Take Action! Public-Private Partnerships: Importance/Difficulty Matrix


EDWARD MCCAIN: [00:10] We’re going to break up into groups here in a little bit. At the first Dodging the Memory Hole we broke into groups, and we were looking at partnerships. I’ve ranked them here; and I also have some hard copies that I’m going to share with you as groups, but I wanted you to see what the prior groups came up with in terms of their ranking of the opportunities, and where we should be looking for partnerships. So I will just let you guys look at these.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Was there a ranking scale?

MCCAIN: These were voted on like a dotmocracy where we had people voting for what they thought was most important in the groups. We would work in the groups, bring the presentation out with the list of things and then people would put stickers on them to say which ones they thought were the best ideas.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: So is three the highest?

MCCAIN: Three is the highest. There’s a bunch more here. Interestingly, [we have listed] legal/copyright attorneys, library associations, press associations, academic professionals, technologists, CEOs. So this is just one vote. This is not necessarily gospel by any means but it gives us a sense of the thinking here, for opportunities for people to work with. Then we looked at some key messages, like what is it that we want to say, what is it that we think is important to communicate with these potential partnerships. These were not ranked but I’ll just run through them here. I thought this was a good pairing: “It’s 2014 – do you know where your content is?,” “It’s 2024; don’t throw your work away,” “Make your investment count,” “Your news today, your history tomorrow.”

This was just the idea of news organizations having some control over the legacy of the content they’ve created. We had a lot of ideas. And then this next one is for the key messages to the memory institutions, libraries, etc. Success stories. I like that one – “Saving the future from amnesia.” And then funders – open the gates to … our national heritage, reaching out to infrastructure/IT.

[04:29] As I said, I’ll send these out. So for strategic outreach, we were thinking about, for the media content producers, what do we need to do? What are the tasks that we need to make? Basically, I want to try to take this work and take it to the next step in terms of what are we willing to do as a group, or what can you do as an organization? Getting the data that shows potential market for monetization, those possibilities; new business strategies; organizational involvement; media campaigns; working with education. So these are all the one-on-one conversations and obviously that’s something that we can do but what do we say? Do we want to draft an elevator speech or something?

Conferences; tangible examples; councils. I just wanted to bring you up to speed with some of the thinking from the last event and hopefully we’ll move these [ideas] forward.

[06:26] We have four pads so I’ll have you break into four groups. The first part of this activity is to grab – if you don’t have them already get some post-its so you can jot your ideas down. We want to take this idea of what you can do or what your organization can do, and I want your thoughts about what you can do to take these next steps in terms of advancing our strategy. Taking those key messages, taking the idea of partnerships, who is it that you can talk to? Who is it that you can network with? What is it that you can do with your abilities in terms of technology? Whatever your skill set is, let’s just do a little silent brainstorming. We’ll just do this for five minutes and crank out an idea per each post-it, and just keep those and we’re going to stick those up on the boards in a minute.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 2: When you say “you” do you mean our institutions or us as individuals?

MCCAIN: [07:42] Either you or if you have the ability to get your organization to do things, yeah. Whatever level of influence you have, what can you do with that.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 2: Is it things that people here could do or what we specifically could do?

MCCAIN: I would say think about yourself first, and then you can widen it from there. Think about what sort of things you personally are interested in, what your talents are, your connections. I would like to get specific rather than too general because I think that’s the way we’re going to make progress. So, think about what you can do first as an individual, maybe in your circles where you have more influence. If you’re able to wave a magic wand and take care of all of this let me know.

[08:50] OK, next phase. Phase two. We’re going to put your post-its on this two-by-two grid. This axis is the difficulty or cost, and importance or impact on the bottom. And then we’ll divide it up. So you guys have to hash this out where these ideas might go on here. And then we’ll talk about each one of these areas.

OK, groups; attention up here. First group, can you share out some of the ideas you came up with? And then also note that we have now assigned the quadrants some values: “Luxurious,” which are things that would be nice to have. “Strategic” are things that we really need to do but we’re going to have to figure out a way to do it. “Targeted,” this first quadrant down here are things that are immediate. And then “High value” is this kind of sweet spot. So you guys have a lot of stuff in one of the nicest areas to be in but they’re all important. They all have their place.

TREVOR OWENS: [10:37] Our group had a fair amount of discussion about education and training opportunities, ways to help journalists understand some digital asset management, archiving stuff on the front end or to encourage more “i-school” students to work on born-digital news projects and digitized news projects. So those are a lot of what’s going on in here. And then there was another idea in the mix to try and encourage more public libraries to take on doing web archiving to complement their collecting of newspapers for their area. And it’s relatively low-cost and you can do that with an Archive-it subscription. At the same time there’s also our more strategic ones up here.

There was some questions about interoperability across born-digital materials and how they’re aggregated and how to work with that. That’s sort of research area in many ways. There was another project that was very high-value, low-cost and that was working on making the case to administrators and people higher up in news organizations and library organizations about the importance of this and establishing these partnerships.

