Posted Monday, June 22, 2020 - 9:19 AM

Digital Preservation Initiative Receives $600,000 Grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

 The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Pratt Institute $600,000 to support the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Network (DPOE-N) in collaboration with New York University (NYU).


Pratt and NYU website images from July 1997 saved by the Internet Archive. A new grant from the Mellon Foundation supports digital preservation including preserving historically-significant websites.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Pratt Institute $600,000 to support the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Network (DPOE-N) in collaboration with New York University (NYU). The DPOE-N builds upon the original DPOE program created in 2010 by the Library of Congress and will become a network of training resources available to cultural heritage professionals nationwide to enhance their digital preservation knowledge and skills, helping support the nation’s libraries, archives and museums during these challenging times. The funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation allows Pratt and NYU to build and restore this important national resource.

Documents, photographs, and all forms of audiovisual media—whether scanned from an analog source or “born digital” at the point of creation—have a limited life cycle as digital files in their original setting. Practitioners of digital preservation learn to migrate and manage digital content over time to ensure its ongoing quality and accessibility, even in the face of technological change such as software updates and hardware obsolescence, or disruptive events like natural disasters, economic emergencies, or the current global pandemic.

A significant component of the grant project is microfunding for digital preservation professional development for cultural heritage professionals. DPOE-N staff will work with participants on educational plans based on individual and institutional needs, which may result in participants taking DPOE-N workshops offered at Pratt or NYU, but may also include those workshops within the larger network, such as available through Society of American Archivists. The grant also allocates funding for emergency hardware support for institutions that are stewarding digital materials that are critically endangered stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are thrilled to be able to undertake this work with this significant funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and support digital preservation activities across the country,” said Anthony Cocciolo, dean of Pratt’s School of Information and the principal investigator of the project. The project has been supported since its inception by Pratt’s Office of Research and Strategic Partnerships under the direction of Allison Druin, associate provost for research and strategic partnerships.

DPOE-N is a collaboration with the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program (MIAP) at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. “We are excited to collaborate with Pratt on expanding the impact of education and training in this area through the next iteration of DPOE. Digital Preservation is a cornerstone of the NYU MIAP curriculum,” said Dr. Juana Suárez, NYU MIAP Director and Associate Arts Professor in the Department of Cinema Studies.

The Library of Congress moved the DPOE program to Pratt and NYU in 2018.