Thursday, October 13, 2016

Generating public interest in digital preservation

Born Digital 2016: Generating public interest in digital preservation. Sarah Slade. Poster, iPres 2016.  (Proceedings p. 262 / PDF p. 132).
     This poster describes the development and delivery of a national media and communications campaign by the National and State Libraries of Australasia Digital Preservation Group in order to broaden public awareness of what digital preservation is and why it matters.  The campaign focused on the benefits to the wider community of collecting and preserving digital material, rather than on the concept of loss, which forms the usual arguments about why digital preservation is important.

Their Digital Preservation Group identified best practice and collaborative options for the preservation of born digital and digitised materials.  Earlier they had identified six priority themes and their poster addresses  priority 5 (Collaboration and Partnership).
  1. What is it and why? A statement on digital preservation and set of principles.
  2. How well? A Digital Preservation Environment Maturity Matrix.
  3. Who? A Digital Preservation Organisational Capability and Skills Maturity Matrix. 
  4. Nuts and Bolts: A technical registry of file formats with software/hardware dependencies.
  5. Collaboration and Partnership: Opportunities for promotion and collaboration.
  6. Confronting the Abyss: A business case for research on preserving difficult object types.
While it is true that digital material is being lost to future generations due to inadequate digital collecting practices and the lack of resources and systems, they felt that it was important to reframe the discussion with a more positive focus in order to involve the public and traditional media in this campaign. They decided the most effective way to do this was with a collaborative, coordinated communications strategy, and they chose a theme for each of the five days:  Science and Space; Indigenous Voices; Truth and History; Digital Lifestyles; and Play. These would provide an opportunity for "national and local engagement with audiences through traditional and social media, and for individual libraries to hold events". The themes would target  a broad range of community sectors and ages, as well as a different focus for the public to think about reasons why digital material should be collected and preserved. A high-profile expert speaker was chosen for each of the themes and included scientists, journalists, academics, and gaming and media personalities.

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