Digital preservation: sustainability through participation?

By Alexandra Eveleigh1, Rebecca Frank2, Greg Rolan3

1. University College London 2. University of Michigan 3. Monash University

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8 July, 2015. Monash University

The documentation and preservation of digital material is of central concern to everyone working in memory institutions – whether from a research, cultural heritage, or accountability perspective. However, exponentially increasing volumes against a backdrop of changing technology and societal expectations renders this a herculean task. A participatory approach to digital preservation is one emergent mechanism that may facilitate sustainability of this activity into the future.

This workshop seeks to raise and address whether a participatory approach to preservation could facilitate sustainability of digital information, of preservation and curation activities, and of the institutions that engage in this type of work. Three speakers will give their position on the problem, offer examples of how different stakeholders might contribute to enhancing the longevity of digital resources, and identify issues for further discussion in a round-table format.

Although such questions are likely to be too complex to be addressed comprehensively in one session, we hope that a major outcome of the workshop will be a research and communication agenda to further investigate the relationship between participation and sustainability for digital preservation.


Alexandra Eveleigh is a Lecturer in Digital Humanities at the University of Westminster, and a Research Associate at University College London working on information governance aspects of the research use of government administrative datasets. She is a professional archivist by background and worked mainly in local government archives in the UK before returning to academia in 2010 to undertake a PhD in collaboration with The National Archives on crowdsourcing and online participation. Her research interests more generally focus around the intersection of archival theory and practice with digital technologies, including issues of sustainability and the long-term preservation of digital humanities research resources, as well as the implications of digitisation, big data, and digital access upon both management workflows and historical research practice. Rebecca Frank is a PhD Candidate at the University of Michigan School of Information. She received her Master of Science in Information with a focus on Preservation of Information from the University of Michigan School of Information in 2012. Her research interests include digital preservation, the sustainability of digital information, trustworthy digital repositories, risk and disaster planning for digital digital repositories, and data curation and reuse. She is currently conducting research about the development of sustainable information infrastructure to support preservation, curation, and access for data. Gregory Rolan is a PhD Candidate in the in the Centre for Organisational and Community Informatics, at Monash University. Following a 30-year career in IT, Greg returned to Monash to qualify as a librarian. He then went on to complete his Master of Business Information Systems (Honours) degree in archival studies. Greg is now researching archival systems interoperability and is investigating systems interoperability; conceptual modelling in information informatics; metadata standards-setting; and organisational/social factors in information systems design and implementation

Sponsored by

The Records Continuum Research Group