November 2 is World Digital Preservation Day, an annual event led by the Digital Preservation Coalition to celebrate the collaborative work that is being undertaken globally to ensure digital content is available in the present and the future. This year’s theme is Digital Preservation: A Concerted Effort, which particularly aligns with our activities in Wales. As a small, smart country we are well accustomed to undertaking concerted efforts for the common good, notably reflected by our Well-being of Future Generations Act. This Act is unique to Wales and requires public bodies to think about the long-term impact of their decisions and to work collaboratively. We have certainly delivered the Act in the context of digital preservation, influencing decision making through the creation of a national policy, advocating for investment, developing skills and through many collaborative initiatives.
The success of our advocacy work was recognised by being awarded the Dutch Digital Heritage Network Award for Teaching and Communications in 2022. Working together and knowledge transfer have been key to our success. A good illustration of the impact of our concerted effort is the Kickstart Cymru project. This initiative was funded by Welsh Government with the aim of providing public record offices in Wales with the necessary hardware, software (the Bundles) and training to undertake basic tasks in the accessioning of digital records. Accompanying videos, PowerPoint presentations and documentation are available on the Archives Wales Saving the Bits staff toolkit: https://archives.wales/staff-toolkit/saving-the-bits-programme/.
The Library is also developing its own ingest workflows by working with depositors to ensure that the submission process is not too onerous, but satisfies the Library requirement to enable the ingest of reliable and preservable content. The value of this concerted effort has been demonstrated by the recent publication of the Phonology of Rhondda Valleys collection, which is available through the Atom catalogue: https://archives.library.wales/index.php/the-phonology-of-rhondda-valleys-english. It comprises research exploring the English accent in the Rhondda Valleys, South Wales. It is a complex collection which includes interviews with members of workman’s Clubs in the Valleys communities, mp3 audio recordings and multi-page PDF files of transcripts. Providing access to collection involved a number of technical and rights issues, which could only be solved through the combined effort of the depositor, the digital accession archivist, the Archivematica developer and a host of others, which demonstrates that digital preservation is indeed a concerted effort!
Head of Unique and Contemporary Content
National Library of Wales