Sunday, March 07, 2010

What's new and how to stay current

First, the  Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) are now publishing a joint newsletter called "What's New".  The second issue was released this month.  This replaces the DCC's monthly Curation News Round-up and the DPC's quarterly bulletin 'What's new in Digital Preservation?'  I don't see an RSS feed for the site, so I hope this is something they will add, since having content delivered is better than going out to find it.

Second, each time I teach a semester-long course in digitization, I have my students interview someone who is currently involved in a digitization project/program.  These interviews are educational for the students, since they get to hear what practitioners are doing and thinking. They are also educatinal for me, because I get a quick peak into many programs.  

What I always find interesting from the interviews is how people learned about digitization as well as how they keep up with what's going on. Many practitioners learned about digitization by doing it, rather than from classes, etc.  Rarely do my students find someone who took extensive formal training, even though that traning exists.

Most people stay up-to-date through email discussion groups, newsletters and conference sessions. Only a few people talk about anything formal that they do in order to stay current.  In looking at where people do go for information, there is no central location that everyone visits.  We all go in different directions.  That could mean that we're all not tripping over important information that could help us in our programs.

Question - should there be workshops or conferences (virtual or in person), specifically for those people that are out in the field, geared to help them learn about and discuss the latest information, techniques, hardware and software?  If yes, what would your vision of such an event be?

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1 comment:

Susan D'Entremont said...

In answer to your question, definitely! Last week we hosted a workshop on Digitizing Audio. We had about 20 attendees from small and medium-sized institutions, many with very little IT support. Their favorite part of the workshop was when the instructor actually digitized some material at the front of the class. He walked them through the software (Audacity), showed them how to connect cables, and so forth. Even if they never do the digitizing in-house, seeing this will help them visualize what a vendor is telling them. I think many people don't begin digitization because they are overwhelmed by it. Seeing it done in a simple, inexpensive manor gave many participants the confidence to start. I'm all for overviews and best practices, but sometimes the practical is what people really need.