Author: Barbara Sierman
The iPRES2013 conference took place in beautiful Lisbon, together with the Dublin Core 2013 conference. In total there were around 400 people, from 38 countries. Each conference had its own program. But the three (shared) key note speakers draw the attention from both the bibliographic people and the digital preservation in the room and sketched their views on important challenges we need to work on collaboratively. Gildas Illien (BnF) strongly advocated that bibliographic people and digital preservation people would be more cooperative, as they both are trying to make the collections accessible but from a different angle. The user expectations should be leading in both fields and, if so, will require more collaboration in the organizations. Management need to be convinced of this. Paul Bertone from the European Bioinformatics Institute explained the recent breakthrough in storage: storage in DNA, which might be a solution for massive storage of data. And finally Carlos Morais Pires, from the European Commission talked about Horizon 2020 and data infrastructures (and here – as libraries we need to point this out again and again: data is not only restricted to scientific data generated by instruments, but also the big data collections in libraries and data centres for social sciences !Carlos Morais Pires immediately agreed on this and changed his slide.)
All presentations can be found on http://purl.pt/24107 , covering a wide range of aspects. There are simply so many aspects related to digital preservation ( webarchiving, preservation policies, open source preservation systems, trust, storage, and so on…). I can only advise you to have a look at the above mentioned URL.
Is there a trend to be discovered in all these presentations? To me, they demonstrate there is a lot of national and international collaboration nowadays. The European projects like Blog4Ever, SCAPE, APARSEN, ENSURE and Timbus, national initiatives like Goportis and international collaboration in the 4C project, they all bring together people from various disciplines . No longer is it only about libraries, archives and data centers, but institutional repositories, health care and business are now also tackling the problem and are presenting their views. The presentations reflect a greater self-confidence of the digital preservation community; we don’t have the answers to all challenges but we are developing a methodological way to deal with them: the development of standards, life cycle models, cost models, monitoring of the environment, lending from other communities to create tools etc. And most important of all, we know how to find each other.
But there was also another topic, mainly raised in discussions and during breaks. Our own organisations. The elephant in the room is the fact that our own organisations will need to deal with both analogue and digital material, while the expertise in dealing with analogue material is far more developed in the organisation then the competence of dealing with digital material. Someone said to me “these are different people”. May be that is the case. Look at the sometimes heated debates around reading e-books or preferring the paper ones. I like both and don’t think the paper book will disappear. So as a reader I will integrate both worlds and sometimes prefer a paper book above an e-book. This is the world we need to deal with, and organizations need to integrate both worlds. It will require training to have employees that are both familiar with digital as well as print collections. This is a management challenge, but as digital preservation people we cannot close our eyes for it. We need to convince our management and as the keynote speaker Gildas Illien said (paraphrased by me): “ We need to show our added value. Use the rest of the world to convince your management.” This is how we as digital preservation people can exploit our existing collaboration structures!