Welcome to our first three cohorts!

Selection for the inaugural phase of the POWRR Peer Assessment Program has concluded, and we are extremely excited to announce the participants in our first three cohorts! Participants are drawn from  a mix of institutional types from across the United States.

Choosing participants was extremely difficult, as we received a large number of impressive applications for these 18 spots. We want to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to apply for this opportunity.

We also want to thank the representatives from our phase 1 partner organizations (Association of Hawai’i Archivists, Northwest Archivists, Inc, and Amigos Library Services) who helped us with the publicity, application, and selection process. We appreciate your help immensely.

Congratulations and welcome to…..

Cohort 1

  • Brieanah Gouveia, Collections and Program Specialist, Hawaiʻi State Judiciary (King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center)
  • Gailyn Bopp, University Archivist, Brigham Young University – Hawai’i
  • Sharnelle Renti Cruz, Archives Specialist, Hula Preservation Society
  • Tom Bliss, Director of Operations, Outwords Archive
  • Felecia Moore, Archives Specialist, LaGrange College
  • Jane Fiegel, Digital and Technology Associate, Xavier University of Louisiana

Cohort 2

  • Kristen Parr, Archival Specialist, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR)
  • Megan Garbett-Styger, Archivist, Point No Point Treaty Council
  • Emily Johns, Cultural Resources Assistant, Pacific University
  • Amanda Demeter, Archivist, Tacoma Community College
  • Andrea Floersheimer, Archivist, Chugachmiut Tribal Archives
  • Joan Hua, Media Asset Manager, Friends of KEXP

Cohort 3

  • Sylvia Sanchez, Digital Archivist, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
  • Amy Moorman, Archivist, Avila University
  • Kristin Clark, Digital Curator, Texas Woman’s University
  • Tara Zachary Laver, Senior Archivist, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Rebecca Benson, Adjunct Instruction Librarian, St. Louis Community College
  • Casey Westerman, College Archivist and Librarian, Agnes Scott College

Phase 1 training will kick off in late January with an official orientation event, to be held on Zoom.  After that, the cohorts will begin meeting regularly with their cohort mentors, and will begin to get up to speed on basic digital preservation concepts before embarking on their self and peer assessment work. Stay tuned for future updates from the team as the program rolls out in 2022!

Announcing the POWRR Peer Assessment Program

The “Digital POWRR Peer Assessment Program: Empowering Collective Evaluation and Action” project was recently featured on the ASU News website as well as ASU’s Library Channel. Thank you to Britt Lewis, ASU Library Communications Specialist, for the opportunity to talk about this new phase of work for Digital POWRR!


POWRR at iPres and NDSA’s Digital Preservation 2018 Conferences

The Digital POWRR team is honored to be representing the project at 2 upcoming digital preservation-focused conferences, iPres 2018, the 15th International Conference on Digital Preservation, and NDSA’s Digital Preservation 2018, which is held in conjunction with the Digital Library Federation’s Annual Forum.

Stacey Erdman and Jaime Schumacher will be working with Paul Wheatley and Sharon McMeekin from the Digital Preservation Coalition to put on the first ever COPTR Edit-a-Thon at iPres 2018 in Boston. COPTR – the Community Owned digital Preservation Tools Registry – was developed in 2013 as a way to provide efficient “one stop shopping” for practitioners performing research on current digital preservation tools and services. COPTR is a “community registry that is owned by the community, for the community.”  It is supported by Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation (ANADP), The Open Preservation Foundation (OPF), The National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), The Digital Curation Centre (DCC), The Digital Curation Exchange (DCE) and the Digital POWRR Project. At the time of its creation, there were a number of competing tool registries in existence, each containing overlapping information, and differing approaches to analysis. Rather than starting completely fresh, COPTR capitalized on these existing tool registries, building in methods for importing this existing rich data, including the data from our own Digital POWRR Tool GridThe Edit-A-Thon hopes to bring together community members to work on enriching COPTR entries, and to discuss the future of the platform. 

