It’s Conference Season!

Conference season (aka summer) is upon us, and May was the big month of professional development for me. It started off with a regional National Digital Stewardship Alliance meeting here in Boston, followed by the DigCCurr Professional Instistute in Chapel Hill, NC, and ending with the American Institute for Conservation Annual Meeting in Indianapolis! Here’s a brief summary of each one:

The NDSA meeting was a one-day unconference-style event held at the beautiful WGBH studios in Brighton. A group of digital preservation specialists and interested colleagues from around the New England area got together to talk about the challenges we’re facing and identify ways we can collaborate to solve some of our problems. We started off with short presentations on new initiatives and local efforts in the morning and then split up into groups for discussions in the afternoon. Discussion topics included marketing and outreach to the community, preserving research data, staffing and skills for digital preservation, and digital forensics. The day’s agenda and notes from our afternoon discussions are posted here. We hope to have more of these in the future, so if you’re in the New England area, stay tuned for info on those. Thanks so much to WGBH and Harvard Library for organizing the first one!

The DigCCurr Professional Institute was a week-long workshop on digital curation held at the lovely UNC Chapel Hill campus. This intensive week of training included presentations by an excellent set of instructors, practical labs where we could put the lessons learned into action, and lots of opportunity for conversations with the other digital library practitioners in attendance. We had a great cohort of folks from libraries all over the U.S. and Canada, and it was both a valuable learning experience and a rollicking good time! The week culminated in each attendee selecting and planning a project to complete at his or her home institution. We’ll all return to Chapel Hill in January to report back on our projects and share updates about how we implemented strategies learned in the first session. My six-month project is a review of the preservation metadata in the MIT Libraries DSpace@MIT repository, to clarify and improve our alignment with PREMIS. I’ll be working on that a lot between now and January, so expect updates on the blog!

The final week of May took me to Indiana for the AIC Annual Meeting. I’ve been to AIC several times before, but this year was my first time attending as Chair of the Electronic Media Specialty Group, which meant I was much more involved than in years past. Perhaps I’m a bit biased, but I thought the EMG sessions this year were truly excellent! Some of the highlights included talks about mass migration of media, conserving custom electronic video art equipment, and a new topic of interest for me: documenting source code. Of course, now that the Annual Meeting is over we’re already hard at work planning next year’s sessions. The theme is “sustainable choices for collection care,” which should be very interesting to explore in relation to digital preservation.

I’m so grateful to the MIT Libraries for supporting me in attending each of these events. These experiences have already contributed much to my thinking, project planning, and research interests for the rest of the fellowship and beyond. I can guarantee there will be more posts on some of these threads in the near future!