Added on 1 March 2023

The DPC launches an open survey on the mental health and wellbeing of the digital preservation workforce. You are invited to take part in the survey and to share the survey with your friends and colleagues in the digital preservation community.

As an emerging profession with highly distributed practitioners who often work in relative isolation, the digital preservation workforce is unusually vulnerable. There is a growing amount of anecdotal evidence that pressures experienced by digital preservation practitioners in the workplace may be impacting on their mental health and wellbeing. The pressures they experience are especially felt when attempting to balance stresses of work with dedication to their duties. These have recently been brought into focus by issues raised in the 2021 NDSA Staffing Survey (read the report here).

The DPC’s mandate includes the development of a competent and responsive workforce that is ready to address the challenges of digital preservation, and we recognize the need for increased support for the mental health and wellbeing of those working in digital preservation.

About The Survey

This survey is the first step in a new program of work aimed at helping address the issues described above. The survey aims to gather information on the issues faced, how they affect mental health and wellbeing, and what support organizations currently provide. It is open to everyone one working within the digital preservation community. To ensure our approach to this topic and the research meet good practice, the following actions were undertaken during the preparation of this survey:

- Consultation with a major UK mental health charity on key mental health and wellbeing issues in relation to the workplace;

- Advice sought from an experienced university researcher on the ethical approach taken by the project; and

- Survey questions were reviewed by a researcher in clinical psychology.

The information gathered from this survey will be used to help guide the outputs of a forthcoming DPC task force which will work to develop resources to support mental health and wellbeing in the digital preservation community. The aggregated results of the survey will also be shared in an open access published report of findings, and anonymized quantitative data from the survey will be made available.

To steal a slogan from iPres 2022, “People Make Digital Preservation”, if we are to be successful in our work, we need to reach a place where the people of digital preservation feel valued, supported, and fit to take on the challenge. We hope this survey is a first step towards making that a reality for everyone.

The survey is available now and will be open until 11:45pm (UTC), Wednesday 12th April 2023. A full list of the questions included is available for download. This document also includes full details of steps being taken to ensure data privacy and security. The survey is open to all and we would like to encourage you to share it with your professional groups/mailing lists/on social media where you feel it is appropriate.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Sharon McMeekin,

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