Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Developing a Digital Preservation Infrastructure at Georgetown University Library

Developing a Digital Preservation Infrastructure at Georgetown University Library. Joe Carrano, Mike Ashenfelder. The Signal. March 13, 2017.
     At the library of Georgetown University, half of the library IT department is focused on digital services such as digital publishing, digitization and digital preservation. These IT and library functions overlap and support each other, which creates a need for the librarians, archivists and IT to work together. It provides better communication and makes it easier to get things done. "Often it is invaluable to have people with a depth of knowledge from many different areas working together in the same department. For instance, it’s nice to have people around that really understand computer hardware when you’re trying to transfer data off of obsolete media." 

While digital preservation and IT is centered in one department, the preservation files are in different systems and on different storage mediums throughout the library, but they are in the process of  putting them into APTrust.  Several strategies to improve their digital preservation management are:
  1. Implement preservation infrastructure, including a digital-preservation repository
  2. Develop and document digital-preservation workflows and procedures
  3. Develop a training program and documentation to help build skills for staff
  4. Explore and expand collaborations with both university and external partners to increase the library’s involvement in regional and national digital-preservation strategies.
These goals build upon each other to create a sustainable digital-preservation framework which includes APTrust and the creation of tools to manage and upload the content, particularly creating  custom automated solutions to fit their needs. They are also developing documentation and workflows so any staff member can "upload materials into APTrust without much training".

Librarians and archivists need to be trained and integrated into the process to ensure the sustainability of the project’s outcome and to speed up the ingest rate. "Digital curation and preservation tasks are becoming more and more commonplace and we believe that these skills need to be dispersed throughout our institution rather than performed by only a few people". 

"By the end of this process we hope to have all our preservation copies transferred and the infrastructure in place to keep digital preservation sustainable at Georgetown."

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