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University Library wins Digital Preservation Award

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Members of staff are presented with the award for the Safeguarding the Digital Legacy category.

The University of Manchester Library was proud to receive the award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy at the prestigious international Digital Preservation Awards in London this week.

The award was presented for the Carcanet Press Email Preservation Project, an initiative set up to tackle the challenge of capturing and preserving the email archive of Manchester’s world-renowned publisher, Carcanet Press. 

The project team included Fran Baker, Dr Philip Butler, Caroline Martin and Ben Green.

"I'm flabbergasted," said Archivist Fran Baker, accepting the award on behalf of The University of Manchester Library; "this means a great deal ... particularly having seen the presentations of the other contenders."

Commenting on the very high standard of the submissions in this category, Maureen Pennock (British Library) and Paul Wheatley (University of Leeds) presented the award on behalf of the Digital Preservation Coalition at a prestigious gala evening in London.

Comments from the public element of the voting:

"This work has greatly impressed all staff encountering it here … in both the way it has been conducted and the scope of what has been achieved, from which many useful lessons can be taken."
"Tackling the thorny issue of preserving email is a hot, and pervasive, topic amongst digital preservationists so it’s good to see that someone has taken the bold step to delve into developing a solution to it. The contribution they have made will serve to assist many other academic and national institutions facing the job of preserving the growing masses of modern correspondence. A big thumbs up!"

The Digital Preservation Awards celebrate organisations across the world which have made significant and innovative contributions to ensuring that digital objects are accessible to future researchers.

During the project, more than 200,000 emails and 65,000 attachments which were in danger of being lost forever were rescued and preserved for the future. The result is a significant archive to which material will be added on an annual basis. A test-bed for practical digital preservation, the project allowed the development of documentation and workflows which can be adapted to ensure that the University Library is well-placed to deal with similar born-digital archives in the future.  As a result of the work done, material which would otherwise have been lost will be available to future readers, students and scholars.

Carcanet itself publishes many established, award-winning poets from around the world, including Nobel Laureates, recipients of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, and Pulitzer Prize-winners. The Carcanet list also includes new and emerging writers; no less than four of its authors appeared in the Poetry Book Society’s once-in-a-decade list of twenty Next Generation Poets earlier this year.

The other contestants for the award were: the University of Freiburg and Rhizome for their Conservation and Re-enactment of Digital Art Ready-Made project; the Digital Repository of Ireland and Partners for their Inspiring Ireland project; and the Archives and Records Council of Wales for their The Cloud and the Cow project.

A video of the awards ceremony can be viewed online via the Digital Preservation Awards website.

Updated: Fri, Jan 23, 2015

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