Leveraging archival skills and talent: Participating in (radical) collaboration across domains to achieve shared information management outcomes
Archival skills and expertise are invaluable in a digital world. Information management, especially for digital content, increasingly occurs at the intersection of a growing number of domains that include archives and records management. These affiliated fields are as engaged issues that archival community grapples with, though their mission statements and service models may seem very different. It is clear that these domains share common objectives and interests with ours, and there are surprisingly few examples that reflect real collaboration between our domain and theirs. In this context, collaboration means: “to rely on others to do agreed upon things for or in concert with you and to be relied upon to do agreed upon things for or in concert with others.” How can the archival community highlight and promote are skills to participate more actively in the broad landscape of digital practice?
Radical Collaboration is a community-centered model for working together across domains that reflects the perspective of an archivist who is responsible for digital preservation in an academic library. The concept of Radical Collaboration means coming together across disparate, but engaged, domains in ways that are often unfamiliar or possibly uncomfortable to member organizations and individuals to identify and solve problems together, to achieve more together than we could separately. The model refers to collaboration as radical because so many references to collaboration fall so short of its intended meaning. Adding the modifier “radical” is meant to convey actually achieving collaboration.
The December 2018 volume of Research Library Issues (RLI) presents the Radical Collaboration model and explores examples from a range of perspectives, including an archivist’s, with recommendations for moving forward together (available at: https://publications.arl.org/rli296/). The RLI volume focuses on radical collaboration for research data management. In a presentation at the 2020 Swiss Research Data Day (https://www.dlcm.ch/swiss-research-data-day-2020/programme/session/view_express_entity/592), I applied the Radical Collaboration model and the Digital Archives and Preservation (DAP) Framework to research data management. This presentation would share a brief overview of Radical Collaboration and the DAP Framework to explore how archivists can to “get out of the shadows!” Ideally, the presentation will lead to a discussion to consider how these models may enable archivists to shine in cross-domain efforts.
Nancy Y. McGovern is the Director of Digital Preservation at MIT Libraries and of the Digital Preservation Management (DPM) workshop series, offered more almost sixty times since 2003. She has more than thirty years of experience with preserving digital content. Her research and community interests include increasing organizational capacity for sustainable digital preservation programs; building an inclusive digital community through radical collaboration; and enabling our community to continually respond to the ongoing technological change. She is a past president and Fellow of the Society of American Archives (SAA). She completed her PhD on digital preservation at UCL in 2009.