In July 2009, Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough spoke of the digital future of museums, libraries, and archives. "We have the capacity to tell the story of America and all its hopes, struggles, triumphs, creativity, contradictions, and courage." "Ultimately, we want to put all of our ... objects ... online so you can access them wherever you live. We want to offer the Smithsonian experience to everyone," said Clough to a group gathered at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
To ensure the longevity of these born-digital and digitized collections, research, and resources, in 2014 Secretary Clough chartered a Digital Preservation Working Group to assess current preservation practices and develop lifecycle management recommendations for the future. The working group's key tasks are:
- Analyze the Smithsonian's digital preservation needs;
- Identify preservation best practices for a variety of digital content;
- Identify organizational roles and responsibilities to ensure long-term preservation and access;
- Estimate resource needs;
- Determine required standards and policies.
Led by the Smithsonian Institution Archives Director Anne Van Camp, the working group includes Smithsonian Libraries Director Nancy Gwinn, Chief Information Officer Deron Burba, and other central and unit staff.
The Smithsonian's digital preservation needs analysis was completed and presented to Smithsonian senior management in October, 2016:
- Stewarding the Invisible: Setting the Stage for Institution-Wide Digital Preservation at the Smithsonian, Full Report, November 11, 2016 (appendices available upon request)
- Smithsonian Digital Preservation Assessment Executive Summary, November 11, 2016
- Smithsonian Digital Preservation Assessment Highlights
Further project outcomes will be made available on this page as the work of the Smithsonian Digital Preservation Working Group continues.