Eight weeks with the OPF
In September of this year, I presented my PhD research at a musicology conference in Oxford. On the train home to York, I received an invitation for a second interview with the OPF, which included a task to give a presentation on managing a project to extend the functionality of veraPDF for an additional PDF format. To say this was a change in direction would be an understatement. Nevertheless, I set about reading as much as I could about the original project and the field of digital preservation more broadly (leading me to the now-laughable discovery that there is, in fact, more than one type of PDF!). Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to learn things that run the gamut from navigating the British Library to the intricacies of GitHub.
As project officer, I’ve been working closely with Becky to help run the OPF office, organise meetings and events, and carry out social media and communications activities. Getting to grips with the inner workings of an international not-for-profit organisation has been an adventure in itself, and the associated opportunities to learn have been varied and exciting.
Drafting the 2019 member survey has enabled me to familiarise myself with the institutions that comprise the global digital preservation community, as well as the steps these organisations take to create and manage their digital preservation workflows. As we publish the survey and begin to collect results, I look forward to getting to know our members and their digital preservation activities. The survey’s findings will lead directly into our planning, and as such, they will influence our day-to-day activities at the OPF.
We also anticipate changes to the way in which the OPF functions in terms of its annual product development cycle. Our team of five is working together to implement Martin Speller’s new Release Management plan, which will focus our development efforts and improve member input and engagement. We look forward to our responsibilities as the newly coined ‘triage team’, as well as organising hack days and coordinating the annual product review.
The gap between the seemingly disparate fields of musicology and digital preservation seems to be narrowing as I settle into this new role. Each day, I stumble upon new ways to apply my skills as an arts researcher to my responsibilities at the OPF, and likewise, I continue to discover the fascinating ways in which my life in academia has been influenced by digital preservation activities, even without my knowledge! In all, it’s been an exciting eight weeks. Being the OPF project officer offers unique opportunities each day, and I am eager to learn more and face new challenges in the months to come.
By Charlotte Armstrong, posted in Charlotte Armstrong's Blog
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