During the graduation ceremony this weekend I doubt many students will be thinking about how long their digital objects will be around to tell the tales of their accomplishments. Their minds will be reeling with thoughts of, “I’m so glad to be done.”, “That was so much work!”, “I hope I get a job right away.”, or maybe just “Let’s get this over with so I can get home and NOT work on writing any papers.” What many of them don’t know (but hopefully some of them do) is that there is a whole team of people planning and working towards making sure their important digital objects have the ability to be and are preserved. I’m happy that I will be among those students this weekend, but it is bittersweet to be ending my time working on this team.
Working with this powerful POWRR team has been a wonderful opportunity. I’ve learned so much about digital preservation and while I don’t plan on directly working in the digital preservation field I will be sharing the knowledge with those I encounter. I know that the work this team completes in the course of the grant (and beyond) will greatly contribute to the digital preservation community. Let me tell you they are working really hard on this!
While my personal contribution to the project is small, by booking reservations, updating websites, taking minutes, doing research, documenting testing processes, crunching data, etc, I’m so happy to have been a part of it. I began my time as a graduate assistant on the project with an open mind and now I understand many of the risks involved in not preserving material, the different standards that preserved documents must live up to in order to survive, the numerous different tools that are available to make preservation progress and the fact that any program or process is always going to be a little bit more complicated that it sounds. In those cases where technology is giving you a rough time it is best to keep at it, and grab a friend to help you through the problem.
In conclusion, digital preservation is important today and it will be important tomorrow…and everyday. If you know nothing about digital preservation, that’s totally okay, but decide that its time to learn the basics and check out this awesome DP 101 page. If you already know a bunch and want to start taking steps toward helping with a solution you can also go to the 101 page (there’s an advanced section just for you), or you can learn more about the tools available by checking out the magnificent Tool Grid.