Yesterday, I had the pleasure and privilege to attend the Connecticut Forum on Digital Initiatives. The second installment of what I hope will be an annual event brought together more than 100 people interested in digital preservation and presentation from across the state and even beyond. We were treated to an engaging and challenging opening keynote from Trevor Owens from the Library of Congress. My big takeaway from that talk was the idea that we should not “confuse tools with content.”
In an era where we want to use, reuse, and manipulate our digital content the display or presentation means change quickly. It is the content (or what I might call the “data”) that we want to preserve. We can also preserve the story that is told with the data through the presentation platform, but that is a completely different activity, and separate from the tools.
Trevor was followed by a number of breakout presentations on a host of topics. You can look at the Google doc to see the schedule and links to presentations and examples.
I had two chances to speak at the Forum. One was to introduce our latest project, the Connecticut Digital Archive (more on that later) a state-wide collaborative preservation repository for cultural heritage organizations based in Connecticut. You can see the slides below:
My second chance to talk came at the end of the day when an interested and perhaps somewhat information overloaded group convened for the closing plenary.
My point in the closing was to encourage people to join the digital archive effort, and to think about the current challenges facing archivists in the digital age.
Anyone who has read this blog in the past will know what comes next. I wanted to convey my idea that the current challenges we face are part of a long evolution of record keeping that goes back as far as clay tablets and will extend far beyond our lifetimes. To meet today’s challenges, I said that we should respect the traditions of our profession and embrace the potential of our technology.
You can read the text of my remarks and see the slides: