Digital preservation has become essential as changes in equipment and file formats can quickly render digital files like photos and documents obsolete. Universities must seek best practices for preserving and making accessible this information for posterity and librarians are playing a key role. As a part of a team from the Library of Congress, UK Libraries sent an expert “down under” this summer to offer guidance on best practices in digital preservation.
In early June Mary Molinaro, director of the UK Libraries Research Data Center, traveled to Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, to serve as an instructor for the U.S. Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) workshops.
The DPOE program uses a “train the trainer” methodology based on the DPOE Baseline Digital Preservation Curriculum. The aim of the program is to to teach working professionals how to teach digital preservation skills to other professionals in their communities. Previous workshops have been offered at the Library of Congress; the State Library of Indiana; in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, for the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois; and at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The training helps the participants:
· identify types of digital content they have;
· select what portion of digital content will be preserved;
· store selected content for the long term;
· protect content from everyday threats and emergency contingencies;
· manage and implement requirements for long term management; and
· provide access to digital content over time.
"There is a great deal of content being created and gathered in libraries, small museums, and historical societies with the organizations not realizing that the way they are managing the files is not sustainable over time," Mary said. "As the DPOE program expands we hope to help educate people so the content is secure and so time and money spent on building digital collections is not wasted."
In Australia, Mary and her two DPOE co-instructors presented a weeklong workshop to librarians from the Public Libraries Victoria Network at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne. The National and State Libraries Australasia sponsored the same training in Sydney at the State Library of New South Wales for librarians from New Zealand and from every state and territory in Australia.
"It has been a privilege participating over the years as a core DPOE instructor. I have been affiliated with the program since its inception and it is satisfying to see it grow," Mary said. "Our Australian hosts were incredibly hospitable and it is gratifying to see the DPOE curriculum and pedagogical model being rolled out on a national basis. The Library of Congress is hoping to do the same in the United States."
Mary's work and research interests include the topics of research data management, digital preservation, personal digital archiving, and digital library development. She has served as primary investigator on a number of projects centered on providing digital access to cultural heritage materials and newspaper content, including her work for UK Libraries with the National Digital Newspaper Program. In addition, Mary has great interest in supporting library infrastructure and planning in developing nations and has worked extensively with libraries in Ecuador, as well as served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Tunisia.
An instructor and advisor to DPOE, Mary has previously presented information about the program in Florence, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain.
The DPOE at Library of Congress fosters outreach and education about digital preservation on a global scale, and promotes continuing education and training opportunities that increase individual and organizational capacity to provide long-term, durable access to digital content. The program actively seeks opportunities to collaborate with organizations to advance the practice of digital preservation through a series of hands-on, in-person workshops for working professionals.
Excerpted in part, with permission, from UKNow.