After speaking with my six experts and completing some background research to get a better understanding of digital preservation as a field and its implementation at IU, I knew I was still lacking crucial information about digital preservation at IULMIA. Through my background research, I had learned that different types of digital formats require different approaches to preservation; for example, the process of preserving a digitized film reel is vastly different from archiving a born-digital web page. In order to provide the best recommendations for how IULMIA can proceed with digital preservation for all of their holdings, I decided to go to each IULMIA staff member and ask them to share not only what types of digital mediums IULMIA owns, but to gather their thoughts and opinions about implementing digital preservation practices for the archive. Clearly I could not interview all 14 student and staff employees with the archive as I was able to interview my six experts; there simply wasn’t enough time for me to interview everyone at the archive while completing my internship within the set 120 hour schedule. To achieve my goals, I created an 18-question survey through Google forms to send to each IULMIA staff member, excluding myself since while I am technically a student employee with the archive, as the creator of the survey I might have inherent biases while answering my own questions.
In truth, I created the survey only a few weeks into my internship and sent it out to all IULMIA staff at the end of my third week. Due to the nature of this summer, with everyone working from home and not always able to check-in with the rest of the staff, it was difficult to find respondents for my survey. After the survey had been available for two weeks I had only received 1 response. My supervisor and I discussed our concerns over the lack of participation, and we came to an agreement in which I would not only attend the weekly staff meeting to request the staff’s help in completing my survey, but that I would also send out a reminder email with a deadline to complete the survey to encourage participation sooner rather than later. My supervisor also spoke on my behalf at a follow-up staff meeting, and with our combined efforts the number of survey participants jumped from 1 respondent to 6. At this point the survey will still be live for 2 more days so it is impossible to say what the final outcome will be. I will note that I am grateful to all IULMIA staff who took the time to complete my survey as it was entirely voluntary. I also want to state that all survey responses will be anonymous as I want my respondents to feel free to discuss their thoughts and opinions. I will include the survey questions at the end of this blog post as well as in my final report to give a sense of the questions asked of the IULMIA staff.
As my background research has been finalized, my interviews completed, and my survey is wrapping up, there really is nothing else left but to begin writing the final report. The full process of writing the report will constitute another mini-series for my internship blog, but the end result will be a final product worth sharing. Join me next time as I begin my latest challenge of writing my first institutional report!