Comprehensive Preservation Environments, IFLA 2016 Satellite Meeting.

I had the honor of presenting a paper for the International Federation of Library and Archives satellite meeting at the Library of Congress.  This meeting of the Preservation and Conservation Section together with the Preservation and Conservation Strategic Programme focused on on high density storage for library materials.

The paper, “Comprehensive Preservation Environments: Site-wide Resource Management and Conservation Outcomes for ReCAP,” describes ReCAP’s ongoing program to: 1) provide an excellent preservation environment for library and archival collections in tandem with a reduction in total energy usage, 2) shift power consumption towards sustainable and low-impact energy resources, and 3) engage in good stewardship of the lands under its care.

The paper is available in full here:  S11_2016_Nadal_en.pdf (PDF, 360 KB). Below, I summarize my observations on how ReCAP’s technical work helps to make a case for a methodological and strategic shift by turning stewardship into a measurable effort, and helping to make the shift towards a curatorial mode of librarianship.

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Early Career Residencies

I was invited to present a short talk for the 2016 ALCTS President’s SymposiumRe-envisioning “Technical Services” to Transform Libraries, and to expand on this in an ALCTS Webinar. This post follows the basic train of my remarks (as of 25 January 2017) but expands on a few points and has been updated to weave in ideas that came up in the discussion.

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Setting the Stage: Creation, Curation, and Use

I had the pleasure of serving as the opening speaker for the 2015 NEDCC Digital Directions conference. This post contains the text of my remarks and the slides from my presentation. Each is intended to be able to stand on its own, so if you want a quick overview, download the slides. If you want to dig in, read on below.

Slides: Self Playing PowerPoint Slideshow (ppsx, 1.7MB)


In this essay, I want to do a few things to prepare you for a productive foray into learning about digital preservation. First, we need to cross the divide from analog to digital. From there, we need to think about what it really means to create digital resources, to curate them, and to put them to use. And finally, we need to get ourselves back home, and ready to do good work.

To ensure you are ready for this journey, please look at your shoes…

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Endangered Species and Dangerous Metaphors

I gave a short presentation for the ALA Midwinter 2015 Print Archive Network Forum delving into the “endangered species” question for monographs. While the talk was light on formulas and specifics, it expands on some of the work from the UCLA scarcity case study that I worked on with Dawn Aveline and Annie Peterson, and continues to argue two main ideas:

One, that we ought to base the print archive network on local/regional efforts, and not attempt to prescribe a national plan. The national work is net-work: a system to monitor for risk and optimize traffic across sub-nets and nodes. We need some national-level mechanism to alert, convene, and coordinate, but a diversity of localized business models and operational approaches in active conversation is the way to develop to good practices and sustainable programs.

Second, that we need to pace the print archiving effort so that we first address the areas of the collection that both have massive overstock and very low incidence of artifactual or para-textual value. This lets us solve the most pressing resource issues while also buying time to develop the right methods for protecting scarcely-held works and identifying specific books that have material culture value.

What follows is not a verbatim transcript and is a little more expansive than the remarks I made at PAN. The live conversation and session timing called for a few cuts and quips, day-of, but here are the slides (PowerPoint Slide Show: ALAMW2015-PAN-Nadal-Compact) and notes I spoke from:

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FRBR Group 1 as a Preservation Administration Framework

I gave a talk on using FRBR group 1 entities as a framework for preservation administration at the FRBR Interest Group during the ALA Annual 2014 conference [Las Vegas, NV; Friday, June 2; 10:30 am PT]. This talk proposed a way of using FRBR to coordinate preservation effort across library networks and to clarify the goals and expected outcomes of preservation and conservation efforts. Special attention was paid to two areas where frameworks for this kind of coordination are urgently needed: managing regional print archives and understanding the role of digitization in preservation management. The slides (download ppsx) and transcript (below) should give a good sense of how this works, and an article that expands on this talk is on its way to Library Resources and Technical Services for review.

