The Digital Preservation Training Programme (DPTP) is hosting another course in London next week. This is becoming a well established feature of the digital preservation landscape in the UK and further afield. It’s not cheap, but good quality training is not. One innovation to have resulted from this cost is the funding, by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), of a number of scholarships for its members to attend the course. Three scholarships were offered, and six were awarded, showing the growing popularity of the course.
The process of awarding these scholarships has shone some light on the target community for this course, and has implications for repository managers. One of the repository managers involved in the KeepIt project submitted a personal application for a scholarship but was not selected. In retrospect this may seem unsurprising given the criteria outlined in the DPC’s announcement of the awards:
“Applicants were judged against three main criteria: the role that DPTP would play in career development; the benefits to their organisation from attendance and the extent to which the applicant’s job profile within the organisation pertains to digital preservation. Applications were open to DPC members and associates.”
This does not describe the current organisational view of the repository or of the repository manager. There simply is not yet this focus on preservation by repositories, nor on preservation as a career development path for repository managers. What seems to define the lone repository manager is they have to be jack of all trades, with too little time for any of them, preservation included.
It’s notable that none of the selected scholars appears to be managing a repository. That could simply be a reflection of DPC membership, another requirement for application.
So it falls to KeepIt to try and bring preservation training to the repository. I shall be attending part of the DPTP course next week as an observer, to get a clearer picture of the course coverage and presentation. I am grateful to Kevin Ashley, the course leader, for this chance.
The first thing that struck me about the programme is that it begins with OAIS and ends with organisational issues. In our training plan for KeepIt it is almost the reverse. The priority for a repository is to embed itself within the institution and to respond to its needs. Preservation follows from this analysis rather than precedes it. Again, I think this highlights the different target audiences, with DPTP aiming at organisations with preservation already established as a core mission. I’ve had some brief correspondence with Kevin about this and we hope to talk some more next week about how we can work with DPTP to bring its training to repository managers. I’ll report back on my impressions of the course and any developments that might follow.