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Call for Participation – closed on August 19th

There is no iPRES conference this year and the postponement means we are lacking our favourite opportunities to meet and greet as a global digital preservation community; to sustain old friendships and develop new ones; and to convey new insights or explore emergent challenges that are more easily shared in person. The gap is all more frustrating for the very many topics we could discuss.

We miss iPRES.


Digital preservation is all about collaboration. All are welcome in this dynamic and diverse community. Everyone has something to offer: computing and engineering; libraries and archives; researchers and their audiences; the past and the present; the present and the future. Collaboration has been a central pillar of a shared response to a shared global challenge. If you are working in digital preservation and you are not collaborating, then you are on a lonely road. In this year of lockdown and distancing a familiar fact becomes apparent. You cannot collaborate alone.

Here’s the paradox. In the year in which we all have most in common, we are able to share least. In the year when digital infrastructures have become central to our lives, our opportunities to plan and reflect on our own digital infrastructures are subdued. In the year when we have learned so much and have so much to tell, we are most constrained in how we impart all that new-found and hard-won knowledge.

So, the global digital preservation community is cordially invited to join in a programme of talks and presentations on 22nd, 23rd and 24th September – a celebration of iPRES and the digital preservation community. We will be meeting online. All are welcome.

To be clear, #WeMissiPRES is not a conference. This invitation is generic, the proposed themes are expansive and the review process lightweight. There will be no ‘papers’ in the formal sense and nor will there be a weighty edited volume of proceedings. Think of this not so much as a call for papers as an invitation to sustain our discussions and keep us connected, until the time is right for a fully fledged conference again. It’s more like a fringe festival or a coffee shop conversation.

This invitation is issued by a group of friends of iPRES who have each worked or submitted to the conference before.  We have each learned and grown and been challenged at iPRES and we know how much work has gone into conferences in the past. We want to make sure all that hard work and momentum is not lost, and that our shared values and insights are sustained. We want to make sure that there’s a chance to share and celebrate the amazing achievements of the digital preservation community in this most unusual year.

All are welcome.


Although this is explicitly not a conference, we take past iPRES conferences as our point of departure. Each year the iPRES themes have related digital preservation to the challenges of our times: a message about the relevance of our work that is all the more important this year. In 2020 we were promised an iPRES to ‘empower digital preservation for the enriched digital ecosystem’ without knowing quite how enriched or vital that digital ecosystem was about to become. With an ‘Eye to the Horizon’ (2019) we can see through the fog, to a place ‘Where art and science meet’ (2018). ‘Maintaining cultural diversity in the digital age’ (2017) has never mattered more, when we are facing a pandemic that touches every corner of the globe, and voices are raising the realities of racial inequalities on a mass scale.

#WeMissiPRES is not an official iPres conference. It’s not even a conference. It’s a collaboration and celebration of iPRES and all the digital preservation progress that has been made since the last gathering. To ignite the conversation, we have identified three themes:

·         Picking up the threads of 2019

#WeMissiPRES falls more or less on the anniversary of iPRES in Amsterdam in September 2019. It has been a year which few could have anticipated. What has happened with all the great insights and plans we shared then? Themes about the role of archives in structural inequalities, the sociology of digital technologies and the preservation of open source intelligence were particularly prominent in the 2019 discussions, and a whole slew of projects, technologies, use cases and solutions were showcased. How have they fared considering the many upheavals of 2020?

·         The Best of Digital Preservation, 2020

#WeMissiPRES gives us a chance to celebrate the best of digital preservation this year. That’s partly about how the digital preservation community has responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but also the economic crises, the social movements, and ecological traumas of the year. The biennial International Digital Preservation Awards also take place in 2020, and the global digital preservation community is invited to participate. Despite the gloom and worry there’s a lot to celebrate! #WeMissiPRES gives us an opportunity to do that.

·         Digital Preservation in 2021

#WeMissiPRES gives us a chance to consider the near future, relating digital preservation to the ‘new normal’. Let’s face it, 2020 has been so disrupted that at times we’ve all struggled to plan to the end of the week, let alone to plan the long term of our digital infrastructures. This conversation is urgent. Will it be ‘business as usual’ when we get back to work? Or will the return to normality mean going ‘back to the (unknown) future’? How do we capitalize on the successes we have demonstrated? What new challenges have arisen unseen? So we welcome reflections on actual events that have changed the world, and how digital preservation will have to accommodate them; and all other ideas about the future of digital preservation. One thing is certain, however: #WeMissiPRES also gives us a chance to relaunch and update plans for iPRES in 2021. So we will take this opportunity to give at least one small taste of the iPRES in 2021.

#WeMissiPRES is not a conference: it’s a celebration and a conversation to bring the global digital preservation community together. We’ve scoped the themes to be all encompassing, and so we’re now inviting the community to offer contributions which match one of the themes. We will then group these and spread them over three day half days of conversation and debate.  Each day will consist of three main sessions of about one hour each. The sessions will be brief, and contributions should be too. This event will take place in English.

iPRES sits at the intersection of research and practice in digital preservation so contributions should balance both perspectives: research should demonstrate deployment while implementation should demonstrate innovation.

#WeMissiPRES is online so it can facilitate contributions from around the world where distance might inhibit participation, or from early career professionals who might not normally be able to afford travel and registration fees. So this invitation is especially designed for those groups who might not otherwise be able to attend.

Presentations that encourage audience participation or introduce dialogue between two or more individuals are particularly encouraged. And we expect short presentations to be no more than about 10 minutes long.  But there will also be an opportunity for lightning talks. Contributors are invited to estimate how long they think their presentation will last.

Please prepare a 100 word description of your presentation, thinking about the theme which best fits your proposal and how you would like to present it. Submissions should be made in English.

The Call for Participation closed on August 19th. Please join #WeMissiPRES on Sept 22/23/24. You can register at no cost from Sept 2nd via these pages.

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