NDSA:Content Interview Series

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"CONTENT MATTERS" : Content Interview Blog Post Series Charter

One Sentence Description

As part of the Content Working Group desire to raise awareness about the variety of content being preserved (or in need of preservation) by NDSA members, this project will develop a plan and implement a series of interviews for blog posts.

Point of Contact

To get involved in this work, contact Abbie Grotke at abgr@loc.gov

Statement of the Problem and Goals for Addressing the Problem

This team's work is expected to include hosting a set of interviews which could be shared on a blog, or through some other communications platform. The Content Interview Series is an attempt by the Content Working Group of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) to engage with individuals working on projects or in areas that preservation and discovery and access of digital materials. In this project, we are engaging in interactions over email which are then posted for the community to comment on and discuss. The goal of these conversations is to broaden awareness of the types of content being preserved, or in need of preservation, by NDSA members and others in the community, and engage new communities in conversations about digital preservation and stewardship.

Completed Interviews


Strategic Value of Activity

Publishing these interviews shares stories of digital content that is being preserved or in need of preservation, to highlight the types of content that NDSA members are concerned about and to bring awareness to others of the types of content, and risk involved with digital content.

Required Resources

Time of working group members


1. Individual or Content Team determines who to ask to be interviewed.
2. Interview requested and accepted.
3. Questions refined or developed for that interview -- can be done by individual or with the Content Team.
4. Questions emailed to interviewee for responses.
5. Responses edited into an interview blog post.
6. Edited interview sent to interviewee for review.
7. Final version published on blog.

Dissemination of Knowledge

The Signal Digital Preservation Blog: http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/

Signifiers of Success and Outcomes


  • The Content Working Group will discuss the work with other members and will share successes with NDSA-ALL and the coordinating committee of the NDSA.
  • The action team will also report on their work to members of the Content Working Group through periodic group phone calls.
  • Completed interviews published at www.digitalpreservation.gov

Outcomes: NDSA starts talking about and posting about the interviews. The interviews raise awareness to digital preservation and the content being preserved.

Interview Process and Materials


Text: The Content Working Group will conduct interviews over email and then share the resulting text interviews through some manner of blog or wiki where they will invite conversation from the broader community. We will aim for one blog post per quarter, at a minimum.

Proposed Interview Areas/Subjects

Interviews will ideally emerge from the Content Teams and members will be encouraged to self nominate themselves or identify others to interview. Members of a content team could interview other members (or answer a core set of questions for their own organization), or interview others outside of NDSA who are working with interesting content that we want to draw attention to. We will rotate through the Content Teams so each team is represented and we have some diversity in content.

  • Government
    • Jim Corridan and Matt Veatch re: State Electronic Records Initiative (DONE)
  • Geospatial
  • News, Media, and Journalism
  • Science, Mathematics, Technology and Medicine
    • Christie Moffett/Interview with scientists (DONE)
  • Social Sciences
  • Cultural Heritage
    • National Park Service/Chris Dietrich (DONE)
    • Latin American Government Documents Archive/Kent Nordsworthy (done prior to start of this charter by Trevor Owens)
  • Arts & Humanities
    • Rhizome/Ben Fino-Radin (done prior to start of this charter by Trevor Owens)
    • Jonathan Larson Papers/Doug Reside (done prior to start of this charter by Sue Manus)

Introductory Email if contacting outside NDSA sources

Hello, [name],

We're writing to you as part of a group called the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), convened by the Library of Congress. It is a collaborative effort among government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and businesses to preserve a distributed national digital collection for the benefit of present and future generations.

The NDSA has a specific Content Working Group formed to discuss the challenges and solutions for preserving a variety of types of content.

We're writing to you today to see if you would be willing to be interviewed for a blog series focusing on content areas being explored in digital preservation. If so, thank you! You can simply respond to this email and we will send you a short set of questions to respond to for the post.

We'll look forward to hearing from you! And please, feel free to get back to us with any questions about this.


For more information on the NDSA and Content Working Groups, please visit: http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/ndsa/

Guiding Questions

This set of questions is inspired by questions asked in prior (NDSA and other) interviews on the Signal blog, and are very general. These can be modified depending on the type of content or the specific collection we're featuring.

  • Could you give us an example of some of the kinds of things you have collected?
  • What kinds of stories do you think this collection tells us? Are there some trends and changes over time in the collection that you could tell us about? It would be ideal if you could point to particular works that you think exemplify these trends.
  • What are some of the most popular pieces in the collection? Could you tell us a little bit about them?
  • How about a few of the most underappreciated pieces in the collection? Do you have a few favorites that you think people should be paying more attention to? Again, it would be ideal if you could give us a bit of context for these pieces. What kinds of stories do these works help us tell?
  • Tell us about the importance of [X] collection
  • How does this collection fit in with other collections and areas of research activity at your organization?
  • Could you tell us a bit about what you see as the primary value of this kind of collection? Do you think this is a model for other organizations, and if so what do you see as the key features that [organizations[ should be focusing on in developing plans for [these types of collections].
  • Could you tell us a bit about how the collection is being [or might be] used? To what extent is it for the general public? To what extent is it for scholars and researchers? [or other audiences]
  • Any thoughts about the general challenges of handling digital materials within archival collections?