Digital Preservation Outreach & Education
DPOE Goes Down Under: Australian's use DPOE to kick-start digital preservation training
By Aimee Said, National and State Libraries Australasia
National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) is a leading library sector collaboration between the ten National, State and Territory libraries of Australia and New Zealand. NSLA libraries are committed to achieve more by working together on discrete projects and ongoing communities of practice.
The Digital Skills Project was established in 2014 to address some of the challenges faced by all NSLA libraries. The project group identified that one of the most urgent needs was 'baseline' training program to achieve a common vocabulary around digital preservation and digital collecting in NSLA libraries, and a shared understanding of the standards that underpin the preservation framework. The DPOE course, both because it presents a framework for digital preservation that can be utilised by all staff regardless of their current level of knowledge or expertise, and because the train-the-trainer delivery model, provided the optimum opportunity to continue to leverage the investment that NSLA is making in this very important area of skills development.
George Coulbourne at the Library of Congress worked closely with the Digital Skills project managers and NSLA office to ensure that the course content was aligned with both NSLA’s aims and the knowledge and experience of attendees, liaising as well with the presenters in the US. Preparation was also aided by the Library’s Barrie Howard, who created and analysed trainee surveys before and after the workshop. Having this level of involvement from the Library of Congress was a great help to the Australian project team.
In June 2015, 24 staff from NSLA libraries across Australia and New Zealand met at the State Library of New South Wales for an intensive four-day workshop. Selected by their libraries, participants were representative of the wide range of roles involved in digital preservation, including specialists in collecting, preservation, information and communication technologies, and organisational learning. Three DPOE instructors travelled from the US to lead the workshop: Mary Molinaro, formerly Director of the Research Data Center at University of Kentucky Libraries; Jacob Nadal, Executive Director of The Research Collections and Preservation Consortium; and Amy Rudersdorf, formerly Assistant Director for Content at the Digital Public Library of America.
As well as reviewing the digital preservation lifecycle, the workshop prepared participants to deliver training in their own libraries by working in small groups to produce six presentations covering the digital preservation framework. These presentations became the basis of a set of training materials for all NSLA libraries.
Between August and December 2015, 41 training sessions based on the DPOE modules were delivered to groups of 20-60 staff in NSLA libraries. Each library has tailored the content and delivery format to meet its needs. For example, State Library Victoria offered an introductory session to all staff and then prioritised preservation and collections staff for the full program; State Library of Western Australia made the full training compulsory for all staff, from executive management to back office staff.
While formal evaluation has not yet been undertaken, anecdotal feedback from all libraries has been very positive so far. Post-training comments from participants have included:
- "The practical examples were good and helped make the links between theory and practical, and how the theory might be applied....I found these really useful and got us thinking about real examples and Library-specific issues."
- “It taught me that dig preservation doesn't happen in a vacuum (or ought not to), and that it's as important to establish the framework you want to use, as it is to undertake the digitisation of materials."
- “Thank you for presenting this comprehensive 6 module training session in a fun & entertaining way.”
An additional positive outcome for the NSLA network is that the cohort who attended the DPOE training in Sydney has formed a strong community of practice, sharing their experience of both preparing for and presenting training, and offering each other support.
Further sessions are planned for 2016, with some libraries also offering training to other libraries and GLAM sector organisations in their jurisdiction.