Thursday, December 13, 2018

Why Is the Digital Preservation Network Disbanding? Lessons from organizational challenges

Why Is the Digital Preservation Network Disbanding? Roger C. Schonfeld. The Scholarly Kitchen; Society for Scholarly Publishing. Dec 13, 2018.
     "The long term stewardship of digital objects and collections through digital preservation is an essential imperative for scholarship and society. Yet its value is intangible and its rewards are deferred. It falls on organizations to invest in preservation, often less out of a sense of anticipated exclusive returns and more out of a sense of contributing to a community mission." It is essential that we discuss the lessons we can learn from organizational challenges.

DPN was a commitment to replicate the data of research and scholarship across diverse environments and to enable existing preservation capacity. It offered an elegant technical solution but the product offering was never as clear as it could have been, and ultimately could not be sustained. Most DPN members did not use the network services and membership declined. Some patterns emerged: 
  • Not every storage need requires a preservation solution, and the members were "in some cases, unsuccessful in distinguishing the added value of a preservation solution from cloud storage."
  • Many library systems were not originally prepared to support DPN’s ingest workflow. For a number of members, the content to be preserved was spread across servers and systems, often with limited curatorial control. 
  • The product definition took too long to emerge and the value proposition was not uniformly understood.
  • DPN’s pricing model did not generate the revenue that DPN’s model anticipated. 
  • Some libraries signed up more out of courtesy or community citizenship than commitment.
  • Membership models are ill-suited to product organizations and marketplace competition.  
There are broader implications in the disbandment of DPN. The article states that  DPN will not be the last closure, merger, or other reorganization. "It seems clear that we are in a period of instability for collaborative library community efforts and more major changes are surely on the horizon."

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