A special message from iPRES General Co-Chairs

From iPRES 2023, we look forward to seeing you in Illinois (or online!) for this year’s iPRES.

We begin the year with the first in a series of blog posts from members of the iPRES community. 

We’ll be using the iPRES site to share our experiences and observations about the conference, both to give newcomers a sense of what to expect, and to continue engaging with one another before we meet again. We’ll also be sharing information and tips about Urbana-Champaign and Chicago to help conference delegates prepare for their time here.

iPRES 2023 is co-chaired by Chris Prom, Interim Dean of Libraries at the University of Illinois at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and by Tracy Seneca, Head of Digital Programs & Services at the University of Illinois, Chicago. In our first blog post, each will share what iPRES 2023 means to them.

From Chris Prom:

I came a bit late to the IPRES party—the first meeting I attended was  in 2018 (Boston).  What I found impressed me and ultimately led me to a new ‘conference home’–a space that spanned many information science communities, approaches, and perspectives.  I most loved the sense of shared purpose and camaraderie that infused the sessions, workshops, side conversations, and social events.  As a person moving from the archives profession into allied areas, I met some of my existing friends, and made new ones, not only from networks here in the United States, but also from around the globe.  And the conversations between digital preservation researchers and practitioners were particularly valuable to me, as I began moving in my own career, into technology planning and implementation projects.  In that sense, iPRES is both a learning space, and a space to shape critical thinking about the future of digital preservation.  And I found that in spades at the 2022 Glasgow meeting, which I rank as the best single professional conference I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.

Ultimately, iPRES isn’t an organization, it isn’t even the conference per se: It’s individuals and organizations that infuse digital preservation best practices and research outcomes into a shared space, where collaboration and conversations flourish.  As we seek to build on the resounding past successes —we hope you will join us in growing the IPRES family, when we meet in Champaign Urbana, in September 2023.

From Tracy Seneca:

This is an exciting time to be engaged in the iPRES community. iPRES 2022 was immensely successful, with the largest number of delegates yet at an iPRES conference. That success is owed of course to the hard work of the Digital Preservation Coalition who hosted the conference, and particularly to William Kilbride who guided the DPC’s work. But it’s also due to the community itself – to growing number of people and organizations engaged in digital preservation and our eagerness to learn from one another.

Last year I wrote a blog post in the “Why I iPRES” series for 2022 where I talked about what iPRES means to me coming from an organization where digital preservation is a relatively new endeavor. The Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Chicago (UIC) campuses of the University of Illinois are quite different in size and scope. Where UIUC has been an international leader in digital library technology development and has built a robust in-house preservation repository, UIC just went into production with our first vendor-provided digital preservation system in December 2022!  This milestone is hugely important to me; it means that digitization at the UIC Library has matured, and that we too are practicing robust digital stewardship. 

So for me, iPRES has been a place to learn – a place to find a depth of expertise as I’ve tried to make preservation an integral part of our digitization and discovery workflow. Our small team has benefited immensely from three (overlapping) communities as we’ve done this work – the Digital Library Federation, the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, and iPRES. iPRES in particular has linked us with a much wider range of environments, discoveries and stories through the international community. 

I’m delighted to be engaged in bringing the iPRES community together again in 2023, and as I carry out this work I’m going to be keeping people from environments like mine in mind. Whether you’re deeply engaged in preservation research or you are still working to bring a preservation mindset to your organization, iPRES 2023 will have much to offer!