Digital preservation planning in a library association chapter

Digital preservation planning in a library association chapter

The DC Chapter of the Special Libraries Association

As Archivist of the DC Chapter, I lead the Archives Committee in archival and digital preservation initiatives. After a period of limited-to-no activity, our primary goal is to plan strategy and set in place policies and procedures for present and future preservation and collection management.

Where we are now

This year, we developed several areas of work that we would like to accomplish, including drawing up a Collections Management Policy document with a Digital Preservation plan; contributing to the upcoming 75th Anniversary in ways that best suit an archive; and updating and adding to the somewhat skimpy physical collection.

This week, we will present some strategic questions to the Chapter Board, as well as some ideas about how the Archives can contribute to the Chapter’s 75th Anniversary celebrations.

Specifically, we want to focus on opening channels for donations of physical materials, and answering questions about appropriate access and materials for our digital preservation strategy, as well as finding out what digital preservation infrastructure/systems/storage/planning/capturing is already in place.

Digital preservation – part of archival preservation strategy

Starting out this year, my focus was on digital preservation, because it seemed we already had a good physical collection in place. Since then, I have discovered that our physical archives could, in fact, use more attention. Given the meagerness of it, and the lack of Committee documentation to tell us what has been done in the past to collect materials, we have expanded our scope to create a comprehensive Collections Management Policy that includes guidelines and procedures for digital preservation.

Not reinventing the wheel

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Reference librarianship in a collegiate environment

After quite a long hiatus, I have returned to Cultural Heritage and Information. I aim to get back to posting regularly, every Wednesday or Thursday.

Today’s subject is a personal one – what I’ve been learning in my newest position as a reference specialist at a small library in a large community college library network.


The library I work in has a very diverse population of users, with students and community patrons from around the globe. My evening shifts coincide with some of the busiest hours, since many students work during the day and attend school at night. The library is smallish, with a main collection of non-fiction, academic books, a designated computer room as well as computers on the main floor, access to several large and subject-oriented databases, a DVD section and a small section devoted to rotating fiction books. Continue reading

Archival assessment in theory and practice

What follows is a preliminary sketch of archival assessment, and a recounting of an initial practical survey of the archival collection of the DC Chapter of the Special Libraries Association.

What is archival collections assessment?

One definition is: “the systematic, purposeful gathering of information about archival collections.”*

What does it include?*

  • Collection surveys for appraisal
  • Setting priorities for processing and other tasks
  • Conservation decision-making
  • Collection management

Why conduct a collections assessment?

Many reasons – in my case, the following:

  • As a new archivist, I need to familiarize myself with the collections
  • The archives committee will soon begin planning a digital preservation strategy
  • The print collections should be digitized to further preserve the materials and so they can be used in digital exhibits
  • With the 75th anniversary of the DC Chapter of SLA approaching (in 2015), now is an excellent time to begin assessing, digitizing, and making accessible the chapter’s collections

So far, I’ve been twice to the archives – to review the accuracy of the finding aid (i.e. to assess the intellectual accessibility of the collection, to determine how easy it is to find information in the collection). Using the finding aid, I searched for the answer to a reference question: What information on milestone anniversary celebrations exists in the print collection? I tried to match the finding aid info to the contents of the collection, with varied success. Continue reading

How volunteering moves me ahead on my professional development road map

I’ve written before about my professional development quest, to build the skills, experience, and knowledge base for the career I want in digital preservation and stewardship, archives, and cultural heritage. Well, I’m back at it, and in a big way.

Last month, I became the Archivist of the DC chapter of the Special Libraries Association. Through a combination of being in the right place at the right time, networking, and being persistent in pursuit of a dream, I took on a volunteer position that offers me the opportunity to plan and implement archival and digital preservation strategies and policies. With a wide network of information professionals to learn from, I’ll develop my skills and experience in digitization, digital project management, developing strategic plans and policies, and a host of other skills that are on my road map. Already, I’ve learned more about the goals of the association and its members by attending a chapter board meeting. I’ve been in contact with a community archivist, and received a reference question. I’ve conducted a preliminary assessment of the collections and their formats, in order to determine the materials and digital artifacts that need to be preserved.

This experience has reminded about the importance of networking, planning, and persistence. It has bolstered my confidence in my professional abilities, and in my ability to find/make opportunities to grow. It puts me back in charge of my professional and personal development. And I’m getting right into the driver’s seat.

Book blogging and HTML: Linking Images

I’ve recently started a book blog (check it out), in which one of the features is a set of “read-alikes” placed at the end of each post. They take the form of cover images. I really like the idea of linking those images to lead readers to more information about these books (from Goodreads, at the moment). With a link to a description and social media/community reviews, they “don’t have to take my word for it!”

Although I haven’t memorized the HTML code yet, I have re-figured out how to do this a few times (precisely because I haven’t been able to memorize it). So in this post, I’m going to go through the steps I use to link a cover image to a Goodreads book description page. Continue reading