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Top 5 librarian skills #3

#3 digital preservation and stewardship

August 27, 2013

Home Blog Top 5 librarian skills #3

Digital Preservation, at first glance, looks like an oxymoron. Most people believe that if it’s in digital format, it’s already preserved. Check the box, done! Librarians know that digital formatting is only a preliminary step on the road to digital preservation. A writer for the Library of Congress digital preservation blog called The Signal refers to random digital files sitting on hard drives as “digital orphans, with no one to watch over them and ensure their future.”

That, Dear Esteemed Librarian, is why Digital Preservation is one of the Top 5 Librarian Skills needed today and into the 21st century. Your ability to foster and steward those digital orphans into long, useful lives is a valuable and necessary skill.

Digital Preservation: Opportunity for Librarians

Digital content growth is outpacing the resources available to manage it. Pages and pages of books and documents remain in need of assessment for their enduring value and conversion into digital format. Meanwhile, attention must be given to all the new orphans born digitally every day, at a pace that far surpasses anything found in nature.

As we all know, challenges present opportunities.

We could continue to expound on why proficiency in digital preservation, from knowing how to manage digital assets to familiarity with current systems and technology, is critical for the career development and security of library professionals. Since you already know that, the rest of this post will feature some interesting links and resources to help you in your quest to become a digital preservation expert.

Digital Preservation Educational and Informational Resources

Coming in October 2013 – Digital Preservation Management Workshop

The Digital Preservation Management Workshops were established at Cornell University in 2003 to provide practical guidance for developing effective digital preservation programs. They have been under the guidance of MIT Libraries since 2012.

Applications are now being accepted for the next workshop in Victoria, British Columbia from October 22-24, 2013.

Get the Book on Digital Preservation Basics

The book (digital of course) is The Preservation of Digital Materials by Priscilla Caplan, which the author notes “is intended to provide a relatively brief, relatively comprehensive introduction to digital preservation.”

Caplan oversees the Florida Digital Archive, a preservation repository for use by the state’s university system. She has been involved with digital preservation for more than ten years and has published widely on the subject.

Library of Congress

This venerable institution offers a treasure chest of digital preservation resources:

Resources in the United States

Resources in Europe

  • In the UK, consider membership in the Digital Preservation Coalition, which sponsors training, events and other resources.
  • DigCurV (Digital Curator Vocational Education Europe Project) was founded to establish a curriculum framework  for vocational training in digital curation.

Finally, we welcome you to learn more about LAC Group expertise and services for Digital Asset Management.

“Go west, young man,” was the now-famous advice given by newspaper editor Horace Greeley, who believed that moving to the American frontier offered a path to growth and self-sufficiency.

Today, our take on that advice would be: Go digital, librarians!


Links to other articles in Five Skills series:

Rob Corrao

Rob Corrao

As CEO, Rob is responsible for direction, strategy and overall performance of the company. He has deep experience in growing and running all aspects of the business, which affords him the opportunity to align client-centric delivery values and thinking with internal needs and operations.
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