The following is a guest post by Lyssette Vazquez-Rodriguez, Program Support Assistant & Valeria Pina, Communications Assistant, both with OSI at the Library of Congress
The residents have finally arrived! After years of planning, the staff, hosts, and benefactors are thrilled to welcome the 2013-2014 National Digital Stewardship Residency Inaugural Class. The residents arrived on Tuesday, September 3rd, to begin a two-week orientation and workshop at the Library of Congress. In the workshop, they are receiving expert training on various components of digital stewardship before beginning their residencies at their host institutions.
The official inauguration ceremony was held on Wednesday, September 4th in the Montpelier room of the James Madison Building. Guests included representatives from the partnering host institutions, the Library of Congress, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. George Coulbourne, Executive Program Officer for the Office of Strategic Initiatives, said, “this program is establishing the standard on digital preservation while creating action plans to prevent the obsolescence of traditional formats.”
The Deputy Librarian of Congress, Robert Dizard, Jr., pointed out that NDSR was not only going to help the residents and participating institutions, but would also help the Library identify areas of urgency in the field of digital preservation.
Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, mentioned how impressed she was with the popularity of the program among the digital preservation community. She emphasized how the nine-month program, designed for multilateral learning, would grant invaluable understanding of the community’s needs.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Margaret Hedstrom, professor of Information at the University of Michigan, and faculty coordinator of the Archives and Records Management specialization within the Master of Science in Information program. Among her internationally-known research, she led the CAMiLEON project, which investigated the use of emulation tools as part of a strategy for long-term preservation of digital records. Her current research interests include digital preservation, cultural preservation strategies and outreach in developing countries. Dr. Hedstrom emphasized the need to discover innovative solutions for the digital preservation field, and encouraged the residents to continue with their projects. She was especially concerned with the barriers in the digital stewardship profession (digital native vs. digital migrant, analog vs. digital, etc.) and hoped that NDSR would help overcome these obstacles.
During an interview, the residents talked about their excitement to be a part of the program, and to put the skills learned in their respective graduate programs into practice. From different academic and professional backgrounds, all of them found a field they were passionate about. Heidi Dowding, who will be working at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, explained how she wants to empower children outside of the classroom. By being a librarian, she realized she can help people by providing access of educational resources to underserved populations. Erica Tikemeyer, who will be working in the Smithsonian Institution Archives, said she got into the field of digital preservation after realizing there was a great need to develop the knowledge and skills of underprivileged areas of the country.
Residents are eager to get to work and bring new and fresh ideas to their host institutions. NDSR is a step towards the development of leaders who will ensure the longevity of digital preservation. More details about the residents’ work at the host institutions will be covered in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, please visit the NDSR website.