Looking Back on World Digital Preservation Day

The UM Library Digital Preservation Unit's Pop-Up Digital Archiving Clinic on World Digital Preservation Day 2018

Pop-Up Digital Archiving Clinic, photo by Susan Borda

November 29 marked the second annual World Digital Preservation Day celebration, an opportunity for international cultural heritage institutions to promote their work to preserve and provide access to valuable digital collections. I missed out on participating in 2017's event, but this year the UM Library's Digital Preservation Unit set up a Pop-Up Digital Archiving Clinic in the Shapiro Undergrad Library Design Lab's PIE Space. 

Set up table display for the Pop-Up Digital Archiving Clinic in the Shapiro Library PIE Space

Not knowing what to expect, we set up the clinic as an informal informational outreach event for anyone curious about the role of digital preservation in the library. The Design Lab was fairly busy with students studying for finals, and we did get a tiny bit of foot traffic, but most of the people who stopped by to talk seemed to know of the event through newsletters and email notices we sent out over the previous weeks. Our table display, pictured above, also included a slide show of images from the Digital Preservation Lab.

A table display of 15 vintage floppy disks and other forms of digital storage media

Our main attraction was the disk museum, which ended up being a great conversation starter. Many people have very immediate responses to recognizing a piece of media that they once handled every day but haven't seen in years. For this display I gathered around 15 different floppy disks, digital tapes, flash cards, and other digital storage media. I labeled each and noted their years of prominance and storage capacity. I hope to continue to add to this collection for future events.

A table display of a collection of Personal Digital Archiving zines, with the image of a laptop on the cover with a mirrored screen

I thought it was important to have something unique to give out to visitors, so I created a 12-page Personal Digital Archiving zine. Personal digital archiving is often the best starting point to explain digital preservation concepts to help people understand the larger context of the work we do at the library. I designed the zine as an introductory resource for managing personal digital materials, including a worksheet for prioritizing, organizing, and backing up digital collections. We also had available a selection of stickers provided by the Digital Preservation Coalition, which were quite popular. We gave out around 20 zines at the event and had a few dozen left over, but fortunately the PIE Space has a great place to put them:

The PIE Space's vending machine dispenses copies of the Personal Digital Archiving zine

The remainer of our stock of Personal Digital Archiving zines is available for free in the PIE Space vending machine. The vending machine also dispenses flyers, stickers, and even has copies of DC Public Library Memory Lab's Maximum Preservation zine.

We're looking forward to building on the success of the Digital Archiving Clinic in the new year with further pop-up events. I've also got plans in the works for a new line of zines focused on specific kinds of disk media and file formats. Stay tuned!