time PGR student at the University of Glasgow.


There have been some excellent blog posts detailing how the Bit List has been used in various organizations, but I wanted to take this in a more individual direction. 

So, if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to take you back to September 2020 when I started the Masters’ course in Information Management and Preservation at the University of Glasgow. One of the modules in the first semester was “Introduction to Digital Curation” where our first assignment was to take a Bit List entry and write a data report on preserving an example from this entry. To no one’s surprise, I was drawn to the Gaming species and wrote a 2000+ word data report on preserving Wii Fit, based on the mention of unique peripherals on the “Old or Non-current Offline Video Games” entry. This report dived into various elements, from significant properties of video games (hello Preserving Virtual Worlds report!) to the legal challenges of emulation and introduced me to a whole new world.  

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Take-aways from NEDCC Digital Directions 2023: Inclusive online training for anyone working with digital collections

Angelique Bonamy

Angelique Bonamy

Last updated on 2 October 2023

Angélique Bonamy is Associate Archivist, Sound & Film, at the National Railway Museum, Science Museum Group. She attended the NEDCC Digital Directions 2023 Conference with support from the DPC Career Development Fund, which is funded by DPC Supporters.


In June I attended the NEDCC’s Digital Directions online training conference thanks to a Career Development Fund grant from the DPC. I am a film and sound archivist working in a group of museums with a wide range of collections. My knowledge of digital preservation is very tied to audiovisual and I was interested in better understanding digital preservation for a wider range of digital objects. The Digital Direction is a well-rounded package to explore and understand the different facets of digital preservation with sessions presented by professionals pulling from their day-to-day experience and concrete examples. It ranges from digital preservation principles to access to digital collections, whilst covering management of born digital collections, planning of digitisation, copyright considerations, metadata, storage, preservation of audiovisual collections and digital preservation tools.

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What is the carbon footprint of large-scale global digital preservation?

Matthew Addis

Matthew Addis

Last updated on 3 October 2023

Matthew Addis is the Chief Technology Officer at Arkivum.


It was great to be at iPRES 2023 in person again this year.  I was privileged to be invited onto a panel called ‘Tipping Point’ that was run by Paul Stokes and Karen Colbron from Jisc.  The panel questioned the premise that there is so much data being generated each year that we are at the point where we no longer have the ability to process it in any meaningful way, let alone curate and preserve it.  Panellists included Helen Hockx-Yu, Kate Murray, Nancy McGovern, Stephen Abrams, Tim Gollins and William Kilbride.   As you can imagine, the discussion was varied, insightful and thought provoking!  It was perhaps my favourite session at iPRES this year (other than the ever inspiring keynotes). 

For my very small part on the panel, I raised the issue of environmental sustainability and climate change, as did some of the other panellists. 

As an aside, environmental sustainability was a recurring theme of iPRES 2023 and built upon a similar thread that ran through last year’s conference.   A shout out goes to a great paper by Mikko Tiainen and colleagues from CSC on Calculating the Carbon Footprint of Digital Preservation – A Case Study and likewise a great panel from a team at the University of Illinois on The Curricular Asset Warehouse At The University Of Illinois: A Digital Archive’s Sustainability Case Study.

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Celebrating 20 DPC members in Australasia and Asia-Pacific!

Robin Wright

Robin Wright

Last updated on 25 September 2023

Robin Wright is Head of Australasia and Asia-Pacific for the Digital Preservation Coalition


In January 2018 the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) embarked on a new strategic plan to prepare the transition to a truly global foundation.

That ambition was elaborated on in June 2019 when the DPC’s mission was formally expanded to include the following goal statement: To enhance our members’ experience and the capacity of the digital preservation community around the world through the provision of a stable and trusted platform for collaboration, owned and run for the benefit of the global digital preservation community, and accountable to them through membership.

In 2023, with a membership of 153 members worldwide, the DPC is well on its way to achieving that ambition – certainly a far cry from its humble beginnings in the UK in 2002 with just 20 members.

The DPC now plays a key role in the global discussion and implementation of digital preservation policy and practice around the world and has become a global community, working together to bring about a sustainable future for our digital assets.

The DPC’s activities have certainly flourished in Australasia and Asia-Pacific in the last 5 years, and in fact, last month we celebrated our 20th member in the region! In Australasia and Asia-Pacific alone, we now have the same number of members the DPC originally started out with in 2002.

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Notes on the Clear Blue Yonder: Technical Debt and Digital Preservation

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 21 March 2024

Obfuscate and Accumulate

Here’s an idea that comes out of a clear blue sky: we don’t talk enough about technical debt in digital preservation. It’s an important concept and one we could be working with.

Technical debt is a term used in software development to describe the costs that arise when an easy or cheap solution is adopted over a fully worked out, properly documented, long-term solution. Expedient or cheap solutions which don’t have forwards compatibility make future changes costly if not impossible. This cost accumulates "interest" as changes and upgrades are delayed and therefore become harder to achieve over time. The debt is a contingent liability: work can be deferred but cannot be avoided to maintain legacy systems, or to exit them in an orderly fashion. In worsening conditions, investment is diverted towards short term maintenance, which further increase the complexity of a legacy system, making migration harder and stifling genuine innovation. Left unchecked this ultimately reaches a bottom where either the system fails, or the business fails. Sometimes both.

My sense is that many agencies are accumulating technical debt which they don’t fully understand. Indeed, every agency that depends on technology for the delivery of products or services has a theoretical exposure to technical debt, and this has real world consequences.

A bold assertion follows – that, perhaps without fully realising it, the digital preservation community has been quietly and successfully building the tools and services that tackle and prevent the accumulation of technical debt. And so digital preservation is not a niche fixation for specialists, but a pervasive concern through the entire economy.

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Packed

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 11 September 2023

William Kilbride is the Executive Director of the Digital Preservation Coalition, and was General Chair of iPres 2022.


My tiny desk is full to overflowing. My keyboard is jammed between assorted packages and boxes waiting for iPres which opens next week in Illinois. DPC is helping to sponsor iPres this year again (more in a moment) so the generous offer of a table in the exhibition hall has precipitated a search for merchandise – tablecloths, stickers, pens, leaflets, brochures - all bound for Urbana Champaign. I’ve tracked down the last two remaining DPC scarves, and the very last DPC tie.  I am sure they will all make a wonderfully, professional splash so please do drop by and admire the artistic effect if you are in town, because it’s a chaotic muddle and crush just now.

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Where long-term preservation and web archives meet - IIPC WAC 2023

Dorota Minkiewicz

Dorota Minkiewicz

Last updated on 6 September 2023

Dorota Minkiewicz is Archivist, Long-term Digital and Web Preservation, at the Publications Office of the European Union. She attended the IIPC Web Archiving Conference with support from the DPC Career Development Fund, which is funded by DPC Supporters.


On a rainy day in May, the Web Archiving community flocked to the Dutch city of Hilversum, where at the stunning home of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision this year’s IIPC Web Archiving Conference took place.

It was my first time at this conference, thanks to the DPC Career Development Fund. And since I’m still a novice in the Web Archiving world, I was particularly keen to listen to the discussions around capture methods, playback tools, and promoting the active use of archives among researchers and students.

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