Digital preservation one-on-one

One of the (many) things happening in the Digital POWRR project is that each project partner is interviewing a group of users on our individual campuses to see how users manage their own data.

We’re asking questions about what kind of data people create in their daily work, how much of it there is, what types of files they make, how they keep their files safe, and whether they’ve ever had a massive data loss. We also ask about user awareness of campus, college, or departmental policies about how to maintain data. You can see our full list of questions on our project wiki.

This has a couple of different purposes.The first is to give us an idea of how much data is created, managed, and used on our campuses in an official capacity, and how much data is created, managed, and used on our campuses without the campus’s knowledge or intervention.

The other purpose to this is the beginning of an educational one-to-one conversation about data loss and how to manage personal workflows so that user data survives as long as possible.

The hoped-for outcome is that we will have a reasonable cross-sectional understanding of How People Work On Our Campus, which will inform our tool selections and our expectations for how much storage we need, for example.  We’re also hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to educate the folks we’re meeting with to think about the safety, security, and longevity of their data as they create it.

We are still in the middle of the survey, so I can’t give full results. But I will say that thus far, what we’re learning has been rather eye-opening. Most of the people we are talking to fully believe that they are totally on their own, and whether or not they go beyond saving their working files on their working computer seems to relate directly to whether they’ve had a massive data loss before. If they have, it’s multiple backups for them, all on their own data carriers.

Most of them are not using the campus networked resources at all, for a long list of reasons.

That, I think, should give all of us pause.

*goes back to doing interviews*


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