Digital Preservation Coalition
The DRI is a member of the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), a not-for-profit company established in 2002 as a collaboration between a number of agencies operating in the UK and Ireland interested in the preservation of digital information. Participation in the coalition is open to all sectors including commercial, cultural heritage, educational, governmental, and research bodies. The organisation was established to secure our digital legacy.
The DPC’s mission is to enable their members to deliver resilient long-term access to digital content and services, helping them to derive enduring value from digital assets and raising awareness of the strategic, cultural, and technological challenges they face. They achieve their aims through advocacy, community engagement, workforce development, capacity-building, good practice, and good governance.
DRI Director Dr Natalie Harrower has organised several training and partnership events with DPC, e.g. Trust and Digital Preservation and Getting Started in Digital Preservation, was a member of the DPC Advocacy and Communication Committee (2016-2018), and sits on the DPC’s Digital Preservation Awards expert judging panel. DRI Operations and Communications Manager Dr Áine Madden sits on the DPC Workplace Development Subcommittee (2021-present) and DRI Interim Director Dr Lisa Griffith joined the DPC Advocacy and Community Engagement Subcommittee in 2022. DRI staff are also certified on a number of DPC digital preservation skills training courses.
Digital Preservation Awards
The Digital Preservation (DP) Awards celebrate the excellence and innovation that will help to secure our digital legacy. DRI Director Natalie Harrower is one of the expert judges on the international DP Awards judging panel.
The DP Awards were created by DPC in 2004 to raise awareness about digital preservation, providing a rare opportunity to engage in some high-profile advocacy, articulating nuanced messages about how and why one might engage in digital preservation. They enable the DPC to endorse and celebrate outstanding work which may go unrecognised by other communities.
In its early iterations (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2010), the DPC sponsored a single award under the auspices of the Conservation Awards. In 2012, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Coalition, the DPC organised the Digital Preservation Awards under its own mandate, offering 3 awards – an award for teaching and communications, an award for research and innovation, and a special tenth anniversary award for outstanding contribution to digital preservation. In 2014, a further 2 awards were offered and in 2016 the DPC Fellowship was offered for the first time. A new category was added in 2020, making six Awards in total alongside the DPC Fellowship Award.
DRI DP Award Nominations
In September 2020, the DRI project ‘Amplifying change: A history of the Atlantic Philanthropies on the island of Ireland’ (Amplifying Change) was announced as one of three finalists for the prestigious National Archives Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy, which celebrates initiatives for their practical application of preservation tools to protect at-risk digital objects. The Digital Preservation Awards judges declared that:
[T]he Atlantic Philanthropies is a watershed project, not just for the partners but for the fully mature digital preservation tools and services which are deployed. It shows that digital preservation is a viable proposition: and conversely that data loss is a choice.
Recordings of the Digital Preservation Awards 2020 can be accessed on the DPC website.
The Amplifying Change archive can be explored at the following dedicated exhibition platform: https://dri.ie/atlanticphilanthropies
Archiving Reproductive Health
In September 2022, the DRI project ‘Digital Preservation of Reproductive Health Resources: Archiving the 8th‘ (Archiving Reproductive Health) was announced as the winner of announced as the winner of the Digital Preservation Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy. This Award celebrates initiatives for the practical application of tools to protect at-risk digital objects.
The Archiving Reproductive Health project aims to provide long-term preservation and access to the many at-risk archives generated by grassroots women’s reproductive health movements before and during the campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution. Funded by Wellcome Trust and administered by the DRI, the project is publishing and making available digital collections from activist organisations that otherwise would be lost. The preservation of these collections adds significantly to our understanding of women’s rights movements and the history of reproductive healthcare in Ireland. The collections are also an important record of social and legal change in Ireland and their preservation in the DRI repository promises to safeguard the legacy of women’s reproductive rights activism whilst also paving the way for further research developments in this area.
The Digital Preservation Award judges felt that the ARH project ‘was a visionary, contemporarily important project’, commenting that:
At this particular moment in history, where reproductive health has again become jeopardised in one country, making headline news across the world and impacting the potential futures of many people in both the US and other countries, it is important to ensure that the hard work, stories, and facts related to reproductive health and the 8th amendment in Ireland are preserved. None of us wants to fight these fights again, but we may well need to many times over, and for that possible future we will need accurate, factual records that may be currently at risk, to be preserved now – and for these efforts to be recognised.
The judges added that:
The project exemplifies many of the most important aspects of community archives. A large political moment is of incredible historical significance but as soon as it is over the digital outputs which informed its course can quickly be lost, whether by accident or design. It’s essential that the digital preservation community learn and implement the lessons from this work. So, while this project focuses on its own historical moment it has an important capacity to inform a great deal of practice as well outside of Ireland.
The Digital Preservation Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy is a significant recognition of the substantial work of the key stakeholders involved in this project, including the Abortion Rights Campaign, Together for Yes, Terminations for Medical Reasons, Coalition to Repeal the Eighth, and many others. The Award is also a testament to the dedication of the ARH project team: Digital Archivist and Coordinator Clare Lanigan, Postdoctoral Researcher and Digital Archivist Dr Lorraine Grimes, Software Developer Preetam Singhvi, and the project PIs Dr Natalie Harrower, Dr Aileen O’Carroll, and Dr Kathryn Cassidy.