We had the opportunity to attend iPRES 2018 in Boston last month thanks to the Portico funded Sponsored Registration for Underrepresented Students and First-time Attendees. Throughout the four days at Harvard University and MIT, there was the chance to meet a great group of digital preservation professionals for all over the world and participate in all-day workshops, panels, and discussions.
Check out the conference website for all the details, but here are some of our highlights:
Cristina’s Highlights: Attending in-depth workshops and gathering new insights and connects into her NDSR residency project.
As part of our Portico sponsorship, we were able to take two workshops during the first day of the conference. I decided to take a workshop titled: Digital Curation Workflows Based on Open-Source Software. While this workshop touched on open source tools, what stood out to me was the conversation surrounding the sharing of workflows among institutions. Interestingly, the discussion around sharing may have taken the most time out of our breakout groups. Mainly, participants cited common insecurities with sharing their work: concerns about it being seen as “correct” by their peers or being embarrassed about current state of collections. Another issue to take into consideration is how to communicate when workflows are aspirational or incomplete. As a new professional, I completely related. However, people citing these insecurities were not all new professionals but more so folks accomplished in their field. Apparently, we are all human.
This discussion was very interesting to me as one of the reasons I chose MICA’s project when applying to NDSR Art was that they emphasized not only wanting to create a new model for the collection, preservation, and, access to visual arts thesis, but also wanting to share this new model. How, why, and with whom documentation is shared needs to be evaluated. Furthermore, how do you tackle concerns from staff that feel they’re giving away their work without receiving credit? I have managed other projects in which I’ve developed workflows that I view as public. I’ve often shared these workflows with colleagues at other institutions when asked, but I’m now realizing that I’ve failed to be proactive in my sharing. Sharing requires intention and requires time. When developing workflows to make students’ art discoverable and accessible at MICA, I need to think about strategies that make our workflows and documentation discoverable and accessible as well.
Also, Molly learned a few phrases in Spanish!
Molly’s Highlights: Meeting professionals working on similar projects at different institutions and seeing Cristina’s lightning talk.
One of the reasons I wanted to attend iPRES was the chance to connect with a wide-variety of people from different types of institutions, but all working on or around digital preservation. It’s a unique conference that brings together a diverse, relatively small, but focused group. My NDSR project is centered on preserving interactive apps, web content, and other in-gallery media; all formats in the relatively nascent stages of having consensus on best practices and standards for archiving. This means that talking to people currently experimenting with these media types tends to be great sources of insight and guidance. The team at Rhizome and Web Recorder are shaping the the next iteration of models for web-archiving, so it was great to attend their half day workshop and walk away with ideas to test out on my institution’s newly retired website(s) following a recent redesign project. I got an impromptu email-archiving tutorial from one of the developers at Preservica during a group discussion, and connected with Smithsonian archivists about sharing policy and workflow examples. I also got to be part of a collaborative edit-a-thon for COPTR (Community Owned digital Preservation Tool Registry) with one of my project mentors at Digital POWRR and folks from the Digital Preservation Coalition.
I also had the good fortune to attend and support Cristina during her lightning talk on Tuesday. During her session, she shared an overview and update on her residency project which is focused on preservation and access to non-traditional art and design theses work. Her talk and topic added a missing piece not represented in the other conference presentations that I think many attendees were grateful to learn about; I know there were a number of audience members eager to follow her project and the outcomes she develops. Here’s a photo of Cristina in action: