In the process of identifying “designated communities” for the EPIC project we ran through a format review of all textual material in DSpace@Cambridge. Here is what we found:
.doc (175)/.docx (1)
The .txt files are almost exclusively licence files so of no interest in the context of this project. We then ran a detailed analysis of both .doc/.docx and pdf files and reviewed the content. Our aim was to select communities who a) deposited file types that are or might soon be at risk, and b) who are potentially available for interview, c) cover a variety of disciplines. The list of communities we came up with was still very long so we decided to concentrate on one format (.pdf) and therefore make the interview list managable for this short project. We chose .pdf not only because it is the prevalent textual format in DSpace@Cambridge but also because we had recently run into problems with the format in another context. So we are interested to find out more.
List of “designated communities” to be interviewed:
Department of Physics
Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy
Faculty of Classics
Judge Business School
Department of Pure Maths and Mathematical Statistics
Department of Modern and Medieval Languages
Department of Archaeology
Department of Plant Sciences
World Oral Literature Project
Department of Engineering
Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics
It was then for me to identify individuals and schedule interviews. I decided to contact the person responsible for the deposits – this in many cases was the author him/herself or in some cases the Head of Research Unit or Department. I also added a couple of supporting staff to the list to get a slightly different perspective. We considered conducting group interviews but decided that the short time of the project would not allow for this. The idea was that having more than one person thinking on complex issues would surely open debate and may result in more detailed answers, particularly if the members had differing roles – maybe an Academic, a Librarian, a Computing Officer etc. Something to consider doing in future.
I was very pleased with the response rate to my interview requests – half the addressees responded positively without me even having to remind them. There must be some interest in preservation planning!