dpBestflow in Austria

I presented the dpBestflow project to a workshop of the iPres 2010 conference in Vienna yesterday, as part of a workshop called “Spanning Boundries.” This is a gathering of representatives from cultural heritage institutions worldwide, concerned with the preservation of digital objects.

More after the jump.

Our particular workshop examines the status of digital preservation efforts worldwide, and seeks to find ways to leverage effort between the institutions. It turns out that the approach taken by the dpBestflow project is right in line with much of the thinking in this area.

Most people in the group have come to the conclusion that digital preservation needs to become a common subject matter as a part of many different types of professional studies. It’s not that we need to train a bunch of super experts in the field: the general principles need to be part of the general curriculum, since the decisions will be made, and the work will be done by individuals in their own companies, collections or institutions.

There was also general consensus that lifecycle was among the most important concepts to teach, but that successful efforts would have to translate the terminology into the vernacular of the practitioners. In other words, use terms that make sense to the audience, whenever an appropriate one exists.

Another repeating theme was a three-pronged approach to the problem. Find out what the best proactice is, define the technical landscape, and then create case-studies that illuminate how to put the principles into action.

There was also discussion of creative Commons publishing of the material, multi-media approaches, and the use of Drupal as a publishing environment for the web.

I was very pleased to be able to present a finished product that had incorporated all of the above approaches, as these are the same conclusions Richard and I came to when designing dpBestflow. And not only was I able to show a published project, but we had a surprise example of its success.

The young Viennese photographer covering the event is had come upon dpBestflow as part of his own research. He said it really helped to inform his understanding of digital imaging technology and practice. This part, to me, was the most important – the information is finding its way to the people who need it.

Today we finish up the workshop, looking at how we can build upon each other’s efforts, and look for new ways to get this important information out.