Enabling digital preservation through strategy, collaboration, and community

A lot has been going on since August 2017 when we wrote about our planning for a digital preservation ecosystem at the University of Melbourne.

Work continues on our ten-year digital preservation strategy – we are just over two-and-a-half years in now. The strategy continues to be a strong foundation that aids development of project work to eventually deliver all the elements required for ongoing digital preservation capability.

We’ve been investing time and energy into cultivating relationships and collaborative ventures. In February 2018 we started an Australasian digital preservation community of practice and have been hosting monthly meetups for this growing community.

As a result of the keen engagement of this community, we’ve been able to start developing the idea of digital preservation carpentry. And our July monthly meetup was organised by the enthusiastic team at the State Library of New South Wales, who live streamed and recorded the proceedings. In August we were joined by Andrea Goethals and Cynthia Wu from the National Library of New Zealand, helping to educate about what preservation storage requires to support digital preservation processes.

Within the University of Melbourne, we’ve been partnering regularly with different portfolios to achieve common goals. We got together a multi-disciplinary team recently during the university library’s “Researcher@Library Week” to present our current and future services for the “Data@Melbourne” session. Participating in events like this helps to connect our internal services and people to be of better use to our research community. It also grows awareness of digital preservation as a key driver for improvement in the research ecosystem.

As well as ongoing outreach and advocacy, we’ve developed a design for infrastructure implementation for digital preservation in collaboration with our central IT staff.

We’ve gotten started with an Appraisal Working Group, which aims to develop digital preservation policy and procedures collaboratively with key stakeholders.

And we’re gathering evidence in order to potentially develop a research data stewardship program, inspired by the work at TU Delft. Currently we’re exploring faculty needs and priorities to determine how an embedded expert “data steward” capability could help to drive the cultural change required to support better curation and preservation of high value digital assets.

It’s exciting work to be doing, and every day our networks of people grow – both internally at the university, and externally through our regional community of practice development. Through this collaboration and connection, we continue to strive towards common goals, to enable digital preservation capability broadly and sustainably.