A complex digital preservation challenge such as this cannot be solved by one person so it is important to ensure you involve the right people from your organization (and beyond) to help you to move forward. Advocacy and communication is always important in digital preservation initiatives but particularly so where a range of different skills and resources are needed to solve a complex problem. Building relationships with the key people you need engagement from at an early stage will help you to make progress. Remember also that communication will need to be a two-way process:

“One of the most valuable things that you can do is talk to people. Sharing experiences with other information professionals who are ahead, at the same stage and following close behind you in your EDRMS preservation journey is key. Before you get started you need to speak to people within your own organisation to make sure that you can draw on their expertise, and also to advocate for the important work that you’re doing. Gather a good team of people to support the work.” 

Emma Yan, University of Glasgow

        • You will need to gather a lot of information from colleagues in order to build a complete picture of the challenge and move towards an appropriate solution. The lists of questions included over the next steps will provide a useful starting point.

        • Equally important is the information you will share with colleagues about digital preservation. Ensuring that everyone understands why this work needs to take place will also help you to make progress. Having your high level overview or ‘elevator pitch’ (prepared in the step above) to hand will help! See also the DPC’s Executive Guide on Digital Preservation which may be helpful in crafting more generic messages about the importance of digital preservation.

In her talk at the EDRMS Preservation Briefing Day, Emma Yan from the University of Glasgow stresses the importance of gathering the right people together at an early stage of scoping this preservation work - ‘EDRMS preservation at University of Glasgow – where do we begin?’, a presentation at Unbroken records: A briefing day on Digital Preservation and EDRMS, 20th May 2021 (DPC members login to view the recording).

EDRMS preservation at University of Glasgow – where do we begin?   - Emma Yan (University of Glasgow)

Kyle Browness from Library and Archives Canada gave a talk at the DPC’s Connecting the Bits unconference event in June 2020 entitled ‘The challenges and lessons of processing records from an EDRMS‘. He talked about how the right team (and skillset) was assembled to work on the challenge (DPC members login to view the recording).

Internal stakeholders

Consider who you need to engage with in your organization. This will vary depending on the type of organization you work in, but the table below may help define those role holders with useful skills that you may need to talk to. If you are unsure which of these are relevant, the following questions may also help you to consider who your key stakeholders are:

“Before planning any work on transfer of records either between systems or to a preservation environment there is likely to be a great deal of advocacy and communications work needed.” 

Rachel MacGregor, University of Warwick

        • Who set up the system?

        • Who provides ongoing support?

        • Who administers the system?

        • Who can make changes to the system?

        • Who can use the system?

        • Who takes decisions about records in the system?

        • Who has current responsibility or ownership for the records?

        • Who will have responsibility for the records in the future?

        • Who do you need to persuade to support or sponsor your preservation work?

Who? Why?

Senior management

Sign off of resources, project sponsorship, procurement of technology or services related to the work and allocation of staff time.

IT staff with responsibility for record keeping software

Help with technical questions on the configuration and export capabilities of the record keeping system.

IT software staff

Where new software or tools are required as part of this work (for example a new digital archive, record keeping system or a tool to help automate part of the transfer or ingest process).

IT security staff

Where integration is needed that goes through organisational firewalls.

EDRMS/records administrators

To ensure compliance/culture e.g. in metadata completion, for training of users, appraisal of records

Creators or owners of the records

Knowledge on creation of content and metadata and appraisal of records

Records Management Team

Owners of records strategy/policy and responsible for content and metadata

Data protection team

Their input may be necessary if records are to be transferred and stored in cloud

Freedom of Information team

They may have an interest in discoverability and access in the record keeping system and digital archive

Archive Team

Can provide input on procurement and configuration, document and records management policy, appraisal of records, requirements for a digital archive and digital preservation

Legal Team

Can be involved in procurement of record keeping and digital preservation systems, requirements for legal holds, sign off of transfer of classified records, contracts for third party tools etc

Procurement Team

Some factors affecting preservation methodologies will be decided at requirements setting phase of procurement, e.g. export options, integration.

Technical Architect

Help with business case, requirements and procurement of systems 

Business analyst

Support with process, requirements and communications between stakeholders

Project Manager

Support with project management

External parties

Alongside your internal stakeholders you may also find it beneficial to liaise with external parties such as those listed below.

"Rather than try to learn all about digital preservation and EDRMS at the requirements setting stage (for a digital archive), get an expert or consultant in that has experience of writing requirements for this very thing. I think this would have saved a lot of time and effort and the end result would probably have been better, potentially leading to a better solution. The financial cost would no doubt be saved in the long run.” Lorna Williams, Bank of England

Who? Why?

EDRMS supplier

The supplier of your record keeping system will be able to help with configuration of the system and provide advice on the technicalities of export and/or transfer.

Digital archive supplier

You may want to talk to the supplier of your digital preservation system for advice and support. They will likely have experience at importing batches of records from a record keeping system and should also be able to advise on integration between your digital preservation system and record keeping system (where appropriate).

Digital preservation trainers/consultants

Consider whether you and/or other staff have the required skills and time to carry out this work. If not, you may find it helpful to seek out specific digital preservation training opportunities or recruit a consultant to provide advice.

Other organizations using the same systems or facing similar challenges

There is much benefit to be had from talking to others who are working in the same space as you. Either those organizations with a similar remit and/or context, or those who are using the same record keeping and/or digital preservation systems as you.

Wider digital preservation community networks 

Digital preservation is a global challenge and there are many organisations within and outside of the DPC who will be interested to hear about your work and will have useful experiences of their own to share.

Once you have identified who you need to involve, take some time to consider when you will involve them and to what extent. Do you just need to have a quick chat with them or are they key stakeholders that you will need to keep in touch with on a regular basis? Establish a plan for how you will keep them up to date with the work you are doing. You may find it helpful to establish a formal project with scheduled meetings or a forum to report to, ensuring you have a regular platform to ask questions, report on progress and keep people informed.

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