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Archive for February, 2012

The literature review for the project has three main areas of interest:

1.            Identify and review relevant existing preservation literature;

2.            Research and assess current engagement practices;

3.            Look into the existing training provision available in Cambridge.

The starting point was the literature review from the EPIC project.  Although that was focussed on preservation planning, it contained references to sources on preservation in general and some information on available training provision.

Because of my follow-up work based on the Incremental project, I know that ‘language matters‘ and so it would be important to define ‘digital preservation’, not just to be able to communicate effectively with our target audience of academic researchers but also to help us define the scope of the project.  I was particularly interested in the concept of ‘sheer curation‘ which seemed to me to be particularly suitable approach for active researchers.

As we also expect that a lot of researchers would use the internet to find relevant information, it seemed sensible to see what sort of resources I could find using generic search terms (such as ‘digital preservation’ and ‘digital archiving’) in Google.

Other University Library projects provided inspiration; the recent opening of the Cambridge University Digital Library brought the importance of personal archives to the fore, and also raised a lot of questions.  What resources were out there for the management and preservation of personal digital resources and outputs?  What can we re-use or learn from?  Is personal digital archiving ultimately a good approach to take in order to produce guidance that is applicable to everyone without being generic?  I also decided to look into support and guidance on preserving digital records to see if there were useful resources that we could build on.

So a big part of getting started on this literature review has been thinking about the scope of digital preservation and what different communities understand by the term.

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January has been a busy month for the PrePARe project team.  We’ve welcomed our new Project Officer Fiona, who has been busy setting up interviews, and she and Barbara attended the project kick-off meeting in London.  Meanwhile Anna’s been working on the desk research and looking into existing support on digital preservation.

Together the team has also had several meetings to discuss the interview questionnaire.  Because the interviews are semi-structured we don’t want to be too rigid, and so our discussions focused on making sure that our questions were open, not leading and would cover our main areas of interest: what people know about digital preservation and where they want to go to get more guidance.  As we’ve carried out a few interviews, we’ve also been able to make some assessment about which questions work and refine questions which maybe don’t work so well.

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