16 September 2019 | 17:00-19:00 Amsterdam

What Past Participants Have to Say

"Digital Preservationists Anonymous (DPA) is a safe and enriching opportunity to share professional frustrations, mistakes and fears. Sharing these wardrobe skeletons and horrible imaginings in confidence with other DPC members is a liberating and cathartic experience. A problem shared at DPA doesn't become a problem halved, it becomes a discussion that moves forward with perspective, expertise and solidarity."


“Fail Club was a great forum to chat about difficulties I’ve faced at work that I’ve not found solutions for. It was great to talk with others in an informal setting (pub with beer!) who recognise the real issues you face and to know that you’re not the only one out there who isn’t getting it right all the time!”



Many times what we perceive as an error or failure is actually a gift. And eventually we find that lessons learned from that discouraging experience prove to be of great worth.

Richelle E. Goodrich

We all know that the most valuable learning is often made when trying things out in practice and sometimes making mistakes. Sharing that experience in a public forum is, unfortunately, not usually an option however. This event, seeks to provide a safe space to share, discuss and learn at the practical end of digital preservation.

Digital Preservationists Anonymous (DPA) will bring together DPC members (and only DPC members) to share the mistakes made, the pain suffered and the challenges encountered on our digital preservation journeys. We’ll discuss how to learn from those experiences and move forward. This will be a chance to reflect on things that have not gone as well as we liked, to consider the difficult challenges we’ve been attempting to solve, but more importantly it will also be an opportunity to take a positive approach to this work and to find ways to make progress by helping each other.

This event will have some ground rules. Unsurprisingly, the first rule is the Chatham House Rule. The second rule of Digital Preservationists Anonymous is that you must share with the group. All attendees are expected to deliver a 3 minute / 3 slide lightning talk to tell us about a challenge, set back or “failure”. The third rule is: the group will help. After hearing lightning talks from the attendees, we’ll discuss those issues, and work out how to learn from them and solve them.

Digital Preservation Anonymous is a new approach to facilitating knowledge exchange between DPC members, which emerged initially from discussions at Connecting the Bits – our annual members day – and was subsequently developed with help from our members. These events have been incredibly popular with our members since we first trialled them in 2017.

Key aims/benefits

  • It's an opportunity to share challenges, set backs, and frustrations but realise that you are not alone
  • We will benefit from understanding and learning from the experiences of others
  • We'll actively work together to find a way forward with our shared problems

House rules

  • Chatham House Rule. What happens at DPA, stays at the DPA.
  • Everyone must participate and must bring along some "pain" to share with the group! Every attendee will be expected to deliver a 3 minute lightning talk.
  • Be positive: focus on how we can move things forward

Outline for the session

  • Note this session will start at 17:00 CET, just after the close of conference activities.
  • Introduction to Digital Preservation Anonymous
  • Lightning talks from attendees
  • Group discussion
  • Wrap up:
    • What challenges did we miss? Discuss them briefly.
    • What are the main take-aways for participants?
    • Are there important issues for DPC to take away and address?
    • How did the event go as a whole? Gauge appetite for more. What can we improve for next time?


Registration is free and open to DPC Members only. Unfortunately this event it now sold out, but watch this space for further DP Anon events in 2020. If you have any questions about registration please contact Sara Day Thomson (sara.thomson[at]dpconline.org).

Scroll to top