Once upon a time, there was a lively digital preservation community, sharing knowledge and expertise via social media and by personal meetings. Then there came a pandemic. No drinks together, no conferences, no chatting.
But the preservation community managed to stay in touch with each other via social media and teleconferences. A team of volunteers, the Friends of iPRES, even organized an online conference, WeMissiPRES, to keep everyone informed about the latest developments.
And then something unexpected happened: our main channel of informing each other, TWITTER, turned out to have become an uncomfortable place. Many preservationists stopped posting. Some took part in various other places, like Mastondon digipres.
I think we lost a valuable asset: a large community that shared a space to discuss digital preservation topics.
A worldwide pandemic was not able to destroy our communication. But one individual was able. Why let we happen this?
Personally, I regret this loss of being informed very much. And from what I heard of other preservationists, I’m not the only one who cannot find DP friends anymore.
In the Netherlands, the universities started a Mastodon pilot for researchers and students (see https://www.surf.nl/en/mastodon-pilot-for-research-and-education) . My colleague Johan van der Knijff recently sent me this article in Nature. We are not alone!
Could the preservation community start with finding a solution? Would it not be an excellent opportunity for organisations like DPC, DCC, OPF, IIPC to cooperate and establish a new communication place? Could one of these organisations perhaps start an initiative and invite the others to join? Maintain it according to digital preservation standards and make it available to everyone interested?
I’m sure, we all will benefit if our community dialogue will continue.