With my research compiled, my interviews concluded, my survey close to completion, and a very rough outline planned, there was nothing left for me but to start writing my final report. At first I was a bit overwhelmed by the thought of writing a report with no clear guidelines or expectations. I had my final goal in mind, to be able to use the research and evidence I gathered in preparation for my report to make and validate recommendations for IULMIA to begin a formal plan for digital preservation. But I didn’t even have an expectation for how long my report should be. While it should have been obvious from the beginning, I had to begin writing my draft to realize that writing an institutional report is vastly different from writing an essay with a rubric for a class. Even though I was initially overwhelmed, I quickly remembered that I have had an experience where I had to write about a topic with no clear guidelines or recommendations for how to go about writing my paper. My undergraduate thesis paper was structured in a similar fashion to my report, and I approached my thesis by planning out each section I would write about, and then allowing myself to move from section to section as I felt inclined to write. This plan helped me to avoid writer’s block in the past, as well as kept me from being overwhelmed by the sheer volume I wrote the paper. I decided to follow this same plan for my digital preservation report.
Strangely enough, I began by focusing on two later sections of my report: my section detailing the different digital preservation resources available through IU, as well as my recommendations for how IULMIA can approach digital preservation to fit their needs. Throughout my conversations with my experts I had taken many notes detailing the different resources available through IU and I felt that it would be relatively simply to transfer my notes into my report and simply provide more context and explanation for them. I wanted to start as simply as possible in order to increase my self-confidence, and I felt most confident transferring and bolstering my notes for my resources section. I also wanted to begin with my recommendations section as I had been constantly thinking through how to apply my background research and information from my experts to best fit IULMIA’s needs from day 1, and had already outlined a few recommendations for the archive. I know this section will grow and evolve as work through my entire report, but I have to start somewhere and I choose to start here.
Already I have seven sections planned for my report: an introduction, my primary background research, my six interviews, digital preservation resources at IU, my survey results, my recommendations, and my conclusion. At this stage I do not know how long my report will be and I do not intend to force the report to be a certain length. As has been evidenced by my past blog posts, I am a fan of lengthy writing, so I plan to write however much feels right, and from there I can edit and trim back where necessary. For now, it is time to step away before returning to the next sections of my report. More to follow!