What I’ve Learned From WSU NDSA and Digital Preservation 2012

Alexandra Orchard, Laura Gentry, and Aubrey Maynard, with Alexandra’s poster at left and the video poster (Camille Chidsey, Laura Gentry, Lisa Phillips) at right.

Alexandra Orchard will be posting an official overview of our experience at the DP 2012 meeting, but I wanted to share a few more personal things that I have gained from being part of our student group and the meeting.

  1. The Process:  As a member of this group, I have learned to use new tools and gained experience in working as a team online, from our meetings to working on the video poster presentation. Great partners can be anywhere in the world. It just takes using the right tools. Our WSU conference attendees included 3 online group members, Aubrey Maynard, from Seattle (our group’s secretary and video contributor), Laura Gentry, from Alabama (video and poster contributor), and Dale Russell, from Ohio (group member). DP 2012 was the first time Aubrey, Laura, and Dale met with us in person.
  2. The Video Poster:  It came together very quickly, thanks to Camille Chidsey (who could not attend the conference, but put her best effort into the poster anyway) and Laura Gentry (who made the poster 10 times better with her reconception of our timeline idea and diligent editing). Now I know how to do a poster from start to finish and I’ll be so much less nervous next time around. If any of you have a poster coming up, I highly recommend posterpresentations.com as fast, great service, and decent pricing.
  3. The Meeting Itself:  It was an unbelievable opportunity to meet leaders in the field and hear about the latest planning, strategies, and technologies in digital preservation. One of the best opportunities was a chance to sign up for 15 minutes with a director from IMLS, NEH, or NARA to discuss grant funding. I got to talk to Nancy Melley, the Director for Technology Initiatives, National Historical Publications & Records Commission, who graciously gave me advice on the biggest mistakes that cause grants to be rejected (the grant applicant doesn’t make their case strongly enough), and the best ways to learn to write effective grants (use similar successful grants as templates), among other things. Other specific things I will take away include a much clearer idea of how to use Viewshare, an LOC-developed tool for digital collections, a greater understanding of the architecture of information systems, and a rough version of the Innovation Working Group’s guidelines for levels of digital preservation, which I will be reviewing at a future WSU NDSA meeting.
  4. The Importance of Taking Chances and Thinking That You Can:  Like almost everything in life, grad school, student groups, and conferences are what you make of them. The moment when our group stood up in front of the entire conference as the first student chapter of the NDSA to whistles and cheers of approval, the moment after the video was shown and the crowd applauded with genuine enthusiasm — those moments were thrilling. Alexandra and I spoke in hushed tones among the crowd. We were trying to play it cool, professional, no big deal, but inside, we were jumping up and down with excitement. I hope that everyone involved in our group, from that first meeting in January till now, takes a moment of their own for a little victory dance and shares in the pride we feel for the accomplishments of our group.
  5. The Leadership:  None of this would have been possible without the vision, guidance and commitment from our teacher and advisor, Kimberly Schroeder. Thank you, Kim.

-Lisa Phillips

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