The Learning through doing digital preservation project used the communication technologies to share skills and build knowledge through two initiatives:

Building skills: Saving the Bits Programme

This programme, which was delivered on Teams from June-December 2021, aimed to build skills through knowledge exchange and practical demonstrations to assist with developing workflows and processes. The six sessions were delivered by NLW staff with varied strategic and practical knowledge. Over 100 people attended the sessions, including those from Archives and Records Council Wales (ARCW), the library, museum, academic and other public sectors. The programme covered the following topics: general introduction, setting the scene, preparing content for transfer, managing content, preservation, access and feedback and next steps. The sessions were informed by, and raised awareness of, the knowledge and resources which have been published on the web and are freely available. The sessions also aimed at showing how digital preservation action could be undertaken both with, and without, Archivematica. Although ARCW members were aware of Archivematica, which is the open source solution developed by the NLW for managing and preserving digital content, the audience included those who were not using Archivematica. Therefore digital preservation workflows and processes were demonstrated using Archivematica, with its built in tools and also through a manual workflow based on a Windows 10 operating system, installed with tools with user-friendly GUIs, such as AVG, Antivirus, Teracopy, AVP Fixity, Droid and Jhove. As well as providing alternative methods of undertaking the same preservation actions, unforeseen issues were also identified through the process, such as the Iffy Tiffy, an account of which was published on the DPC blog:

During the sessions, the chat function was used to raise issues and ask questions, which were addressed by the team. Issues raised included digital accessioning, the use of a separate Wifi network for transfer and storage media. The feedback was positive and the recordings of the sessions, together with the training material and supporting documentation, are available on the Archives Wales site (

Co—creation Digital Acquisition Workshop

The National Library of Wales’s new strategy: A Library for Wales and the World places a focus on contemporary collection and digital skills. Although the Library has a well developed preservation workflow for digitized content, more emphasis had been placed on supporting born digital workflows for ARCW than for content transferred to the Library itself. The new strategy supported the creation of a new team which had skills in archive management, systems and storage. One of the first tasks was to refine the digital acquisition process to ensure that digital content which was transferred by external sources was authentic, reliable and preservable over time. This involved the necessary documentation and transfer mechanism to be developed. A digital access form and guidelines for digital transfer were developed, which required input from donors.

In order to ascertain if the transfer method would work for external users, an interactive session was undertaken with Aberystwyth University students who were asked to follow the guidelines, complete the form and metadata template and transfer content to the Library through WeTransfer. The exercise provided information which was then incorporated into the processes, including the use of screenshots to assist the guidelines, dating protocols and the importance of using lower case in file names!

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