Everything deserves a good, safe home, and that includes data.
Devan Donaldson, an assistant professor of information science at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, recently made this argument during a keynote address to the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library. His presentation, “All Good Data Need a Home: Exploring Digital Repository Certification,” focused on the importance of developing Trustworthy Digital Repositories that can securely archive digital information.
“The message that I really wanted to get across was that it is really important for data to be properly taken care of, and Trustworthy Digital Repositories are the places to do it,” said Donaldson, who also is the director of the Master of Library Science program at Luddy. “Also, I wanted to stress the point that repositories are more than just databases. Repositories offer services, support, and a long-term commitment to responsible data access and preservation.”
Donaldson was selected for the honor by Jennifer Maston, the associate information systems officer of the United Nations, and Athanasios Giannakopoulos, chief Librarian of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library, who followed Donaldson’s research into TDRs and wanted to highlight the work. Donaldson’s hour-long keynote, presented via Zoom, reported on the first longitudinal study of TDR certification from 2010-20, which found that many repositories either maintain a relatively high standard of trustworthiness in terms of their compliance with guidelines in TDR standards or improve their trustworthiness by raising their compliance levels with these guidelines each time they get recertified.
Donaldson closed his presentation by encouraging archives to strive for best digital preservation practices whether they are certified as TDRs or not.
“It was an honor to receive the invitation to speak,” Donaldson said. “The UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library manages a network of 350 libraries across the globe, so, to receive an invitation from them to present a keynote address indicates that my research is having an international impact, which is really a dream come true.”