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Thursday, 11 October 2012

Ten years of the Digital Preservation Coalition

Photo owned by the DPC. Taken by Megan Taylor
On Monday this week I was lucky enough to be able to attend the ten year anniversary celebration of the Digital Preservation Coalition. This was held at the House of Lords, Westminster and was a great event. Great because of the fabulous location but also because of the opportunity to get all the members of the DPC in one room together.

The last ten years have certainly been an interesting time from a digital preservation perspective. There have been major changes and developments in this field and the DPC has played an important part in facilitating many of these. I can also map my own involvement with digital preservation into this ten year time frame!

Knowing pretty much nothing about digital preservation apart from the fact it was 'A Good Thing', I applied for a job at the Archaeology Data Service at the end of 2002. I was lucky enough to get my first job there as a Curatorial Assistant (a strange job title but essentially I was working on the curation of digital files that archaeologists produce). I gradually learnt what I had to about digital preservation 'on the job' with no formal training.

It is fabulous to see that times have changed now and there are digital preservation training courses (such as The Digital Preservation Training Programme and Digital Futures) available now for newbies starting work in this area.

At the Archaeology Data Service I worked my way up to Curatorial Officer and eventually myself and my colleagues decided to change our name to Digital Archivists (because we were fed up of people not really knowing what we actually did!). Policies, procedures and systems at the Archaeology Data Service developed over time as new standards and good practice emerged in these areas, much of this informed by workshops organised by the DPC and the excellent Technology Watch Reports which I still find myself regularly referring to and have been recommending to colleagues in my new job at the University of York earlier this week.

One thing to come out of DPC chairperson, Richard Ovenden's speech on Monday was that we haven't got digital preservation completely sussed yet. Digital preservation is still a little bit scary and an organisation like DPC acts as a kind of 'Digital Preservation Anonymous' for those of us that simply need to talk to others that are facing similar problems. Monday's event was an excellent opportunity to do just that. My only complaint was that it was all over too quick!




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