Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The Human Face of Digital Preservation: Organizational and Staff Challenges and Initiatives at the Bibliothèque nationale de France

The Human Face of Digital Preservation: Organizational and Staff Challenges and Initiatives at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.  Emmanuelle Bermès, Louise Fauduet.  iPres, October 2009.  [Video, full paper, slides]
     Great presentation. The National Library has been working for several years on their digital preservation efforts, with the Spar  project (Système de Préservation et d'Archivage Réparti). They are looking at the human aspects of their digital projects. The library has become digital as a whole, which was a major change. Earlier the digit library was treated differently from the rest of the library. Originally the digital side was led by experts or early adopters who were learning by doing and were organized separately from the rest of the library workflows. Digital definitely meant "different". Now the library has become digital, which means  they have regular production teams running operational projects for digital content and digital preservation.  All organizations within the library are involved in these tasks and there are formal training processes. The library shifted and part of this was a large scale shift in the scale of content digitized, as well as making digital activities closely related with traditional library skills. If you want to disseminate the digital activities through out the library you have to disseminate the tasks and the people as well. You have to take the time to train everyone and move slowly to bring all people along, or you leave people behind.

Many of the digital activities can be related to the other workflows, like ingest and acquisitions, metadata, cataloging, etc. Relate traditional librarian skills with digital skills; digital can be built on traditional library knowledge. Help integrate the digital by having common projects that people can work together on. It is important to take time to stop and look back at what has been done and talk about it. Difficult to take advantage of what has been done if you don't review. The library took time to move the conceptual OAIS model into the reality of the library organization, to decide how does it really fit, define roles and decide how the employees would interact.

The Library created a digital training curriculum and opened it up to everyone in the library to learn. "This training includes an introduction to digital libraries, digital documents, and digital preservation, and then three optional tutorials, one on metadata and protocols (including semantic web technologies), one on user oriented design (including usage studies, accessibility and usability, and the Web 2.0), and one on digitization and preservation (including rights management, preservation metadata and persistent identifiers)." They had to draw a line between those who wanted the training for their job, or those who were just curious. They started a project about organizations and human resources under digital influence to better understand the digital library and their people. Six wishes:
  1. Clarify the institution’s policy and digital strategic vision
  2. Define priorities 
  3. Define what a digital collection is
  4. Facilitate transverse workflows that span easily across organizational borders
  5. Develop digital skills
  6. Analyze job qualifications, revisiting job requirements and updating staff skills

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