In the past few months, I have been spreading awareness of digital preservation via a workshop and the notion that digital material, like a word document or excel spreadsheet, is also an archive via displays to the general public.
However, focus has been shifted to the archivists themselves as they are the individuals that will be looking after the digital archives now and in the future.
In the last few years, digital preservation has become a core part of the qualification required to become an archivist, but archivists who have been qualified for longer may not be as aware of the issues surrounding digital preservation or be comfortable with the terminology used when discussing the subject unless they have actively decided to complete a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module or taken part in training provided by The National Archives, the Archives and Records Association (ARA) or professional bodies.
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As part of my Opening Up Archives traineeship at the West Yorkshire Archive Service, I am looking into the world that is Digital Preservation. Similar to a fellow trainee, my knowledge of digital preservation was pretty much nonexistent. When presented with the term, although I had my assumptions of what its true meaning was, I didn’t want to rely on that alone. With a background in IT and languages, getting to grips with digital preservation was a little easier than learning about archives as a whole. Digital Preservation, as mentioned in the previous Trainee Tuesday blog post: Tales from the Dark Archive, is the challenge to preserve digital material so that it can be accessed in the future.
In May, I attended the Digital Preservation Training Programme (DPTP) and it brought clarity to the concepts, models and acronyms associated with digital preservation. Practical activities enabled the other attendees and I to think about the subject, what issues there are surrounding it and to see if we could relate the topics to what we do in our own organisations. One benefit was that the OAIS functional model was broken down into sizeable chunks and discussed in great detail. The Open Archival Information system (OAIS) model is a reference model created to give understanding and knowledge of concepts and processes of digital preservation.
Now after five months, I am comfortable talking about checksums, ingest procedures and software involved as well as knowing how an archives works thanks to a lot of reading on my part and a lot of patience from my colleagues.
A packed out room of eager listeners
So this week at the Our Stories Community Archives Conference 2012, I was asked to deliver a workshop for community groups on digitising collections with regards to planning and long term care. This was a great opportunity because it was my first time delivering a workshop at a conference and I could put my knowledge to good use.
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