Preserving Digital Culture – The Good, The Bad, and The Syllabus


This was the first google image search result for “preserving digital culture” and I have no idea what it means. [Can be found at this EU site]

I was lucky enough to have the chance to co-teach the class “Preserving Digital Culture,” with Alison Langmead (thanks Alison!) and  James King this past semester, Spring 2014, as part of the archives track curriculum of the MLIS program at University of Pittsburgh.  I think my title was “Visiting Guest Lecturer” or something (though my lecturing was minimal, since it was an in-person class and I, uh, don’t live in Pittsburgh). I mostly chipped in a bit on the syllabus and designed some assignments and the two hands-on, tool-oriented lab sessions. And graded, of course. Always with the grading. It was fun to teach and the students were very engaged and smart — there may yet be hope for digital preservation. We instructors are still working to find the perfect balance of readings, labs, lectures, and assignments to meet our many pedagogical goals (and I won’t even mention trying to get things installed by IT on the campus computers), but I think we’re getting there.

I figured I’d post both the syllabus and a document dump of some of the other resources from the class along with links to some of the public student work. This includes some after-the-fact analysis of what worked and didn’t work about the assignments as well as resources from the two hands-on “labs” I cobbled together — well, re-cobbled, since I updated/tweaked lab materials also used in last year’s “Digital Preservation” class in the same program. There are also links to student web archive collections and PSA videos in the relevant assignment docs.

I haven’t finished converting the labs to text-only format from their live-session origins, but hope to finish that over the summer and will post them in the repo and maybe others can help build and expand on them once they are posted.

You can find the whole kit-and-digpres-kaboodle online.

If you are just interested in the syllabus, here are the .md and .pdf.

One Comment

  1. Fred Grevin

    Jefferson, many thanks for posting your course documents.

    I, too, teach a course in digital preservation (for the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Queens College, City University of New York–CUNY). I would be glad to share the syllabus with you; just send me an email address.

    Best regards,
    Fred Grevin

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