Greetings and musings

Hello all, this is Tricia Glaser. I’m starting my second year of the MLIS program, and I’m focusing on the Museum Studies and Material Culture certificate. My motivation to take this class is pretty simple–I’m both interested in and intimidated by learning more about digital preservation (and curation) issues in our field. The former because these topics greatly concern museum practices; the latter because I am very unfamiliar with said topics. So I’m looking forward to learning a lot this semester!

I’m originally from Michigan and moved here last July to attend UMD. My only experience in a GLAM organization prior to school was at a public library for three years, where I worked in both the Circulation and Reference departments. It felt like it took forever to figure out what I wanted to do post-undergrad (graduated in 2009!). I bounced around for a while in the service industry, non-profit work, and served in the Peace Corps in 2012. It wasn’t until my entry into public library work did I realize that I’d found a career path. I’m still very glad that I could also use grad school as a reason to move; the DMV area is pretty great!

small dog
A picture of my dog, Luna, just because.

The readings were quite fascinating. I appreciated the Kuny article and the introduction from the textbook for laying clear groundwork on what constitutes digital preservation and its challenges. Regarding those axioms, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I used to consider backing up data as part of digital preservation. I also liked that both readings recommended accepting the “archival sliver,” as Prof. Owens calls it. Acknowledging that nothing is permanent and that large quantities of digital content are already lost (and more will follow) seems necessary in order to accurately prioritize what to preserve. 

I enjoyed both of the Issues & Advocacy posts, but found the argument in “Institutional Silences and the Digital Dark Age,” by Eira Tansey more compelling. It makes sense that many archivists work at institutions that don’t give them say over things like records mandates or retention scheduling, and therefore, a digital dark age is a more realistic possibility. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and Tansey is right that there would need to be organization-wide buy-in to fully tack preservation issues.