Tuesday, October 31, 2017

NDSA Report: Staffing for Effective Digital Preservation 2017

The National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA)  has released its report on "Staffing for Effective Digital Preservation 2017."  The 57-page report is rich in details and worth both skimming (to quickly find data to feed your burning issue) and a deep read.  These quotes stood out to me (emphasis added):

One of the main focuses of the survey is on staffing levels. In response to these questions related to staffing levels, organizations reported an average of 13.6 FTE working in digital preservation activities. However, respondents indicated they would double that to 27.5 FTE in ideal circumstances. They expressed a particular need for more digital archivists, software developers, and cataloger/metadata analysts. Most respondents’ organizations (68%) retrained existing staff for at least some digital preservation functions, while 42% also hired experienced digital preservation specialists.  (Page 4)
 ...the possession of specific degrees was once again rated “not very important...In 2017, the five “not at all important” qualifications included: Degree in Computer Science, Budget management, LIS degree, Certificate in Digital Preservation Curation, and Leadership...(Page 45)
Also on page 45 is a list of the top six important qualifications:
  • Knowledge of digital preservation standards/best practices
  • Communication
  • Passion and motivation for digital preservation
  • Collaboration
  • Analytical skills
  • Project planning/management 
Last night, I spoke to a group of graduate LIS and museum studies students.  I mentioned that there are many digitization efforts occurring and many where people with their skills are not involved.  We do not have the "corner" on digitization or digital preservation.  That makes the information on the LIS degree not being important of even more interest to me.  How could we make the LIS degree more relevant, while satisfying the needs of our accreditor (ALA) and those students who will not go into digital preservation work?  In addition, four of those top six skills would be useful to every LIS student.  How do we ensure that they receive them, either as part of their coursework or through non-credit experiences?

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