Friday, April 23, 2010

Digital Preservation Matters - April 23, 2010

National Archives Reports on Federal Agency Records Management Programs. NARA Press Release. April 19, 2010.

NARA issued a mandatory records management self-assessment to 245 Federal cabinet-level agencies and related groups, and 91% responded. The goal was to determine how effective Federal agencies are in meeting the statutory and regulatory requirements for records management. The study showed that 79% of agencies are falling short in their responsibilities. The long-term success of the Open Government initiative and the ability to ensure access to the records of our government, hinges on the ability of each Federal agency to effectively manage its records.

View the 93 page report.


Library of Congress Digital Preservation Newsletter. Library of Congress. April 2010.

The newsletter includes information about a number of digital preservation initiatives. Some of them are:

  • A new video "Why Digital Preservation is Important for Everyone" which also includes a transcript. The main theme is that digital materials, which can fail or be lost, require active management. The three minute video is worth watching.
  • The Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative is helping government agencies preserve audio-visual information.
  • Links to The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access and their recent report, Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digi­tal Information.
  • Link to a podcast "Conversations about Digital Preservation" about the Library's challenges to build an efficient, scalable digital repository, how the Library's repository works and future plans for the repository
  • A group of institutions have developed an automated way to preserve official e-mail records produced by Microsoft Outlook and capture the necessary long-term preservation metadata. This is part of the Persistent Digital Archives and Library System project (PeDALS) to develop a shared curatorial framework for preserving digital public records across multiple states.
  • May 10th will be the Personal Archiving Day at the Library of Congress.


NEW Blog from the DuraSpace Preservation & Archiving Solution Community. Carol Minton Morris. DuraSpace Preservation & Archiving. April 21, 2010.

A new blog has been set up by the Preservation and Archiving Solution Community. The blog is a vehicle for an open exchange of ideas and initiatives around preservation & archiving solutions. All are welcome to participate. It had started as a group using Fedora Commons, but is actually looking at all preservation issues, not just those for Fedora or DSpace.


Digital Preservation and the Challenge. Ron Jantz. DuraSpace Preservation & Archiving. April 21, 2010.

Institutions around the world are grappling with the technology, processes, and organizational structures that will result in digital preservation becoming a reality. The challenge to preserve information goes back centuries to those trying to preserve books in the past, and mentions a example when the Reformation dissolved the monasteries, and the books were not preserved. Can we demonstrate that we are preserving what we have now? We should be looking at self assessment tools to see how we are doing with preservation.


Crowdsourcing: How and Why Should Libraries Do It? Rose Holley. D-Lib Magazine. March/April 2010.

Crowdsourcing is a new term referring to undefined groups of people in a community "taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor and outsourcing it to a group (crowd) of people or community in the form of an open call." It may be the "most useful tool a library can have in the future." The work can be done as a group or as an individual. Libraries already know about the first step of crowdsourcing: social engagement with individuals, but need to improve in the second step: defining and working towards group goals. This can bring benefits to libraries and users, especially by adding value to data by adding comments, tags, ratings, reviews. Some successful examples include collections at the National Library of Australia, FamilySearchIndexing and Latter Day Saints: Text transcription of records, Wikipedia, etc. These released their services 'quietly' with little or no advertising, but clear group goals. The article looks at the volunteer profile, motivational factors, types of acknowledgement and rewards, managing volunteers, and tips for successful crowdsourcing. "Freedom is actually a bigger game than power. Power is about what you can control. Freedom is about what you can unleash".

Some of the tips:

  1. Have a transparent and clear goal on your home page
  2. Have a transparent and visible chart of progress towards your goal.
  3. Make the overall environment easy to use, intuitive, quick and reliable.
  4. Make the activity easy and fun; it must be interesting.
  5. Keep the site active by addition of new content/work.
  6. Give volunteers options and choices
  7. Make the results/outcome of your work transparent and visible.
  8. Let volunteers identify and make themselves visible if they want acknowledgement.
  9. Reward high achievers by having ranking tables and encourage competition.
  10. Give the volunteers an online team/communication environment to build a dynamic, supportive team environment.
  11. Treat your 'super' volunteers with respect and listen to them carefully.
  12. Assume volunteers will do it right rather than wrong.


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