Fellow Reflection: Leland Riddlesperger

Leland Riddlesperger

This post was written by Leland Riddlesperger, who attended the 2022 DLF Forum as a Grassroots Archives and Cultural Heritage Organizations Fellow.

Leland Riddlesperger is the Associate Archivist at the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library (SBMAL). Since accepting this position in February of 2022, he has implemented the institution’s transition to ArchivesSpace and manages the processing and preservation of born-digital content. He holds his MSLS from Clarion University, and studied History at The College of William & Mary. Leland is an active member of DLF’s Born-Digital Access Working Group, and is currently serving a term as Co-Coordinator.


I would like to say that I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend the DLF 2022 Forum. I am thankful to CLIR for awarding me one of the fellowships to help cover the costs. My institution would have been unable to send me to the Forum without the aid I received. I feel that I greatly benefitted from what I learned at this forum, and, that in turn, my institution and our patrons benefitted as well. I could go on about every detail about this forum and how much I learned and enjoyed my time. Instead, I will focus on the two aspects I appreciated the most: the relevancy of the subject matter presented in each panel that I attended, and connecting with colleagues and fellow members of the Born-Digital Access Working Group (BDAWG). 

This assessment is not a criticism of any other conference; it’s simply that I learned much more relevant information to my job than I ever have before in this setting. The panels at this conference presented information about real-life applications and experiences. There were panels about various tools, skills, and decision-making that I can apply to my own work. 

I would like to shout out to one panel in particular that I felt was extremely informative: What’s in a DAM?: Tackling Digital Asset Management selection, implementation, and beyond. I am one part of the decision for selecting and implementing a Digital Asset Management system at my institution, so the content of this panel was right on the nose for me. I thought the three presentations were from a unique perspective as there were two different types of institutions represented as well as one from the perspective of a vendor. They spoke about their experiences throughout the planning and implementation process. I found the Q&A afterwards was also extremely helpful. I was able to ask all the questions I had, but also learn from the questions that others had who are going through the same process. It gave me a lot to think about, and I certainly feel more prepared to begin planning the DAM software selection and implementation at my institution. 

This was my first conference since before the pandemic, so it felt great to be around so many of my peers in this field. This aspect is always one of my favorite things about attending these conferences. I enjoy seeing people that I used to work with, people with which I am collaborating on projects, and meeting new people that share my interest and passion for information. This was my experience at DLF Forum 2022! I ran into colleagues from past employers. It is always nice catching up with former coworkers and hearing about the projects they are working on. I work closely with the DLF group BDAWG, and the BDAWG subgroup Visioning Access Systems (VAS). I have been virtually meeting with these people for two years in some cases. This was the first time I was able to meet in-person with the members of these groups. 

I am very grateful to DLF and CLIR for giving me the opportunity to have these wonderful experiences at DLF Forum 2022. I learned so much from the panels and all the insightful questions that were asked by the attendees as well. I thought the whole event was a huge success. It was organized well, and featured panels covering a variety of dynamic topics relevant to my field. The venue was an excellent choice for this event. I also enjoyed the location–right on the harbor in Baltimore. I was very impressed by this forum and extremely thrilled that I was able to attend. I hope to see you all at DLF Forum 2023! 

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