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Digital POWRR History

From 2012-2014 (Phase 1), the Digital POWRR Project, an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-funded study investigated, evaluated, and recommended scalable, sustainable digital preservation solutions for libraries with smaller amounts of data and/or fewer resources.  The major outcome for the project was a white paper that summarized the tools and systems research and testing that was undertaken. During the course of the study, Digital POWRR Project team members realized that many information professionals felt overwhelmed by the scope of the problem. Team members prepared a workshop curriculum based off the findings of the study and presented it to several groups of information professionals as part of the project’s dissemination phase.  Demand for the workshops was high – registration for these workshops filled up quickly and created a long waiting list of eager professionals trying to get into the workshops. This led POWRR to seek further funding to be able to take the workshop across the country.

From 2015-2016 (Phase 2), the Digital POWRR Project utilized grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Preservation and Access, to continue to develop and refine the original day-long POWRR workshop. Although the grant initially allowed for a minimum of six workshops to be conducted, the team was able exceed that goal. By finding generous hosts who allowed the use of their facilities for free, and by other creative resource stretching, the instruction team was able to travel to more than a dozen locations. The project also made a number of travel bursaries available, to help those with financial need be able to attend the workshop. To reach more interested people, the team frequently conducted multiple workshops at a single location.  Project staff collected expansive feedback from attendees and used it to improve the workshop continuously.

From 2017-2019 (Phase 3), Digital POWRR utilized grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to organize and hold five two-day professional institutes, which equipped practitioners from marginalized populations and/or from under-resourced institutions with skills for curating and preserving digital collections. Institutes were offered free of charge, and grant funds were utilized to provide financial assistance to participants with need. Events incorporated hands-on technical training, engagement with institutional case studies, and one-on-one consultation with expert practitioners drawn from the digital preservation field. Attendees departed the Institutes with personalized and actionable preservation plans upon returning to their institutions.

In 2021 POWRR was awarded generous grant funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program for the “Digital POWRR Peer Assessment Program: Empowering Collective Evaluation and Action” grant (Phase 4). This grant has enabled staff to develop an innovative distance-based training program and community of practice, and aims to provide practicing librarians and archivists with a structured opportunity to learn about digital preservation-focused assessment procedures and as well as ongoing support as they put them into action locally. The project is utilizing five partner organizations (Sustainable Heritage Network, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, the Association of Hawai’i ArchivistsNorthwest Archivists, Inc.Amigos Library Services) who are assisting in the recruitment of individuals from among their membership who would benefit the most from this training opportunity. See this page to learn more.

Also in 2021, POWRR was awarded further funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (Phase 5) to put on five more professional institute training events. These institutes will be 2 and a half day events, and will feature an updated curriculum. Project partners on this phase include the Sustainable Heritage Network, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. See this page for the schedule of upcoming events as well as information about the application process.

Please see the following video for more information on the history of the Digital POWRR Project.