In the Eye of the Beholder: What’s a Digital Preservation System Anyway?
Cultural heritage organizations increasingly depend on digital platforms to support the curation, discovery, and long-term management of digital content. Yet, some of these systems and tools have been shown to have substantial sustainability challenges. The long-term stewardship of digital cultural materials depends not only on the technical resiliency of preservation systems, but on their financial and organizational sustainability. Funded by the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS), Ithaka S+R is assessing how digital preservation systems are developed, deployed, and sustained through a series of case studies. We will share our initial findings related to design approaches of community-based and commercial digital preservation and curation initiatives, offer lessons learned, and propose alternative sustainability models for long-term maintenance and development. Although digital preservation is a well-established concept, it continues to be a situated and interpretive process, highly variable across different institutional settings. Rather than trying to adjudicate what does and does not “count” as digital preservation, we are studying the systems and services that cultural heritage organizations might use toward meeting digital preservation goals. In taking this broad approach, we hope to acknowledge the diversity of curatorial practices, priorities, and resource capacities that cultural heritage organizations bring to digital preservation work.
Addressing the pain in preservation
Almost everyone involved with digital information agrees that Digital preservation is a “good thing” and should be part of business as usual. However, implementing widespread preservation is often a very painful process… and many initiatives are stillborn. The pain points are many and varied (no resource; lack of trust; lack of understanding; poor interoperability; no connectivity to name but a few), but they’re also not new. These 20th century problems are all solvable - even more so now that we have access to 21st century technology.
And we intend to do just that… Well, to be more accurate, we intend use the hive mind of NISO attendees to map out pathways to solutions. Outlining the problems and then asking the fun questions. What could take away the pain? How? What need’s to be in place? What’s stopping us from doing it right now?
This session will start with a few short provocations to give a flavour of the problems and possible approaches to solving them. Then the discussion begins. Nothing is off limits. If you have a problem that needs a solution or a solution that’s looking for a problem to solve this is the session for you.