The majority of this talk focuses on aligning FRBR group 1 entities with areas of preservation administration, but there are brief remarks on two other frameworks that I’m working on: evaluating scarcity in print collections and describing the focal points for preservation interventions on information carriers. (There’s some clunky language in that last clause, I know. I find these frameworks useful, but I’m still a long way from being able to convey them with any elegance.) These models support the particular use-cases I discussed  in the talk, print archives and reformatting, but they are concepts I have found useful in many other areas, and I use them both in teaching preservation and evaluating preservation strategies.

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Regional Print Management: Discovery to Delivery

On March 27, 2014, I spoke at an OCLC Symposium, “Regional Print Management: Right-Scaling Solutions“. The talk was recorded and can be viewed on OCLC Research YouTube Channel.  I discussed the development of ReCAP and an investigation of strategies and technologies for sharing collections that was funded by teh Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. That work is detailed in a report available from ReCAP. The project explored policies, workflows, and technologies require to reposition ReCAP from being three collections sharing a facility into a shared collection, developed and operated by three partners.

Planning for Worst: Disasters in High Density Storage Facilities

I am speaking at “Planning for Worst: Disaster Planning and Response in High Density Storage Facilities” on June 26, 8 am in the Morial Convention Center, Room 343. While disaster planning in libraries is well established, very few libraries have plans specific to the challenging environment of high-density storage.

Simple activities such as removal and tracking of materials become more complicated by barcoded storage trays on 30+ foot high shelves. This program will focus on current disaster research ranging from fire protection and recovery, recovery in shared repository environments, case studies of recovery from water disasters, and perspectives on recovery from non-water events.

Earthquake Info:
US Geological Service
Southern Clifornia Earthquake Data Center

For Your Library:
FEMA E-74 Reducing the Risks of Nonstructural Earthquake Damage
Techniques for the Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings
Designing for Earthquakes: A Manual for Architects
For You: Los Angeles Fire Department Emergency Preparedness

Preservation of E-Reference Sources

I’ll be speaking to the Reference Publishers Advisory Committee of RUSA on the afternoon of June 25th, 1:30-3:30 in room 342 of the Morial Convention Center. Slides, links, and follow up information will be posted here. My centers on Craig Mod’s ideas about pre- and post- artifactual
publishing practices and around that core, builds a framework for determining what is possible in preserving materials.

Craig Mod’s essay on post-artifactual publishing:

The California Digital Library Model License Agreement:




ALA Annual 2011: Common Sense Preservation Assessment

I’ll be leading a session called “Common Sense Preservation Assessment” for Rural, Native, and Tribal Libraries Of All Kinds (RNTLOAK) at ALA Annual 2011, on Monday, June 27, from 10:30am-12:00pm.

I’ve done a few sessions for RNTLOAK and it’s one of the most interesting groups for me. I personally benefit from thinking through what really matters and trying to find a way to give some useful guidance to libraries that aren’t anchored in a major research university. More than that, the librarians and archivists in these institutions do exceptional work in support of critical resources. Every time I do one of these sessions, I find out about wonderful troves of local history and cultural property, and hear moving stories of how libraries and archives are vital parts of our memory and sense of community.

This should be a lively presentation. I plan to show a few simple tools that have been used successfully in the field and I have a store of examples from a decade of preservation crises that I’ll intersperse with some “do this first, that second, and the rest can wait” kind of advice. My plan is to talk for about 10-15 mins about the tools right up front and then take a break for questions. After that, I’ll do 30-40 mins or so on “from the field” examples and then turn it over to the group for an open discussion.

Some follow-up from the session:

Here’s a link to the Kansas Cultural Heritage Emergency Resources Network

More information about the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme and a related article in the Wall Street Journal, “The Next Age of Discovery“.

And the big hit, the Council of State Archivists Pocket Response Plan.

ALA Annual 2011: Have Metadata, Can Collaborate: Putting the MARC21 583 Field to Use in Cooperative Preservation Efforts

I’m speaking at an ALA Annual Program called “Have Metadata, Can Collaborate: Putting the MARC21 583 Field to Use in Cooperative Preservation Efforts.” The session is on Sunday, June 26, 2011, 1:30–3:30pm, in the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Room 342.

This program will showcase a variety of ways that libraries are communicating about their preservation and conservation activities. My section will focus on using metadata to support cooperative print archives projects.

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