Collaboration may be the key

Today I attended the first foundational course as part of the Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) Curriculum and Certificate Program offered through SAA and ARL at Syracuse University. Kari Smith, the Digital Archivist, at MIT led the workshop and there were several big take-aways:

  1. You can use MPLP when archiving born digital records. You don’t have to read every file, it’s more important to know what each file is.
  2. Your born digital program, policies and procedures must relate back to your institution’s mission and your mandate.
  3. We must consider ways of leveraging the services libraries currently offer, especially conservation work of physical items, into a robust digital forensics unit or other digital preservation unit, to meet the growing demands of this kind of work.
  4. Most importantly, we must collaborate.

My biggest take-away today, was the power of collaboration. Be it in-house collaboration of working with systems, metadata or other staff to get a born digital preservation program off the ground, or reaching out to colleagues at other institutions to learn together, we must develop sustainable partnerships.

I wondered as I listened to Kari describe issues with interoperability across institutions, if a lack of interoperable systems will become the major road block to such collaboration. If we design workflows and develop software that are only applicable to our own unique set of needs, we may miss the opportunity to further establish a community of archivists that can share resources, experiences and successes.

What do you think???

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