Today was the first day of the iPRES conference being held at Cornell University. iPRES is the International Conference on the Preservation of Digital Objects. This is the third iPRES with the other two held in Asia (China) and Europe (Germany). This year's theme is "Words to Deeds: Collaboration in the Realm of Digital Preservation." The conference has 220 participants from 12 countries and five continents. It is a bigger crowd than they imagined they would get and it is a crowd that is very much interested in this topic. Why else would someone travel from Nigeria to Ithaca for a conference?
The organizations I work with are general not thinking about preservation, but are trying to develop and implement a digitization plan. They are learning about the breadth of what digitization is and realizing that it is not just technology. (Some are shocked when I explain all the digitization entails.) Many organizations understand that preservation is important, but aren't ready to think about it. No matter how the need is phrased, some put off thinking about it and hope that an easy solution will come their way.
So today it was good to be among people who are past convincing those around them of the benefits of digitization and are involved in thinking about, learning about, designing and implementing preservation programs for digital objects.
About 50% of the group today said they are using developed guidelines (e.g., RLG's) to do self assessments of their digital repositories. So indeed this is a group that is moving forward and wants to ensure that their preservation initiatives are in-line with emerging industry expectations.
One project presented was DAITSS, which is an interesting acronym and oxymoron -- Dark Archive in the Sunshine State!
The PowerPoint presentations from the presenters will be on the iPRES web site. Hopefully soon since taking notes -- even if you had a laptop -- was challenging with a couple presenters.
By the way, there were lots of useful URLs mentioned and I'll post them later this week. For example, there are good reports on the Library and Archives Canada web site. (Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, was an excellent keynote speaker. He was informative, inspiring and entertaining.)
Finally, I met many interesting people today, among them Emmanuelle, Dennis, Bennett, Vicky, Lynn and Salwa. Hopefully we'll have a chance to compare notes tomorrow about what we are "taking away" from this conference. I'm sure what will stand out to each person will be quite different. For me -- at the moment -- is the need to integrate more digital preservation concepts into the SU graduate course I teach on digitization. Getting them to think about preservation more upfront should be very beneficial to them in the long run.
Updated 10/10/2006: I misheard the number of countries yesterday. There were 12 countries represented at iPRES, not 22. The countries represented were Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Switzerland, UK and USA.
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