I joined this class thinking it would be about digitization and the efforts to preserve physical objects digitally, but the class was so much more than that. We did discuss the realities of digitization projects and how that relates to the broader problem of digital preservation, but I learned more than I anticipated about the different ways that professionals are working to preserve all their important digital records.
- The most useful idea I learned because of this class (I think), was the levels of preservation. This will come in handy no matter what type or size of institution in which we work. A large organization could always do better in one of the areas. A smaller organization will likely need the help to move through the levels towards full digital preservation.
- I also found the process of interacting with an external organization a useful experience. I expected the interactions to be seamless and easygoing; however, the process became strained quickly and I had to work to find an organization willing and able to work with me on a more active basis. While I don’t believe consulting is the future career for me, I now understand the effort the person receiving the consultation would have to expend.
- The final useful aspect to come out of this class is the importance of learning from others in a similar situation as you. I haven’t been able to attend many conferences, so this was a new experience for me to learn from my colleagues’ experiences. For instance, class sessions where we shared the progress we had made on our consultation projects routinely gave me ideas for how to best help my organization.
Open Question for the class:
I would like to know who (if anyone) in the class is now considering a career as a digital preservation consultant. Many of us began the semester anticipating a career in a cultural institution, so I wonder if the real-world project we worked on this semester has had a significant impact on anyone’s career goals.
Finally, I want to thank my classmates and Professor Owens for a great, thought-provoking semester discussing various digital preservation challenges and solutions ranging from the “in a perfect world” to the “this is the simplest, quickest, and most practical for this particular organization/challenge.”