Stewarding Academic and Research Content: An Interview with Bradley Daigle and Chip German about APTrust | The Signal
In this edition of the Insights Interview series for the NDSA Innovation Working Group, I was excited to talk with Bradley Daigle, director of digital curation services and digital strategist for special collections at the University of Virginia, and R. F. (Chip) German Jr., program director of the APTrust, about the Academic Preservation Trust.
Lauren: Tell us about the Academic Preservation Trust and how the organization addresses the needs of member institutions.
Bradley and Chip: The APTrust is a consortium of 17 members who believe that their combined expertise and experience can provide more efficient and effective means to answering the challenges of digital stewardship. The consortium’s objective is to establish new collaborative strategies to help in addressing the complex and daunting issue of preserving the digital scholarly content produced or managed by universities. The group draws upon the deep knowledge of its members to target specific solutions that are content, technological, and administratively focused. Each member has representatives that work locally with their organization and then bring that knowledge back to the larger collective. This dialogic approach provides the methodology by which challenges are identified, analyzed, and then addressed in the best manner possible for the consortium.
The consortium is governed by its members, and it is operated and managed by a small staff based at the University of Virginia Library. The core APTrust team organizes and deploys the resources of the group in an open, collaborative manner. We work to guide and seek guidance from the consortium itself.
Lauren: You mentioned that members work within their organization and share what they learned with the consortium. Could you talk a bit more specifically about what are members expected to contribute to APTrust? What are some of the resources from which members can benefit?
Bradley and Chip: The APTrust seeks to provide broad, scalable solutions that identify the true costs of preservation. In this manner, we hope to provide the economic and business models for digital preservation that any level of organization can adopt and deploy locally. Working together, we hope to create solutions that anyone can use.
To that end, members play a key role in seeking out both the problems and solutions to specific preservation challenges. For example, we have a current sub group of members who are focused specifically on the requirements for becoming a Trusted Digital Repository. This qualification is highly desired by some members but not necessarily everyone at the same level. Therefore, the ability to form special interest groups who can plumb the depths of a given issue and then bring a condensed version back to the collective is one of the many ways we use engagement and need to move the entire effort forward. We also have groups that are focused on our communications efforts as well as storage security. Some of these groups will disband once the initial work is concluded–others (like the TDR) represent the ongoing need for focused attention.