Farewell from Digital Preservation Trainee number 1!

I’ve come to the end of my one year traineeship in Digital Preservation at Archive Services, and I can’t quite believe it’s all over. It’s certainly been a busy year: I’ve met with and talked to a huge range of people across the university, and have communicated with many digital preservation practitioners and experts from further afield. In the first two weeks of my traineeship, alone, I visited UCL to learn about the challenges of cataloguing born digital materials, and then helped out at a Digital Preservation Coalition event at HSBC Headquarters in Canary Wharf. It was pretty clear from early on that I wasn’t going to learn what I needed to know by sitting at my desk!

I’ve enjoyed working with the wonderful team here at Archive Services and have also enjoyed working within the Digital Library, learning about reseach data management, the Insitutional Repository, and the wider digital collections of the Library. I’ve talked with ITS and Corporate Communications, Subcity Radio and Special Collections – digital preservation is very much an institution-wide concern.

I think one of the biggest lessons I am taking away from this traineeship is that digital preservation is not about getting hold of the right ‘tech’ and simply learning how to use it. Approaches to digital preservation are constantly evolving and each organisation needs to find a methodology and approach that suits its own particular needs and resources. There are, however, many organisations out there facing very similar challenges and the best way to find solutions is to collaborate and participate in a ‘community of practice’. Digital preservation is also about creating the right environment in both an organisational, as well as a technological sense.


Fiona Hyslop MSP and Digital Preservation Trainee, Mary Dunne Photo: Scottish Council on Archives

At our Farewell Event last month the 2014-15 Skills for the Future, ‘Opening up Scotland’s Archives’, trainees and host organisations gathered together in the fantastic surroundings of the Dome at New Register House in Edinburgh. The trainees were given an opportunity to reflect upon what we’d learned during the year and what our hopes were for the future. We then held a Q&A session where we fielded questions from an audience that included the next trainee cohort, members of our host organisations, and representatives from the Scottish Council on Archives and the Heritage Lottery Fund. We were then each awarded our ‘Certificates of Achievement’ by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop. It was an enjoyable and, at times, emotional event and I think we were all genuinely proud of what we’ve achieved in our individual traineeships.

So, whilst this traineeship is now over… I’m not quite leaving yet! The HLF are funding me through an additional 20 credit, post-graduate module at CAIS on Archive Management: Principles and Practice. Archive Services have very kindly agreed to put up with me for another  three months, whilst I gain further practical experience in traditional archival practice and processes. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to learn more, and I already know that the team here have a wealth of experience  and expertise that I can draw upon. Olivia Howarth, the next digital preservation trainee, has already started on her own journey, and I’m sure she will have a similarly great experience. I wish her all the best and am sure she will be introducing herself to you all very soon!

Categories: Archive Services

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