NDSA Year in Review

Happy New Year! 

As we begin 2022 we wanted to take a moment to look back at what we’ve done over the past year.  One of the big shifts the Leadership team made was starting to review membership applications quarterly – welcoming a total of 23 new members in January, March, June, September, December.  More about this process is available on the NDSA membership website along with details for how existing members can learn how to keep their contact information up to date.

Interest Groups

The three NDSA Interest Groups continued to meet on a monthly basis.  A summary of their activities follows: 

Content Interest Group

The Content Interest Group hosts a monthly call for NDSA members who are interested in preservation activities broadly related to content. Recent calls focused on topics around ethical work practices, email preservation and making a shift from bit level preservation to content based decision making. 

This past year, we’ve been experimenting with the format for these calls. For Content Exchanges, we invite members to lead us in a conversation about a topic of interest to the group. Sometimes they have experience to draw from and sometimes, we are exploring new territory together. We look for ways to engage in dialogue in order to learn from one another and make connections that might further our work or scholarship. In another series, Sharing Scholarship, we invite members to present their research in early stages in order to gather feedback and identify partners when possible.

Infrastructure

The Infrastructure Interest Group spent 2021 both continuing as we have in the past by hosting presentations on topics of interest, as well as investigating new ways to meet group members’ needs. We held several meetings where we invited meeting attendees to bring their challenges and questions to the group to be discussed and to get suggestions for solutions.  These topics ranged from discussing datasets, shifting to using cloud infrastructure, collection policies, and dynamically adjusting collection storage infrastructures. In our more topic focused meetings, the group covered: 

  • Fixity in the cloud
  • The Oxford Common File Layout (OFCL)
  • Information security
  • The environmental impact of digital preservation
  • Exploring characterization
  • Experience with RDM (research data management) systems
  • DNA storage for digital preservation

Standards and Practices Group

The Standards and Practices Interest Group focused on standards for policies for digital preservation during 2021. We reviewed policies libraries and other cultural heritage institutions have posted online, identified categories of topics covered, and developed an outline of those. Following that, we worked as a group to create a template that includes sample texts taken from the policies and added sample text to fill in gaps. 

In addition to that focused work, meetings were used for round robin updates, and questions from attendees. The networking aspect of meetings is useful in sharing Covid protocols from different institutions, as well as modifications made to workflows. Also, questions and subsequent discussions provided continuing education as we heard how different organizations handle their work. The mix of new and more experienced members from a variety of institutions provided for a rich experience.

Working Groups

NDSA Working groups were once again busy this year with work being conducted by the Digipres Conference Organizing Committee and Excellence Awards Committee, the Fixity Survey Working Group, the publishing of the Good Migrations Checklist, additional translations of the Levels of Digital Preservation, a Membership Task Force Survey and Report, the Staffing Survey Working Group, and the formation of the Web Archiving Working Group.  Highlights of the work of these groups can be found below: 

DigiPres Conference Organizing Committee

  • The 2021 DigiPres conference was hosted virtually on Thursday, November 4th 2021 – on World Digital Preservation Day! Since 2016, the conference has been held in conjunction with DLF Forum and Learn@DLF, but this was the second year our community convened online, paving the way for record numbers of proposal submissions and registrants. A recap of the event, including links to the proceedings, can be found on the DigiPres 2021 NDSA web page.  Session recordings will be out shortly.
  • Recordings from the 2020 conference were made available in early 2021

NDSA Excellence Awards Committee 

  • In 2021 the awards were renamed as the Excellence Awards to highlight and commend all forms of creative and meaningful contributions by individuals, projects, sustainability activities, organizations, future stewards, and educators to the field of digital preservation.  Awards focus on recognizing excellence in the following areas: Individual Award, Project Award, Sustainability Award, Organization Award, Future Steward Award and the Educator Award.  Information about the awards and current and past winners is available on the NDSA website.  

Fixity Survey

  • The NDSA Fixity Survey originally run in 2017 was rerun in 2021.  A call for participation went out in March, the survey was available to the public in May, and the survey results were published in November.  The Fixity Survey is expected to be completed every four years. 

Good Migrations Checklist Published

  • The Good Migrations Checklist provides a checklist for what you will want to do or think through before and after moving digital materials and metadata forward to a new digital preservation system/infrastructure.  The checklist also uses the technical framework of the functional areas of the Levels of Digital Preservation.  

Levels of Digital Preservation

  • There were three new translations (Arabic, Finnish, and German) done for the Levels of DIgital Preservation in the past year, bringing the total number of languages the matrix and other Levels documents are translated to seven.  
  • The Levels Steering group also assisted the Teaching Advocacy and Outreach subgroup in publishing a set of teaching materials about the Levels.  

Membership Task Force

  • NDSA Leadership initiated a Membership Task force in early 2021 in order to learn more about how members felt about their membership and what they may be expecting or interested in for the future.  A call for participation was made in February and the report based on the survey responses was published in December.  

Staffing Survey

  • The NDSA Staffing Survey was run in 2013 and 2017. A call for participation in the next iteration was made in March of 2021. The Staffing Survey working group spent much of the year discussing and revising the survey questions and goals, before releasing the survey for responses in November. In the past, the survey requested only one response per organization. This time, in order to get a wider set of responses and a new view of staffing situations, any individual could answer the survey and multiple people from the same organization could participate. The survey has been closed and the group will be analyzing the results in early 2022.

Web Archiving Survey 

  • Upon the NDSA Leaderships review of surveys as a whole, the Web Archiving survey was also due for the next iteration in 2021.  A request for participation in this group was sent out in October and the group has formed and has begun working on the survey.  Please keep your eyes out for the survey in 2022.  

 

Thank you!

Thank you to all of our members for taking time to participate in the many surveys and activities over the years.  We appreciate the time spent and look forward to continuing to work together.

 

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