Digital Preservation Outreach & Education
DPOE Train–the–Trainer in the Deep South
The Library of Congress’s Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) program last month completed its first regional digital-preservation, train-the-trainer workshop in the Southeast, providing training to librarians, archivists, and museum specialists from Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The Library’s Internship and Fellowship Programs Division Chief George Coulbourne opened the three-and-a-half day workshop, sowing the seeds for a new collaborative initiative to take root and blossom in the fecund digital preservation community of the Deep South.
The workshop was held at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) in Jackson from September 20–23. MDAH co-sponsored the event with 10 other affiliated organizations across the tri-state area. This marks the ninth workshop since the program, which has trained nearly 200 working professionals, began in 2010. The first workshop was held at the Library of Congress and since then workshops have traveled as far afield as Alaska and Australia.
The workshop was the first of its kind to be held in the Deep South. DPOE has convened workshops with domestic partners across the Midwest, Northwest, and Southwest, as well as international partners from Australia and New Zealand.
The aim of the DPOE workshops is to produce a corps of trainers equipped to teach others the basic principles and practices of preserving digital materials. DPOE workshops catalyze networks of regional trainers, and equips them with the skills to teach others the basic principles and practices of preserving digital materials. In this way, DPOE’s “teach-a-person-to-fish” model extends the benefits of a workshop well beyond only those who can attend.
Attendees who complete a DPOE workshop are known as Digital Preservation Topical Trainers, and they go on to develop training events of their own. Many topical trainers regularly hold webinars and workshops, and 2016 saw an unprecedented number of trainings across Australia with no less than 40 upon the last report from Down Under.
The recent workshop graduates were buoyant with enthusiasm at the close of the training. One participant opined, “This was the best training I have ever had in my entire career. It was challenging and supportive, well organized”.
The Deep South workshop was wildly successful, largely due to the knowledge and leadership of workshop’s anchor instructors: Sam Meister (Educopia Institute), Mary Molinaro (Digital Preservation Network), and Jacob Nadal (The Research Collections and Preservation Consortium). One of the new topical trainers candidly remarked, “The trainers were approachable and very knowledgeable!”
The instructors have provided subject-matter expertise to DPOE in the past, offering guidance in developing and conducting needs-assessment surveys and reviewing and revising the baseline curriculum that is the foundation of the workshops.
The workshops are just one way that DPOE seeks to foster outreach and education about digital preservation on a global scale. After a workshop, the topical trainers enter a network of like-minded practitioners and continue to engage with each other – and the broader digital-preservation community – online. DPOE supports this network by providing an email-distribution list that allows practitioners to share information about digital-preservation best practices, services and tools as well as stories about their experiences in advancing digital preservation.
Additionally, DPOE maintains a training calendar as a public service to help working professionals discover training, continuing-education and professional-development opportunities in the practice of digital preservation. The calendar is updated on a monthly basis and includes training events hosted by DPOE trainers.