Why We Are iPres-ing

Folks from the Library of Congress have engaged with iPres to varying extents over the past decade. Currently, there are four Library of Congress employees on the iPres 2023 Planning Committee, ranging from veteran iPres participant to newcomer. This blog will highlight our experiences with iPres, including reflections on iPres 2022, and why we are iPres-ing (should we make this a word?) in 2023!

I am excited to be involved with the planning of iPres 2023 because, as someone early in my career, I am eager to make connections and learn more about exciting digital preservation projects. I was in the first year of my MSIS program in 2020, so much of my experience up to this point in the field of digital preservation has been through remote school, remote conferences, and, when I first started my position at the Library of Congress, remote work. When I was in graduate school, serving in a leadership role for my campus’s student chapter of the Society of American Archivists was a great way to build community and cultivate personal and professional relationships in spite of the pandemic. Now, as a member of the First-Time Attendees Committee for iPres 2023, I am hoping to replicate that experience. I want to connect with other practitioners from a variety of institutions who each bring their own unique backgrounds and experiences to the table. I also hope that, as a first-time attendee myself, I will be able to provide valuable insight to the work of my committee. At this point in my career, I am still learning all the time, and I am excited about the knowledge I will gain from iPres 2023!

Madeline Goebel
Digital Collections Specialist

iPres 2022 in Glasgow was my first iPres (and international conference), and I could not have had a more positive experience. I have attended various conferences across the United States, but I never felt a strong sense of community during their attendance or that the work totally resonated with my experiences. My time at iPres was completely different. My first-timer/imposter syndrome quickly dissipated while at iPres, and I felt comfortable mingling with others, both iPres veterans and new-timers. I am fortunate that I attended the conference along with my colleagues Meghan (another first-timer) and Kate, who graciously introduced us to others in the community. While at iPres, I presented a poster and was pleasantly surprised at how many people came to engage with our work. It felt like a low-stakes way to present my team’s work in a new environment, and I would highly recommend that other first-timers take advantage of future poster opportunities as a way to engage with the digital preservation community at the conference. Another highlight of the conference (in addition to learning some Scottish dances) was attending the NatLAM, now NatLA, meeting. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet others doing similar work at scale and engaging with the same challenges at institutions across the world. Because of my experiences at iPres 2022, I have volunteered on the Posters and Lightning Talk subcommittee for iPres 2023 and can hopefully play a small role in developing a program that fosters inclusivity, curiosity, and surely a bit of fun in the heart of my native Midwest (United States).  

Lauren Seroka
Senior Digital Collections Specialist

iPres 2022 in Glasgow was my first iPres and also my first in-person professional conference. It was a great relief after years of virtual events to finally be in a room (in many rooms!) with like-minded preservation professionals. I was fully engaged and included even though: I was not a presenter (although I volunteered to moderate a session); my area of specialty, web archiving, is somewhat niche; and I am relatively new to the profession.

The first event I attended was a workshop titled “Preserving Complex Digital Objects Revisited.” Presenters Patricia Falcao, Caylin Smith, and Sara Day Thomson gave succinct yet informative presentations, each on a complex preservation case study they face in their place of work. They then set groups of attendees to the task of solving those challenges, inviting us to combine our expertise and rally around the concept of minimum viable preservation (concept cited & referenced here) to find the best solution. I practiced my collaboration skills and learned from others in the room with expertise that differed from mine. Later in the week I found my niche represented by a lunch-time meeting of the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Web Archiving Preservation Working Group (WAPWG). This welcoming event put me in the room with an international cohort of web archivists and paved the way for yet more knowledge exchange and engagement. I brought my network home to the Library of Congress in the sense that I followed up on connections and initiated international Zoom calls whereby the rest of the Web Archiving Team could be present for discussions with experts on social media archiving, web archiving workflows, and more. My reason to iPres is to use the opportunity of attending the conference to build professional support and camaraderie. My advice to others attending first time is to lean into introducing yourself and be sure to follow up on your connections!

Meghan Lyon
Digital Collections Specialist

I’ve been in the iPres community for a long time as a reviewer (since about 2017 – how did THAT happen!), Program Committee member, WeMissIPres presenter and remote workshop co-leader, but like my colleagues Lauren and Meghan, iPres 2022 was my first in person iPres! And it was a busy one. Along with a cavalcade of stellar colleagues including Paul Wheatley (DPC), Francesca Mackenzie (PRONOM/National Archives UK),  Ross Spencer (Ravensburger AG), Euan Cochrane (Yale University Libraries), and Andy Jackson (British Library), we hosted the Registering Our Preservation Intentions: A Collaborative Workshop on Digital Preservation Registries. This workshop was an informal session to bring together those involved in developing, supporting and utilizing preservation registries along with the wider community of users and contributors. It aimed to provide a space for discussion on the future of the preservation registries landscape, identifying gaps in provision, understanding changing user needs, and exploring opportunities for collaboration. One of our main goals was to broaden the scope and lower the barriers for participation and input into file format research and decision-making. Other highlights for me were introducing keynote speaker Tamar Evangelestia-Dougherty from the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives for her impactful talk on Effectively Engaging With Communities For Equitable Digital Preservation Ecosystems, learning from Bertand Caron about Formalizing Policies on Data Formats Normalization at the National Library of France, Tyler Thorsted’s excellent research on Macintosh Resource Forks – Choosing File Formats for Preservation, Crystal Sanchez’s presentation on Caring for Born Digital Camera Original Video Formats, the Bake Off, and so many more. I was also pulling duty as a member of the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Executive Board and, as leader of the FADGI (Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative) AudioVisual Working group, a finalist for the DPC’s 20th Anniversary Award (we didn’t win but are thrilled for the PREMIS team who took home the trophy). But perhaps my best memories are the personal ones. Meeting new and familiar international colleagues and collaborators, sometimes for the first time IN PERSON, making connections between people and projects, hosting a Social Dinner at a local Indian restaurant. And yes, the Scottish Ceilidh dance was great fun. My LC colleagues have video footage of me on the dance floor which I am hoping never sees the light of day outside of LC staff channels. But we all had a great time. So much so that I am back again this year hoping to bring new voices and new perspectives into digital preservation as a co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee (along with Tracy Popp and Steven Gentry). Come join us in Champaign or online and join the welcoming digital preservation community.

Kate Murray
Digital Projects Coordinator