As has been announced in previous emails, there is an effort afoot to start a Digital Preservation Question & Answer site using the Stack Exchange framework:

The way that Stack Exchange works is that 200 users must "commit" to using the site once it is established in order for it to be started. We have had a very good response, and in the first week 160 users have already committed. We expect to have over 200 committed users soon.

But there is a catch…

At least 100 of our committed users must have at least 200 "reputation points" on one of the other, already established Stack Exchange sites. These 86 other sites are on a large variety of topics, from Computer Programming to Gaming to Biblical Hermeneutics:

So far only 12 of the 160 committed users have the needed 200 reputation points. We need another 88. If you have committed to our Digital Preservation Q&A site, it would help *A LOT* if you gained 200 reputation points on one of these other sites (Area 51 does not count).

"But wait", you say. "I am not interested in Computer Programming or Gaming or even Biblical Hermeneutics. I only want to ask and answer questions on Digital Preservation." 

Don't panic - there is a way to gain reputation points on other Stack Exchange sites while concentrating on Digital Preservation, and even provide generate some initial question/answers for the Digital Preservation site once it is approved. Here's how…

Some of the example questions generated for the DIgital Preservation site are appropriate to be posted as questions on other sites. For example, I posted these three questions on the "Computer Science" Q&A site:

1. Is it possible to create a "Time Capsule using encryption? (
2. Requirements for emulation (
3. Monitoring files in preservation archives (

I also tagged them with the metadata tag "digital-preservation" to make them easy to find. This tag is also used on other Q&A sites, such as Photography, and can be used on any site.

If anyone answers one of these questions, they will accrue reputation points on the Computer Science site. If their answers are "voted up" they will accrue even more. If the poser of the question tags their answer as "the best answer" then they will accrue yet more reputation. It's not hard to attain 200 points, and it will be even easier if we are answering and evaluating each others questions. Once our Digital Preservation site is approved, we can copy the question and the best answer to our site.

If you are not a Computer Science geek, then you could post a question on any site. If you tag it with "digital-preservation" then those of us interested in that topic can find it and answer it. There is a mechanism for searching for questions with a specific tag, and even for "subscribing" to it and receiving a notification whenever a new question with that tag is posted.

By following this approach, we can get started posing and answering Digital Preservation questions, and increase our reputation on other sites at the same time. But remember, your question must be on-topic for the site you post it to, or it will be removed. This approach will only work if we support the purposes of other sites while we start work on building our own!

Micah Beck
NDSA Innovation Working Group co-Chair
Associate Professor, Computer Science, University of Tennessee


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