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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 organised an online programme of talks and presentations on 22nd, 23rd and 24th September – a celebration of iPRES and the digital preservation community.

To be clear, #WeMissiPRES wasn’t a conference. There were no ‘papers’ in the formal sense and nor will there be a weighty edited volume of proceedings. #WeMissiPRES will sustain our discussions and keep us connected, until the time is right for a fully fledged conference again. Luckily, we recorded everything so take a look at all those #digipres presentations here below.

From all over the world, 800 people joined us for 3 days online discussions, festivities and presentations about digital preservation


Day one

Consult the detailed program for day 1

Take a look at the presentations of day 1 via our YouTube channel:
Playlist day 1


Day two

Consult the detailed program for day 2

Take a look at the presentations of day 2 via our YouTube channel:
Playlist day 2

Day three

Consult the detailed program for day 3

Take a look at the presentations of day 3 via our YouTube channel:
Playlist day 3



The 3 #WeMissiPRES themes

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.

Livestream & Recordings

For those who missed the chance to register, we had a livestream available on YouTube. The recordings have been made available after the event.

#WeMissiPRES 2020 Social Events

Each of the days closed with a 30 min social event. You may have wanted to prepare a cocktail or grab a hat or household pet in advance … Read all about it!

More information

The Dutch Digital Heritage Network, the Digital Preservation Coalition and the National Science Library of Chinese Academy of Sciences hosted #WeMissiPRES together. The event was online, free and open to all. Spoken language: English. Please read our guidelines for #WeMissiPRES hosts, chairs, speakers and participants. #WeMissiPRES met under the terms of our Inclusion and Diversity Policy. All were welcome.

Look online at @WeMissiPRES and #WeMissIPRES for more information.

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