I attended the recent DPC event “What I Wish I Knew Before I Started” down in London, hosted by Sharon McMeekin, Adrian Brown, Edith Halvarsson, Matthew Addis, and Glenn Cumiskey. It was aimed at students and recent graduates, but myself and a fellow trainee attended. It was the first proper conference I’ve attended, but the presentations and atmosphere were very easy going, and the speakers were really informative. They touched on subjects I hadn’t yet come across; such as the three legged stool model, problems with intangible assets, ethical implications of what archives hold, and many other ideas and concepts I hadn’t thought about before.
This event gave me an opportunity to see archives on a national scale. Until attending the event, my only experience of archives was through my work place and from limited visits to other repositories. The event gave me a sense of the inter-connectivity, the network behind individual archives. The end of the conference was rounded out by an open table, giving students a chance to ask the speakers questions. Loads of points were brought up, from short term career goals (how to get into archives and move around the sector) to developmental challenges overseas (how do you start and maintain an archive in an impoverished country). In the short amount of time I’ve spent at Hull History Centre, I’ve come to realise the positive impact archives can have to local communities and educational institutions. I’m only now considering the international community that surrounds the archival sector.
And that was my main take away from the event. The amount of communication advocating for digital preservation was fascinating to see; it was brought up several times throughout the event but really came to ahead with the open questions. On an international scale people are talking and progressing the idea of digital preservation. “What can we do for the future?” was asked several times by the speakers, and this was the first time I had thought about the long term implications of my career.
What is obvious is that I’ve entered the sector at a very interesting time. Things are changing, the digital side of archiving is becoming more prevalent, and my skillset is becoming more useful as the idea of digital preservation continues. I am excited for the future, and looking forward to continuing my development.
Jack Quinlan, Bridging the Digital Gap Trainee