​The Accidental Digital Curator: Acquiring and Preserving Digital Archives​​

Cultural heritage institutions are beginning to acquire digital archives. They come from faculty and researchers, authors and artists, organizations and others. Along with this digital content comes the responsibility for identifying, extracting, describing, providing access to and preserving these important born-digital collections and these new digital curation responsibilities present some new challenges. The reality is that most collections arrive on a variety of hardware, implicitly invoking requirements for a variety of operating systems, hardware, software, and digital archaeology/forensics skills not available in most institutions. This is especially difficult for smaller institutions that may lack the infrastructure and support for open source options that have been created for managing digital content. This Town Hall meeting will open up the concepts and processes, and relay the lessons learned related to these challenging collections that all cultural heritage organizations will likely acquire within the next ten years.

LYRASIS hosted two town hall meetings where speakers from different cultural heritage organizations presented their experiences in managing the digital collections they are bringing into their collections and repositories. Each event had three speaker presentations, followed by an open panel discussion with attendees.

The first was be held April 4th at Boston Public Library in Boston, MA. The second was held May 7th at Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) in Burr Ridge, IL and was webcast live. 

View recordings of the May 7th Town Hall presentations and pane discussion here​.

​Coperative Community Emergency Response and Recovery Town Hall


The most successful disaster response and recovery efforts begin with local planning. There are many examples throughout the United States of cultural heritage organizations working with emergency management agencies to create community-wide networks that support joint planning, response and recovery. These partnerships also foster emergency readiness amongst the individual members of the network. Regardless of whether the disaster affects just one building or multiple states, these networks have been successful. Yet, every network is unique. Individual communities have developed their networks in a variety of ways to address political, organizational, and geographic issues.

LYRASIS hosted two town hall meetings where regionally local speakers from cultural heritage organizations spoke of their disaster planning and response experience and addressed ongoing issues related to the community response networks in which they participate. Additionally, Lori Foley, Vice President for Emergency Programs, Heritage Preservation, discussed Heritage Preservation’s current project, the State Heritage Emergency Partnership, to promote the development of state-level cultural heritage emergency networks.​​​

​The first was held on October 8 Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. The second was held on December 6 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center in Atlanta, GA. The Atlanta session webcast live.

View a recordings of the December 6th Town Hall sessions here​.​​​​​

​Regional Emergency Response Networks

June 2012 in LA, TN, MS, NJ

The Regional Emergency Response Networks Program was designed to support organizations within selected states in the formation of regional emergency response networks (regions within a state, as well as the entire state). The comprehensive planning program prepared participants to handle anything from a small “in-house” emergency (such as a water leak) to understanding roles and responsibilities in the event of a large scale disaster.

The goal of project was to increase preservation knowledge and skills among staff at the region’s libraries, archives, and museums; provide support for effective preservation planning and management; strengthen local and regional preservation and emergency networks; and improve institutional and community disaster preparedness.

LYRASIS worked with four State Libraries and Archives to help establish four state-based, regional groups to develop and test this model.  Each group was be composed of up to ten institutions within a state and representing multiple regions, with 1-3 participants from each institution.

  • Over the course of eight weeks, a suite of planning and training courses was presented to each regional group. The courses were a combination of in-person and online sessions. LYRASIS worked with each group to:

  • Create the core infrastructure of an emergency response plan

  • Build teams that can understand, implement, and update the emergency plan

  • Provide hands-on training in disaster response and salvage of collection materials

  • Teach team members to train others in response and salvage at their own institutions, a.k.a., “train the trainer”

  • Connect participating cultural institutions through geographically defined groups, to begin building relationships and a regional emergency response network

  • Build key relationships with emergency first-responders and local officials for disaster support, assistance, and planning, and to understand how to work within a large (city/county/state) emergency

The ongoing efforts of these four groups is supported by ongoing outreach through emails, listservs, and when possible, meetings and regional and national conferences. 

This project was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access.  While LYRASIS is no longer launching new state initiatives, we are continuing to engage with project participants and are happy to share documentation with other regional groups seeking to establish regional emergency response networks.

Preservation Town Hall Series

Bringing together libraries and cultural heritage organizations to discuss various preservation topics to safeguard and sustain their valuable collections. Join us for these town hall sessions to learn about and share best practices, firsthand experience and helpful tools and resources from experts in the community and your fellow colleagues.

This Town Hall series is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Preservation and Access.