Friday, August 14, 2015

Advocacy and Born-Digital Archives

Advocacy and Born-Digital Archives.  Mike Shallcross.  Bentley Historical Library. August 13, 2015.
     What is it that you do, anyway? When talking to library/university administrators and outside financial donors, we need to adjust how we explain what we do with digital archives. They may not need to know all the little details, but they really need to know it is that we do and why it's important. If we can't do that then getting resources and being relevant will be an uphill battle. Advocacy is an integral archives as we seek to show the value and get support.  We have to represent our work in a way that others can really understand.

We have to make a case, and the way that we present it may be different for donors and for administrators. "Successful advocacy should involve and inspire the audience so that they understand how and why they might benefit from our work." Show the added value of the archives to the people and the organization, show the benefits in a quantitative way. The value may be:
  • Helping researchers understand the collections and improve the way they use them
  • Ensure that content [which are valuable assets] can still be accessed in the future
  • Protecting personal information, intellectual rights, institutional policies, legal requirements, and donor agreements.
  • Developing resources for researchers to use and reuse materials
We must show the benefits of this if we want others to commit resources to the archives. Highlight innovations, achievements, and recognitions.

"Our work in “digital curation” encompasses traditional archival functions—the process of selecting materials of high research or intrinsic value and making them accessible to researchers—but also involves additional steps to ensure the integrity and authenticity of content."

[It also helps to show the value in money: money earned, money saved, money that can be put elsewhere.]

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