THE FUTURE OF LIBRARIES

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OAIS Reference Model

This article focuses on the digital preservation plan implemented by the British Library in the late 1990’s and how they turned their talk about preservation into action. In this article the author highlighted the goals of the project, what skills were needed and how they were sourced, what aspects of the project worked well along with what didn’t work well. Thus, the readers were able to get a better sense of the management issues at hand and what is needed to solve these issues in future projects.

One of the key elements that the author raised as an issue was the jargon and specialised language used during the project. It was over fourteen years since this project was implemented but I’m sure that general staff in a library today would still have some of the same issues without specialised training. Throughout the article the author mentioned the need for ‘homegrown’ staff. Since it has been many years since the article was published, it would be interesting to see if they were able to act on this and if they still continue to provide special training in this area at the British Library.

The importance of looking after or curating ‘born digital’ files has only been realised in recent years. Practitioners these days can learn a lot from projects which took place over the years. This article supports the other readings I have done and is an ideal introduction for newcomers to this field. I have just completed a module in digital curation and can relate to a lot of the issues staff had with the jargon and the digital preservation model used in the British Library project. At first the OAIS Reference Model can be intimidating but after seeing it implemented in detailed case studies it starts to make sense.

Shenton, H. (2000). From talking to doing: Digital preservation at the british library. New Review of Academic Librarianship, 6(1), 163. doi:10.1080/13614530009516807

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