The COPTR Edit-A-Thon  will be held from 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST in Pechet Room 1 at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center.  Additionally, we welcome virtual participation in the workshop! If you are unable to attend iPres, but would still like to participate in the Edit-A-Thon, please indicate your interest by completing this short form. We will be in contact with teleconferencing information very soon! (Note: no prior experience with COPTR is necessary – just bring your own personal experience working with assorted digital preservation tools and services!) Jaime and Stacey will also be presenting a poster at iPres on the POWRR Institutes grant. Check out the detailed iPres 2018 schedule for more information on sessions and speakers.

Both current and former POWRR Instructors and attendees are coming together for an innovative panel discussion “Planning to Preserve: Digital Preservation Assessment Based Training” at NDSA’s Digital Preservation 2018 conference.  The panel will detail the Digital POWRR Institute concept, as well as the Digital Preservation Assessment framework created by Lyrasis and the NEDCC. Danielle Spalenka, (formerly of POWRR!) will represent the NEDCC, and Stacey Erdman will represent POWRR – and also speak about being a trainee in NEDCC’s program as well. 3 former POWRR Institute attendees (Hannah Wang, Kristina Schulz, and Alexis Braun-Marks) will talk about their POWRR Plans, and how the overall experience attending a POWRR Institute has impacted their workplace.  Jaime Schumacher will moderate the panel. To see the rest of the conference schedule, please visit this page.

If you’re attending both/either of these conferences, we hope to see you at these events!

Guest Post! “Digital POWRR Institute Reflections” by Krista McCracken

The POWRR team has been deep in reflection mode since the first Institute in December. We’ve been reading the participant evaluations and talking to one another about what seemed to work and what might need some tinkering before the next event. The feedback has been very positive and constructive, and we’re sure it will help us to make future Institutes even stronger.

Rather than having one of the instructors write up a redux of the event, we decided to see if one of our participants would be willing to speak about their experiences instead. To our surprise, it only took one ask. 🙂 We are very lucky to have Krista McCracken as a guest blogger!

Krista McCracken is a public history professional and archivist, and currently serves as Archives Supervisor at Algoma University’s Arthur A. Wishart Library and Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre in Baawating (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and Métis people. Krista’s research interests include community archives, residential schools, access, and outreach. You can check our Krista’s research and writing on her website, or follow her on Twitter.

“Digital POWRR Institute Reflections” by Krista McCracken

(The following post first appeared on Krista’s blog on December 5, 2017.)

Last week I attended the inaugural Digital POWRR Institute in Naperville, IL.  Since 2012, the Preserving digital Objects With Restricted Resources (Digital POWRR) project has been trying to breakdown digital preservation barriers to a wider range of information professionals.  Building on their past workshop model, the POWRR Institutes are designed to provide hands-on learning experiences, are offered free of charge as a way of breaking down cost barriers, and include sessions with digital preservation practitioners.

The two-day Institute in Naperville was fantastic.  It included a theoretical introduction to digital preservation, covered some of the big challenges of getting started with digital preservation, and included a whole lot of ‘playing with all the things’ opportunities where we had a chance to actually test digital preservation tools.  Hands-on workshops included an introduction to the workflow tools (including the open source tools: DataAccessioner, Bagger, and Fixity), web archiving, Archivematica, digital storage, and recovering outdated media.

The Institute was designed in the cohort model – it included 30 participants, but we were then broken into smaller cohort groups with similar backgrounds.  For example, a number of the members of my group came from small post-secondary backgrounds.  The cohort model allowed you to get to know others at the workshop on a more personal level and also allowed participants the opportunity to learn from each other.  The community skill building mentality that was fostered by the cohorts is something I wish more conferences would attempt.

For me the highlight of the Institute was the POWRR Plan that we created while attending.  Each participant was asked to survey their current digital preservation level and come up with a pilot project for moving digital preservation processes forward.  The pilot project was then used to build goals and action items associated with 3, 6, and 12 month milestones.  The Plan included tangible outcomes, small setups towards better digital preservation, and realistic goals.  Each Institute participant also had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with an instructor and develop their plan within that consultation framework.

I love the POWRR Plan idea. I often come away from workshops full of enthusiasm and ideas but unsure of how to apply them to my day-to-day work.  The POWRR Plan helped solidify steps I can make towards better digital preservation strategies and left me with something to reflect on once I returned home.  I am hopeful that in the coming months I can make solid headway on my pilot project and goals.

