20 years in Digital Preservation

It came as a bit of a shock to realise that sometime in the next 12 months, I will have been involved in digital preservation for 20 years.

The first thing I ever wrote in 1995 on the topic of digital preservation (fortunately anonymously) was this:


The inadequacies and compromises in this advice (not only for preservation but also for its implications for online access), sparked my interest in solving the problems and helping advance solutions for them (such as the Archaeology Data Service) in subsequent years.

How to mark the occasion? Well over the last two decades I have given over 150 keynotes and presentations at events internationally and in the UK on digital preservation topics, and a personal digital archive has gradually evolved. So I have decided to make a personal selection of 12 presentations that I think may have been the most significant and influential.

I will release a blog narrative for one of them each month over the next 12 months and will put it on Slideshare. For those interested in which presentations made the cut and will be appearing on 1st day of the month over 2015, this is my personal top 12 arranged in date order:

  • 1998 – Preserving Digital Collections: current methods and research, presentation to the Society of Archivists annual conference, Sheffield UK
  • 2001 – Preservation Management of Digital Materials (the Digital Preservation Handbook) presentation to Digital Preservation Workshop, Melbourne Australia
  • 2004  –  The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), Its History, Programme, Rationale ,and Structure, set of 4 linked presentations to DPC Forum, London UK
  • 2004 -Digital Preservation, e-journals and e-prints, presentation at private workshop 1st iPres conference, Beijing China
  • 2004 –  The JISC Continuing Access and Digital Preservation Strategy 2002-5, presentation to the JISC-CNI conference, Brighton UK
  • 2004 – eScience and Digital Preservation, presentation to Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) conference, Rhode Island USA
  • 2005 – Plenty of Room at the Bottom? Personal Digital Libraries and Collections, keynote presentation to European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries (ECDL), Vienna Austria
  • 2005 – Digital Preservation and Curation Summing up + Next Steps, conclusions to Warwick II Workshop, Warwick UK
  • 2007 – Digital Preservation: Setting the Course for a Decade of Change, keynote presentation to the Belgian Association for Documentation (ABD-BVD), Brussels Belgium
  • 2010 – Keeping Research Data Safe, presentation to KB Experts Workshop on Digital Preservation Costs, The Hague Netherlands
  • 2013 – Maintaining a Vision: how mandates and strategies are changing with digital content, keynote presentation to Screening the Future conference, London UK
  • 2014 – The Value and Impact of Research Data Infrastructure, presentation to the Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG), Karlsruhe Germany


2 Responses to “20 years in Digital Preservation”

  1. Mary Dunne on 02 Dec 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Will look forward to reading these. It will be like a Masterclass in Digital Preservation!

  2. neil on 04 Dec 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks Mary- hopefully – the next 12 months will tell!

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