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Getting started in digital preservation

This event was held on 4 February 2011 at the Wellcome Collection, London.

Following on from the very successful 'Decoding the Digital' conference, the British Library Preservation Advisory Centre and the Digital Preservation Coalition are delighted to invite you to the first of four events designed to raise awareness of digital preservation issues, increase involvement with digital preservation activities and sign-post the support and resources available to help you on your way. This event provides an introduction to digital preservation, builds an understanding of the risks to digital materials, includes practical sessions to help you apply digital preservation planning and tools, and features speakers sharing their own experience of putting digital preservation into practice.

The sessions are aimed at librarians, archivists and collection managers in all sectors and in all sizes of institution who want to find out more about digital preservation and the implications for their organisation of having to retain, manage and provide ongoing access to large quantities of digital material. Throughout the day participants will gain confidence in addressing digital preservation issues and knowledge of achievable steps to put theory into practice and safeguard vulnerable digital content. Participants will be encouraged to tweet using the #starting_dp hashtag to create a live twitter feed from the event.


Introducing digital preservation (PDF format) 1.89MB
William Kilbride, , Digital Preservation Coalition

Small steps and lasting impact: making a start with preservation (PDF format) 866KB
Patricia Sleeman, University of London Computer Centre (ULCC)

Risk assessment for digital preservation (PDF format) 830KB
William Kilbride, Digital Preservation Coalition

Plato: planning digital preservation (PDF format) 2.04MB
Bram van der Werf, Open Planets Foundation

Digital preservation in practice (PDF format) 917KB
Ed Fay, London School of Economics


Why did you attend this event?

  • To help us begin the long/hard process of digital preservation within a small organisation with a very limited budget.
  • To learn more about digital preservation, to discover places to go for information and guidance on the topic.
  • Expand on knowledge of digital preservation to kick start policies and procedures for my repository.
  • Practical (and philosophical) guidance; advice on specific issues to take back to workplace and compare with existing planned practices.
  • We are thinking of undertaking a major digitisation policy.
  • To help the library plan for preserving digital archives.

What did you learn?

  • Great starting point - thanks. Further reading, possibly a longer course (as mentioned UCL) to enable me to continue down the line of digital preservation process.
  • Provided with a good basis for starting digital preservation. These were simple and easy to understand and I'm confident I can use them in my repository.
  • I learnt about best practice, tools available and first steps to take.
  • Some jargon well explained - obsolescence, migration. OAIS as a model.
  • Risk management; I will keep my private photographic collection better managed. Talk to the community about better planning.
  • Some clear steps to take back and start with such as what we have and what our mission is, risk management, buy in, action plans etc. Next steps - bring some interested parties together to move forward.

Other comments

  • A very good pithy intro, a great launch pad for further engagement.
  • Well paced presentations and a good mix of exercises and presentations, level of info was good and well explained for beginners.
  • Practical work. Case study - helped to see how to apply some of the tools and processes to our project work.
  • As a newcomer to this field, I found that the material was delivered in an appropriate and logical manner, which allowed an ease of understanding of the content.
  • Pace and pitch very good - the right mix of basic examples and tools.
  • Crammed in lots of useful information, contacts, where to go nextů


10.30 Welcome
10.35 Introducing digital preservation
11.05 Small steps and lasting impact: making a start with preservation
11.35 Break
11.50 Risk assessment for digital preservation
12.00 Exercise - risk assessment in practice
12.45 Lunch
13.30 PLATO: planning digital preservation
13.50 Group sessions: planning digital preservation
14.40 Break
15.00 Case study: digital preservation in practice
15.25 Where to go from here, and final discussion
16.00 Close