I would recommend this workshop to anyone with digital preservation responsibilities in a small archive or library, particularly if they have a limited budget or a limited staff.  Four additional Institutes will be offered in 2018 and 2019 and applications for the second Institute are now available online.

The First Institute Approaches (and a planning update!)

It’s hard to believe, but the first POWRR Institute is right around the corner! We are putting the finishing touches on the modules and getting all the handouts and flash drives prepared for the big day. We will be welcoming our first crop of attendees on November 30th-December 1st at the NIU Conference Center in Naperville, Illinois. The featured guest speaker for the event will be Karl-Rainer Blumenthal, Web Archivist from the Internet Archive, who will be presenting a talk titled “Getting Started with Web Archiving.” The featured case study instructor will be Lynne M. Thomas, founding member of the Digital POWRR project and recently named Head of the Rare Books and Manuscript Library and Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Rare Book and Manuscript Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Institute attendees have been sent their individualized “POWRR Plans” for partial completion before the start of the Institute. These self-assessment documents will be updated over the course of the Institute as participants gain knowledge and insight from institute instruction and dialogue, and will form the basis of the individual consultations participants will have with an Institute instructor.

Attendees have also been invited to join the Digital POWRR Slack workspace, which we will be encouraging cohort members to utilize as a collaboration space after the close of the Institutes. We will be holding a virtual “Open House” for the Naperville Institute attendees on Monday, November 20th from 9-12 and 1-4 PM (CST). Members of the POWRR team will be on hand to answer questions, and chat. We also encourage non-attendees to join up and contribute your voice. If you are a member of the general digital preservation community and would like an invitation, we would welcome you! Please fill out this short form to request an invite.

In other news, we have also made some tweaks to our initial overall schedule. The second Institute will be held in conjunction with our friends at the Sustainable Heritage Network at the Washington State University campus in Pullman, Washington. We hope to have a date finalized very soon, but it looks like we will be holding the Institute during a weekend in April 2018. Applications for the second Institute will go live on November 30th and will be accepted until December 29th. Our third Institute will be held at the Arizona State University Library in Tempe, Arizona in June 2018. We will be settling on a date for this event very soon as well. Our fourth Institute will be held in conjunction with our friends from the Historically Black Colleges & Universities Library Alliance in Atlanta, Georgia in October 2018. The final POWRR Institute will be held at the George Washington University campus in Washington, D.C. in the spring of 2019. Please monitor the Institutes page here on our website for details on date selection, and to see when applications open and close. As a reminder: Institutes are are held completely FREE OF CHARGE to attendees, and scholarship money is available to offset the cost of travel to/from the events.

Digital POWRR at NDSA’s Digital Preservation 2017

Two Digital POWRR team members (Stacey Erdman and Jaime Schumacher) will be on hand at NDSA’s Digital Preservation 2017 conference in Pittsburgh on October 26th to speak on the “Continuing Education for Digital Preservation” panel. The panel meets at 2:45-4:15 PM, but feel free to look for us at the conference for informal chats!

POWRR Institutes Planning Progress Report

On July 1st, Digital POWRR formally entered Phase 3 of its work thanks to generous grant funding from the IMLS‘s Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. Project staff are currently in the thick of planning and organizing the five two-day long professional institutes that will be held over the course of the next two years. The Institutes continue the POWRR mission of empowering librarians and archivists from small and mid-sized institutions to build skills for curating and preserving digital collections, and can also be viewed as a logical expansion of the original POWRR workshop series. Institutes will incorporate lectures and discussions with expert practitioners drawn from the field, hands-on technical training, engagement with institutional case studies, and one-on-one consultation with instructors on the development of a personalized and actionable digital preservation plan for each participant. Institutes will utilize a modified cohort model to encourage attendees to form communities of practice that will continue after the conclusion of the Institutes.

As was the case with prior POWRR workshops, the Institutes will be offered to participants completely free of charge, and financial assistance to help cover travel and lodging expenses will be offered to participants demonstrating need. Attendance at each event will be limited to 30 participants due to the highly intensive nature of the Institute. Because of this limitation, project staff will utilize an application process to choose attendees who are best suited for the opportunity. POWRR hopes to especially encourage attendance by those serving ethnically and geographically-defined populations that have often struggled to preserve their materials, in part due to a lack of financial resources and available expertise.

