The Mellon Foundation has awarded the Pratt Institute School of Information $600,000 to support the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Network (DPOE-N) in collaboration with the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program (MIAP) at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. This grant extends the 2020-22 award from the Mellon Foundation to 2024, bringing the total support for DPOE-N by the Mellon Foundation to $1.2 million over four years.

DPOE-N is motivated by the pressing need for libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) to collect, preserve, and provide access to born-digital materials to fully reflect today’s digital world. Born-digital materials are those records or artifacts that exist primarily in digital form and may not have an analog equivalent—such as a printout—or the analog equivalent is inferior to the digital version. Practitioners of digital preservation, including students at Pratt, are learning to migrate and manage digital content so that it can be accessible in its original quality, even as technology changes, software is updated, and hardware becomes obsolete. This work further takes into account natural disasters, economic upheaval, war, public health crises, and other disruptions that could impact digital content.

With this grant, DPOE-N will continue to offer professional development support and workshops to LAM professionals across the United States as it has since 2020. It will also begin a new initiative to provide professional development to primarily Spanish-speaking communities within the United States, which will include holding workshops in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The need for introducing digital preservation to LAM professionals in Puerto Rico and the Spanish-speaking diaspora was identified by Juana Suárez, NYU MIAP director and associate arts professor in the Department of Cinema Studies, in her work with Latin American archival professionals, including La Red Iberoamericana de Preservación Digital de Archivos Sonoros y Audiovisuales (RIDPASA).

“We are thrilled to be able to continue this work with this significant funding from the Mellon Foundation and support digital preservation activities across the country, especially within our Spanish-speaking communities,” said Dr. Anthony Cocciolo, dean of Pratt’s School of Information and the principal investigator of the project. DPOE-N operations are run by its program director Natalie Baur with support from Pratt and NYU graduate fellows, and its board of directors involves experts from around the country including Dr. Allison Druin, Pratt’s associate provost for research and strategic partnerships.

“We are excited to continue our collaboration with Pratt on expanding the impact of education and training in this area through the next iteration of DPOE-N,” said Dr. Juana Suárez, NYU MIAP director and associate arts professor in the Department of Cinema Studies. “Digital preservation is a cornerstone of the NYU MIAP curriculum.”

Learn more about DPOE-N.