**With apologies for cross-posting**
A new report from CLIR examines the early impacts of the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) programs and the potential for their expansion nationally. The residencies place graduates of master’s programs in information science and related fields at cultural heritage organizations to pursue projects related to the collection, selection, management, preservation, and accessibility of digital material.
Keepers of Our Digital Future: An Assessment of the National Digital Stewardship Residencies, 2013–2016 provides a formative evaluation of the early residencies, based on surveys and interviews with NDSR participants and supervisors from the Washington D.C., New York, and Boston programs. The study was led by Meridith Beck Mink, with the assistance of Samantha DeWitt, Christa Williford, and Alice Bishop.
Over the past two decades, the significant increase in born-digital material and concern over the loss of digital and analog content have driven the demand for information professionals with a host of new skills. “The NDSR was created to address this need for effective management of digital materials by increasing the number of professionals prepared to undertake that vital work,” writes Mink.
“The need to rethink the work of stewardship … for the digital age is clear and it is urgent,” writes Abby Smith Rumsey in her foreword to the report. Because cultural heritage institutions have always adhered to principles of openness while also protecting the privacy of their users, she notes, “they enjoy a measure of trust unmatched by commercial entities… These cultural values will grow more important.”
The NDSR programs were designed to establish a set of norms and practices that could be followed by similar initiatives nationwide. The report describes the NDSR model and examines the similarities and differences among the Washington, D.C., Boston, and New York programs. The authors present their major findings and recommendations for administering the programs, developing a curriculum and skills, and strengthening cohorts and mentorship.
Among the key findings is that, as the model is reproduced nationwide, there is greater need for national-level coordination and communication across programs. The authors offer a series of recommendations for stakeholders in the NDSR programs who wish to pursue a nationally coordinated effort.
Keepers of Our Digital Future is available as a PDF download free of charge at http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub173.
Funding for the study was provided by a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
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