Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Research Data Management and Digital Preservation

I've always been a "behind the scenes" kind of person. I'd rather be sitting behind a computer packaging digital files and working on preservation metadata profiles than manning a reference desk or teaching a class. However, as the digital preservation program has grown here in the Library, I've seen an increasing need to provide consultation and training about managing and preserving digital files. Whether engaged in digital humanities scholarship or scientific research, or just living and working in a digital environment, students, faculty and staff need to know the basics of digital preservation and personal digital archiving. Which is how I've found myself giving workshops.

I recently gave a workshop as part of a series on Research Data Management called Data Preservation: Preparing your data for future reuse. I covered the bare basics of ensuring long term access to both digital and analog data:

The main idea that I wanted the workshop participants to walk away with was that preservation is not a thing that happens at the end of a research project. Rather, successful preservation is the result of conscious steps taken throughout the data lifecycle.

This was my first time teaching digital preservation concepts to researchers from the sciences. I was grateful to have liaison librarians from the Dana Biomedical and Kresge Physical Sciences libraries on hand to field discipline specific questions. The main idea I took away from this experience was the importance of partnering with librarians with knowledge of the research interests, practices and requirements of the audience. I look forward to continued collaborations with my colleagues around meeting the digital preservation needs of our community.

Written by Jenny Mullins

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