1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 The key resources needed to create and sustain a flourishing digital environment are time, money, staffing and infrastructure. In the field of conservation, support for each of these key elements falls far short of what is needed. One explanation for this shortfall is the project-based culture that underlies the discipline and which has shaped the way the field is perceived by institutional leaders. Conservation resources are sought on a project-by-project basis, so there has been little incentive to pursue investments that build up digital capacity across the field.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 1 At a more local level, conservators working in cultural institutions report that they are not given the time or money to learn digital skills, attend professional conferences, participate in collaborations or develop preservation plans for their digital content. Their departments or labs typically receive little IT support and are among the last to get hardware and software. In times of budget constraints, senior administrators may rethink institutional priorities and reallocate budgets, and conservation is rarely a beneficiary of this process.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 For independent conservators, the resource issues are different but no less problematic. Their support net relies solely on income generated from client work. Their technology set-up is limited to what they can put into place themselves. Costly online subscription fees limit their access to important digital resources that would help with in their work. The physical or virtual groups they participate in (for purposes of sharing news and information) are informal and difficult to sustain.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 External sources of community support, such as funders, universities, and professional associations face their own resource issues. Conservation’s digital resources have become a casualty of changes that many of these organizations have undergone over the last decade. Conservation OnLine (CoOL)[1] is a high profile example of one resource that suffered from this fallout, but other resources have had “close calls,” and some have been abandoned outright.[2] The decrease in support by external sources, combined with the absence of strong institutional support, has had a corroding effect on the profession and its digital resources.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 New models of resource building are needed in light of these developments. Some of these models might be public-facing, such as inserting the field of conservation into current STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) curricula and projects where resources are now widely available. Other models might include collaborations with new partners who bring a different set of resources to the table. For example, the Knight-Mozilla Fellowships program,[3] which partners software developers with journalists to create community resources, is a model that might be emulated within the field.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Recommendations

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 4 Vision Statement (Short-term)
Resources are made available when circumstances are valued and deemed critical to a larger mission and purpose. The value and mission-driven role of conservation is not well articulated within institutions or to the public at large, and conservators have a difficult time finding the right way to “pitch” their value to these groups.  A new and bold vision for the profession is needed, one that makes a case for the importance of the field and outlines its future directions. AIC should lead the field in developing a compelling vision statement for the profession.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 2 Development Officer (Mid-term)
FAIC needs to build up its own organizational capacity in order to assume the various roles outlined for it in this report. Adding a development officer to the FAIC staff is a first step toward achieving this goal.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 1 New Funders and Partners (Long term)
The field needs to identify and reach out to alternative funding sources and partners to expand digital capacity across the discipline. Opportunities such as those offered by the Office of Digital Humanities (at the NEH), the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Digital Innovation Fellowships, and the Wikipedian In Residence Program[4] are examples of both traditional and innovative programs that merit further consideration.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 The rise in digital collaborations has generated funding models and support by new partners that also should be explored. International funding collaborations like the Digging into Data Initiative[5] have formed to leverage national funds in an international context. The idea behind this effort might extend to other contexts. For example, it might be feasible to fund an international conservation standards initiative by drawing in international partners whose governing states are willing to contribute funds to the effort because they see the value it will deliver at the local level.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 [1] See Conservation Online (CoOL) http://cool.conservation-us.org/about.html. FAIC assumed responsibility for CoOL in 2009 when Stanford University Libraries discontinued its support. Nevertheless, the costs to maintain and improve CoOL pose a huge challenge for FAIC, and new models are being sought for its continuance. See Addendum A of this report for more information.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 [2] See Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI), National Library of Australia (a static archive of the resource is available at http://pandora.nla.gov.au/tep/10691)

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 [3] See The Knight-Mozilla Fellowships. http://opennews.org/what/fellowships/.

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 [4] See Office of the Digital Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities. http://www.neh.gov/divisions/odh; American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Digital Innovation Fellowships. https://www.acls.org/programs/digital/; Wikipedian In Residence. http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikipedian_in_Residence.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 [5] See Digging into Data, a collaboration of ten international funders to support projects that explored how “big data” changes the research landscape in the humanities and sciences. http://diggingintodata.org/

Source: https://resources.culturalheritage.org/comment/charting-the-digital-landscape-of-the-conservation-profession/resources/