Getting Unstuck: A Collaborative Approach to Getting Started with Digital Preservation

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CONFERENCE: Library Technology Conference

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Daigle, Ben; Mitchell, Megan; Newton, Catherine
conference paper description
How can we collaborate across our institutions to preserve the digital objects we're responsible for creating and collecting in our libraries? That’s the question five small liberal arts college libraries asked themselves that sparked a collaborative digital preservation initiative. The diversity of our institutions’ missions and collections present challenges to collaboration, particularly in the areas of records management and born-digital materials for which heightened security concerns and a greater risk of loss are paramount. Those challenges may not only prevent collaboration. They may also prevent institutions from taking action to address them on their own campuses, partially due to the relatively high cost of the more comprehensive digital preservation software solutions on the market, or the lack of technical expertise to implement and support sustainable open source solutions. Acknowledging our diversity, we discovered that while it was unlikely we would be able to collaboratively address all of our individual digital preservation challenges, we found that we could get started on developing digital preservation plans and expertise by shifting a large volume of digitized content with an inherently lower risk of permanent loss to a shared storage service and distribute the cost of hosting that content, allowing those institutions with mandates to preserve their campus’ digital legacies, manifested in personal, born-digital files, to experiment more readily with all-in-one preservation systems at a lower price point. In this session, we will describe how we came to select a shared cloud-based solution to serve as a collaborative platform on which to cut our teeth on digital preservation practices, learn from each other about best practices, and most importantly, to simply get started on developing realistic digital preservation strategies based on direct experience.