Last week the residents were invited to present at the Annual Meeting of the New England National Digital Stewardship Alliance. After only one week at our host institutions we were faced with the daunting task of introducing ourselves and explaining our projects. Although it was intimidating at first, I think it gave us all the motivation to jump into the deep end of our project. We needed to learn as much as possible in those first days, there was no time to waste. We fit a lot of information into each of our five minutes; introducing our personal background, the host institution’s context, and the scope of our project.
After the nerves of our own presentation subsided we participated in the ‘unconference’ sessions proposed the morning of the conference and voted on during lunch. I joined “Implementing Practical Preservation Practices” not only because of the great alliteration, but also because this directly applies to my task of creating a digital preservation policy at the JFK Library. I learned so much from the other attendees, twelve people sitting around a tiny table throwing out ideas and asking each other to share experiences. I love the unconference model because every session is decided on by the attendees so you know there’s passion for the topic. I walked away with a long list of articles and tools to research as well as some new ideas on how to address digital storage, file fixity, and other preservation issues.
I think the best piece of advice I received from the conference is to create a vision for what you want to do and let the policy and practice follow. You can tell I was pretty excited about this idea from my notes.