University Archives & Special Collections hosts resident from National Digital Stewardship Residency program

ndsr-bostonGuest post by Jeffrey Erickson

I’m Jeffrey Erickson, a recent graduate of Simmons College’s School of Library and Information Science and a former IT professional. I am currently a resident with the National Digital Stewardship Residency program working on digital preservation for University Archives & Special Collections (UASC) in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston.

The National Digital Stewardship Residency program (NDSR) places five information professionals in cultural heritage institutions in the Boston area to gain instruction and hands on experience in digital stewardship issues by working on real-world projects. This is the second year that the NDSR program has hosted projects in the Boston area. NDSR programs are also taking place in New York City and Washington D.C. For more on the NDSR Boston program, please visit the NDSR Boston web site.

As a digital archivist, I am interested in combining my technical skills with my training in archival practices and methods and applying them to digital stewardship issues to ensure our digital cultural heritage remains available for access and use to future generations. The NDSR program and the project here at UMass Boston are providing a platform for me to pursue this interest.

The project I am working on examines the current practices in place at UMass Boston for capturing and managing the assets in digital collections and developing workflows and procedures aimed at providing the long-term preservation of these materials using cloud-based storage services. University Archives & Special Collections at UMass Boston has a growing collection of digital materials. I will be applying the digital preservation workflows to the materials in the Mass. Memories Road Show collection as a pilot program for preserving all the department’s digital collections.

MMRS_filmstrip_long_greyThe Mass. Memories Road Show (MMRS) is an ongoing community-based digital humanities project conducted by UMass Boston since 2004. The goal of the project is to collaborate with Massachusetts cities and towns to organize community-building events where images and stories that document the history of Massachusetts through the eyes of its residents are collected one town at a time. To learn more about the Mass. Memories Road Show project, click here.

Last month I attended the most recent MMRS event on Martha’s Vineyard to gain an understanding of how the digital objects in this collection are captured and created. Preserving digital materials begins with their creation so I was fortunate that a Road Show event was scheduled to take place during the early part of my residency. You can read more about my MMRS experience on the NDSR Boston blog.

dp-word-cloudSo, why should you be interested in my project? The answer is two-fold:

  1. Because the success of my project will develop a foundation of understanding and practice that will ensure that the digital resources of this university will remain accessible and useful for years to come.
  2. Because everyone has personal digital assets that require preservation. And, everyone can benefit from developing an understanding of the issues that affect digital materials and some best practices that address these issues.

I encourage you to check back to this site from time to time, as well as the NDSR Boston blog. I will keep you up-to-date on the progress of my project, discuss some digital stewardship issues, and maybe pass along some information that will help you preserve your own digital assets.

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