NDSA:Content Working Group

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Statement of Purpose

The Content Working Group will focus on identifying content already preserved, investigating guidelines for the selection of significant content, discovery of at-risk digital content or collections, and matching orphan content with NDSA partners who will acquire the content, preserve it, and provide access to it.

How to Get Involved

Contact co-chairs Maureen Harlow (mmharlow@pbs.org) and Lauren Work (lw2cd@eservices.virginia.edu) to join the working group or to learn more about how to get involved.

A few ways to learn more and get involved:

  • Read this wiki - review the scope of work and information about the Content Teams, to get started
  • Check out our public page: http://ndsa.diglib.org/working-groups/content/
  • Join our meetings (details below)
  • Sign up to do one of our NDSA:Member Presentations
  • Offer to help take meeting minutes (truly appreciated!)
  • Join one of our NDSA:content teams
  • Help with small or large tasks to accomplish Content Team goals
  • Chat with your fellow members via the listserv - ask questions, tell us about your projects, introduce yourself!
  • Have an idea for a project or activity? Action teams may also be formed outside of (or within) the Content Teams, to perform specific tasks or accomplish goals. Start one up!
  • Get your co-workers involved - if there are others in your organization that you'd like to get more involved, contact Abbie to get them signed up.

And finally,

  • Don't be afraid to change Working Groups. If Content isn't a good fit, and you're more interested in Infrastructure, Innovation, Outreach, or Standards after all, our feelings won't be hurt. We realize that as the work evolves, new members may find themselves in the "wrong" group. Contact your co-chairs if you have questions about switching working groups.

Scope of Work

The Content Working Group is developing case studies and models to share compelling stories that demonstrate the value of digital preservation in our communities. The case studies will be shared with all stakeholders, from content producers to cultural heritage organizations, with goals of:

  • engaging all members of the community in the preservation of content,
  • encouraging the cultivation of relationships that could enable preservation, and,
  • in conjunction with other working groups in the NDSA, identifying actionable next steps to ensure important content is preserved.

An earlier version of our NDSA:scope of work is available here.

Current Activities and Initiatives

2015 Planning

Presentation topics and project ideas

  • Working with Content Creators
  • 2015 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship (taken from "Actionable Recommendations")
    • Section 2.1 Overarching Issues with Digital Content
      • Develop content scans in each area of interest to the community that identify important collections and the efforts to ensure durable access to them
      • Continue to build systematic longitudinal evidence on the practice and context of preservation
      • Extend systematic surveys and scans on organizational capacity and preservation storage practices to guide selection
    • Section 2.2.2 Connection to Creator Community
      • Support the ongoing evaluation of digital collections and their impacts
        • Project idea: 2015 Web Archiving Survey? (following on 2011 and 2013 surveys)
      • Communicate and coordinate collection priority statements at national, regional, and institutional levels
        • Project idea: Create template? Develop survey? How might the CWG support this?
      • Explore privacy issues in born-digital collecting
        • Suggested Speaker: Jean E. Dryden, who teaches Society of American Archivists Digital Archives Specialist (DAS) course on this topic
      • Develop further understanding and proficiency in the tools researchers want to interact with digital collections
      • Connect with the communities across commercial, nonprofit, private, and public sectors that create digital content to leverage their incentives to preserve
    • Section 2.3 Content-Specific Challenges
      • 2.3.1 Scientific Data Sets
        • CWG Project Ideas
        • Suggested Speakers/Topics for Presentations
          • Virginia Commonwealth University data manager
          • GIS data
          • Workflows for ongoing collection of scientific data and software/code to preserve in institutional repositories
      • 2.3.2 Web and Social Media
        • CWG Project Ideas
          • Guidance for web site creators (a one-page guidance document for creators is in the works)
          • Content Case study on web archiving rapidly changing events
        • Suggested Speakers/Topics for Presentations
          • Martin Klein, UCLA, on collecting social media around the Arab Spring, including from researchers who captured content
          • Ben Welsh on extending the functionality of Story Tracker (looking for input from web archive community)
          • Memento project
      • 2.3.4 Moving Image and Recorded Sound
        • CWG Project Ideas
        • Suggested Speakers/Topics for Presentations
      • 2.3.5 Electronic Records (of businesses, organizations, and government)
        • CWG Project Ideas
        • Planned Speakers, April 1, 2015
          • Glen McAninch, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives
          • Kevin De Vorsey, National Archives and Records Administration
  • Other suggestions/ideas
    • "Older-data-rescue" outreach
    • Furthering work to understand stakeholders (creative and visual artists mentioned specifically)
    • Cross Content Team projects related to born-digital news preservation
  • Other suggestions/ideas
    • Continue/Restart member presentations

Content Teams

Content Working Group NDSA:content teams have been formed around various content areas to better organize our large working group. By motivating smaller teams to work together on projects of interest to them, we hope to accomplish more and raise awareness about the risk and value of digital content. Ideally everyone in the content WG will sign up for at least one that fits their organizations content area of interest. Read more NDSA:About the Content Teams here.

NOTE: The content teams have their own meeting schedules; please contact the facilitators for each group to learn more about meeting times.

NDSA:Content Case Studies

The Content Teams of the Content Working Group will develop case studies around a variety of types of content to share compelling stories that demonstrate the value of digital preservation in our communities.

Quick links to Case Studies in Development

Others in progress: The Government team is working on a case study on land records, including Maryland land records and geospacial records, with a focus on issues of cooperation between local and state people and groups. Anne Harrison from FEDLINK is also working on a case study on trying to preserve history of legislation: hearings, publications, etc. A description of this content and needs will be drafted in case study format.

Content Interview Series

Working Groups members are interviewing and being interviewed for the Signal Blog NDSA:Content Interview Series. If you are interested in participating, contact Abbie abgr@loc.gov.

Member Presentations

We want to learn more about you! Sign up on our NDSA:Member Presentations page to present about your organization, what content you are preserving, and your challenges and success stories.

2013 NDSA:Web Archiving Survey

A survey of Web Archiving organizations in the U.S. was open through November 30, 2013 and analysis is now under way. More information is at NDSA:Web Archiving Survey.

Prior Activities

For more information about prior activities undertaken by the CWG, visit our NDSA:Prior Activities page.

Meeting Schedule and Minutes

See our new CWG NDSA:Calendar! Add upcoming events or sign up to give one of our brief NDSA:Member Presentations.

  • 4/6/2016: Focus on Social Media Preservation, with guest speakers Sara Day Thomson and Bergis Jules. Audio available now! Listen online here.

NDSA:Prior CWG Meetings (2010-2013)


The group will work and collaborate using the following tools and mechanisms:

  • Listserv: visit this page to subscribe or unsubscribe.
  • Regular conference calls: see meetings section above.
  • Annual conference
  • Wiki: you're here!