Friday, November 10, 2017

Staffing for Effective Digital Preservation 2017: An NDSA Report

Staffing for Effective Digital Preservation 2017: An NDSA Report. Winston Atkins, et al. NDSA. October 2017. 
     This excellent report, based on a recent survey, looks at how organizations staffed and organized their digital preservation functions, and compares it with the survey done in 2012. This is a report worth studying.

Survey respondents were from the following organizations:
  • Academic library or archives (46%)
  • Government entities (11%)
  • Museum (8%)

"Organizations establishing or scaling up digital preservation programs are faced with many staffing, scoping, and organizational decisions. Some of the questions that need to be answered include":
  • How many staff members are needed and what kinds of skills, education, and experience should they have? 
  • What types of positions should the institution create? 
  • Should it hire new staff or retrain existing staff? 
  • What functions should be included in the preservation program, provided by other parts of the organization, outsourced, or implemented through collaboration with other organizations? 
  • What organizational and staffing models work well? 

From the survey, organizations reported: 

  • an average of 13.6 FTE are working in digital preservation activities, but ideally the organizations would double that to 27.5 FTE 
  • there is a need for more digital archivists,software developers, and cataloger/metadata analysts. 
  • 68% of organizations retrained existing staff for at least some digital preservation functions, 
  • 42% of organizations also hired experienced digital preservation specialists. 
  • Staffing for an organization managing 1–50 TB 
    • Current: 10.7 FTE 
    • Ideal: 30.6 FTE

Content amount and Collection growth:
  • 58.6% were preserving 1–50 TB of digital content, 
  • 16.5% were preserving 51–100 TB, 
  • 14.3% were preserving 101–500 TB,
  • 8.3% were preserving more than 500 TB. 
  • 73.2% expected less than 25% growth in the collection.  
  • In 2012, 68% expected up to a 49% growth. 

Preservation activities and organization:
  • Most organizations prefer conducting most digital preservation activities in-house
  • Only 32% of the organizations had a dedicated digital preservation department
  • 46% were not satisfied with how the digital preservation function was organized within their organization
  • 25% believed it was organized properly.
  • Satisfaction decreased from 2012, when 43% agreed or strongly agreed that their digital preservation functions were well-organized.
  • One of the most striking findings was the increased percentage of respondents who reported that they were not satisfied with the way the digital preservation function was organized
  •  52% of respondents participate in at least one consortium or cooperative network. Benefits include:
    • networking (68%), 
    • training (57%), 
    • storage space (54%) 
    • Consulting (35%), 
    • access interface (33%) 
    • communications/marketing (28%), 
    • programming (25%), 
    • federated search (16%)  
  • Department that takes the lead for digital preservation: 
    • Library / Archives 69.1%
    • Information Technology (IT) 16.0%
    • Preservation department 6.2%
    • Other 8.6%

Other general comments of interest about digital preservation staffing issues include:
  • “Continuing education is a must, so that staff can stay up-to-date on current trends and the latest news in technology.” 
  • “It should be organized keeping in mind extra skills of an individual in addition to his/her specialist skill set. 
  • “Staffing is critical to success.... All the pieces must be in place for a successful digital preservation effort.”

Importance of Qualifications for digital preservation staff in 2017, in order:
  1. Knowledge of digital preservation standards/best practices
  2. Communication
  3. Passion and motivation for digital preservation
  4. Collaboration
  5. Analytical skills
  6. Project planning/management

1 comment:

Derrick Corea said...

Wonderful explanation. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.
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