Digital preservation project garners two national awards

Brian Dietz, Digital Program Librarian for Special Collections

Brian Dietz, Digital Program Librarian for Special Collections, is among the chief contributors to a project awarded both the 2020 Digital Preservation Award from the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and the 2020 Project Innovation Award from the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA).

One of fourteen contributing authors, Dietz helped develop "Levels of Born-Digital Access" (LBDA), a set of practices to facilitate and improve access to born-digital materials across the areas of Accessibility, Description, Researcher Support and Discovery, Security, and Tools. The project, which now provides an invaluable resource for cultural heritage institutions seeking to provide onsite access to their born-digital materials, was chosen from three finalists for the Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) Award for Research and Innovation from the DPC.

“The Levels was such a fun project,” Dietz says. “We had fourteen members on the team, and we all worked really well together. It was a true collaboration. And I really do hope that our project will make a lasting contribution to our field.”

LBDA grew out of a Digital Library Federation Born-Digital Access Working Group that Dietz co-led in 2017 and developed through the incorporation of wide-ranging feedback over the ensuing years. Last fall, the team made their draft document publicly available, which garnered over 170 comments from the international cultural heritage community and helped make the project’s recommendations more widely relevant.

“The Libraries has a history of providing collaboratively-built, innovative solutions in direct response to known researchers’ information needs. The LBDA embodies this spirit,” Greg Raschke, Senior Vice Provost and Director of Libraries, wrote in his nomination letter. “As access is the ultimate goal of digital preservation, the ‘Levels’ furthers the mission of the Digital Preservation Coalition, as well as cultural heritage practitioners in general.”

“It's a real honor to receive these awards,” Dietz adds. “If the slates of finalists are any indication, things are looking pretty good for the future of digital archives and preservation.”