Filling the Gap: Educating Community Partners on Good Preservation Practices

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As digital preservationists we can find it a challenge to communicate and advocate best practices to our own colleagues familiar with digital assets and their risk of obsolescence. What may be even more of a challenge is to communicate good or at least “better than nothing” practices to those in the community we support. Virginia Tech University Libraries recently completed an IMLS Community Catalyst grant to build a community-managed community archive governed by a formal community advisory board to determine what collections are most fitting for the southwest Virginia region and have autonomy over how their collections are represented. This archive is designed to serve as a second access point to their materials in addition to locally managed access points and Virginia Tech never takes ownership of the physical items.

Now that this advisory board has formed, we move to an implementation phase to both ingest collections into the VTUL digital library, and begin providing the support and guidance for them to apply digital preservation strategies in their own workflows. This presentation will touch briefly on the context provided in this proposal and will focus on the second part of implementation - educating community partners on improving their local digital practices. I will present approaches for advising the community with minimal jargon that employ the resources available to them as optimally as possible to establish good preservation practices locally. This presentation aligns with the conference theme of Collaboration, particularly in how we best center the needs of the communities we serve.