Although we do not have firm dates or precise locations nailed down, we can share with you the general timeline we are operating off of for the events at this time. Be assured that staff are currently working with our collaborating institutions (Historically Black Colleges and Universities Library Alliance, the Sustainable Heritage Network, the Appalachian College Association, and the American Association for State and Local History) to nail down the particulars, and we will make those available as details come together for each event.

Stay tuned for an update shortly, as applications for the first POWRR Institute will be available on August 28th!

Upcoming Institute locations and dates:

November 30-December 1, 2017 – Chicago, Illinois area

Late winter/Early spring 2018 – Phoenix, Arizona

Summer 2018 – location TBD

Early October 2018: Atlanta, Georgia

Late winter/early spring 2019: Southern CA


Original POWRR Workshop Available in Webinar Format!

As one of the final deliverables to the NEH for Phase 2 of POWRR, several members of the instruction team condensed content from the day-long Digital POWRR workshop into four “e-learning modules.” The modules are now available to stream on our website and utilize Adobe Presenter to deliver content within your browser window.

Module 1 – Theory vs. Action

Module 2 – Tools

Module 3 – Triage

Module 4 – Advocacy and Policy

Although the modules do not entirely replicate the experience of attending one of our workshops, these modules deliver the most vital parts of the curriculum in four topical chunks. The modules complement and refer to downloadable materials from our “I Survived a POWRR Workshop” portion of the website. All of this is here for you to use freely! Invite your friends! Put on your own POWRR workshop!

Please contact us if you are unable to play the modules, have questions, or are interested in receiving the modules as video files that can be locally downloaded.




Phase Three of POWRR: POWRR Institutes

Digital POWRR (Preserving Digital Objects with Restricted Resources) is pleased to announce that we have recently been awarded new grant funding through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), for our proposal “POWRR Professional Development Institutes for Digital Preservation.” With this award, POWRR will be able to hold a minimum of five, two-day professional institutes enabling librarians and archivists from small and mid-sized institutions to build skills for curating and preserving digital collections, as well as facilitating connections between small institutions and local experts. The institutes will expand upon and innovate the successful POWRR workshop format in several ways: by bringing in expert speakers from the field to expose participants to other germane projects, initiatives, and services; by providing more sustained technical instruction with ample time dedicated to training with tools; and by emphasizing cohort building among attendees, and providing individualized consultation with instructors.

The Institutes will be held at no charge for participants and will include financial assistance to help participants with travel expenses. We endeavor to especially address the needs of communities served by non-elite institutions, including ethnically and geographically-defined populations that have often struggled to preserve their digital assets. By partnering with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Library Alliance, the Sustainable Heritage Network, the Appalachian College Association, and the American Association for State and Local History, we hope to reach those professionals who are most in need of this opportunity.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and approximately 35,000 museums. Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Their grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

This award is especially meaningful, as the Digital POWRR Project began as an IMLS-funded grant study. With their initial support, and a later major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), POWRR has been able to aid thousands of librarians and archivists in developing and cultivating their digital preservation programs. We are very grateful that IMLS’s continued support, through this award, allows us to continue that work!

We are looking forward to what the next two years will bring, and we hope you are too. Check back here for updates and to see if an institute is coming to your area!


Digital POWRR in Atlanta!

We still have a few spots available for our Digital POWRR Workshop taking place on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 at the Atlanta History Center in Atlanta, GA.

This is a FREE, hands-on workshop that deals with the “How” of digital preservation, rather than the “Why” by providing hands-on, practical experience. Attendees will practice the accession of a digital collection using a simple, open source tool; learn about several digital preservation tools and services; and create an institution-specific action plan for making progress towards digital preservation goals.

To learn more and to register for the workshop, please visit http://digitalpowrr10102016.eventzilla.net

Please note that this is not a workshop on how to digitize materials. However, the curriculum could be helpful to implement a digital preservation plan into a digitization project. The skills taught can be applied to both born-digital as well as digitized collections.

This workshop is made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor and is generously co-sponsored by the American Association for State and Local History.

We hope to see you in Atlanta!