MCCAIN: [12:17] I’m going to save these. Liz?

LIZ BISHOFF: OK, so I don’t remember what you said the words were.

MCCAIN: Luxurious at the top. You guys are not into luxury.

BISHOFF: [12:33] No, we have no luxuries. Targeted, and high impact. No luxuries. OK, so strategic – basically we have a whole group which I would call the technology stuff: provide an institutional repository; provide for preservation; provide internet access; those types of things. The preservation stuff. Then we have four thousand advocacy things which are all grouped together. And it was advocacy in cultural heritage organizations; advocacy to community groups; advocacy to the press; share stories, create stories; etc. So there’s a whole bunch of advocacy. Obviously we had a ton that grouped in this area, including rights management issues and legal issues. We thought creating pilot projects as a demonstration was really important.

At the last minute we had this epiphany that we hadn’t put in ask for the content. Building off of what Brian [Hocker] said, nobody came and asked us. Deanna said, “Well I just went to the Xenia paper and asked for the stuff and a week later I had it.” So we think this is really important. And then we have another packet called project management. All the stuff that archivists and librarians and museum curators do, such as inventory, assessment, helping with metadata, advice on how to evaluate what the news provider had. So I just put a sticker on it that says project management. And then building collaboratives. So that’s all in this area, sort of high-impact, minimal to low-cost.

And then in this area, targeted, this is developing donor relations; funding the business model exploration; it’s the education area including developing education tools; educating people on preservation and metadata. And then the standards area: beginning to educate people on what standards content should be created in. We had blocks of areas.

MCCAIN: Thank you, Liz.

DAVID COHEA: [15:30] Finding common ground in working through this is good, because this is a public/private partnership discussion and we certainly are representing that. So, finding the ground which we can find something that is doable and workable moving forward is something that we kind of went around and around with on a number of things. I’m voicing some of the ideas that came from the group and if I don’t describe correctly what a point was, please speak up.

So, one of the main issues that we thought was important was a communication that went across from newspaper entities to local memory institutions like libraries. And at the local level that’s a much more difficult process because it’s not that well organized. Many local newspapers feel like they have a strong monetization opportunity in their papers, and we thought that that was something that was probably keeping them from getting into a conversation on a different level about what the value of their archives might be. And so we did think that there may be a conversation that should be going on between libraries and newspapers about some sense of sharing and what they can use with that.

But in order to facilitate that kind of a conversation we tried to think of what agencies might be capable of carrying a broad communication. The state press association is our first obvious choice with that because they do have strong relationships. But then on the state side we try to think of where there might be a strong state system of libraries that have a developed communication with local libraries. And then picking up from an earlier suggestion, maybe there are three states and three models that could be attempted with this.

[15:30] One could be a very strong state system like the Kentucky Press Association’s relationships that obviously has evolved and already has some conversation going on. A more diffuse model might be important for those that haven’t those relationships; and we could start building that communication, building those relationships. That seemed to be a real good idea to start with.

Building off of that, then, we need to start getting some case studies about that experience. A suggestion was to have a website where some of the experiences coming from that could be built in with just case studies as a resource for anybody else who’s working or thinking about this, that they could get involved with. On the business side, one of the things that was voiced from Newsgroup that’s already doing a lot of work in gathering a lot of the press PDFs that are forming the basis for having material for preservation, is that there are some engineering issues and some technical issues that the technology side needs to be more involved with. The mechanics of doing this are extremely complex and the development is not really there. One suggestion was to sponsor or have some kind of a hackathon for ideas for archival preservation that could be engaged at at a number of levels: in high schools, colleges, wherever. But trying to get some of the brains that are out there engaged in this and working on it. We had one here on a letter on indexing and discovery techniques. And then we had crowdsourcing technologies and venues for funding some of these efforts. And then relation management and outreach.

IAN BUCHANNAN: [19:59] I put it in the low-value because it’s so easy to reach out and start conversations. So outreach seems like the initial place to start, just getting these conversations going. Low-difficulty, high-impact.

ASHLEY YANDLE: [20:25] We’ve got good coverage of a lot of different areas. Down in the target area: conduct research that relies on born-digital news; facilitate work so letting people know that universities have intern positions, and staffing, and student labor; just letting people know that there are resources there. Outreach to newsgroups so that they know who we are and what we do; even if that means rather than contacting them for news coverage of our events just to say do you want a tour of the facility to see what kind of resources we have. Create documents on digitization costs, storage costs, etc. that can be used by institutions outside archives and libraries; expose and discuss the problem; provide expertise on various aspects from web archiving and social media archiving to indexing and arrangement description.

Up here, seek funding for training programs to teach reporters how to use the born-digital news archives efficiently and effectively. In the middle, there’s inventory: the collections that archives and libraries are collecting. Also in inventory what kind of materials aren’t being collected, so that you know what is in danger of being lost. And there’s a big new ECHO grant. So, if you are from North Carolina you know the NC ECHO project. If you don’t, grab one of us and we’ll tell you about NC ECHO. So that’s in the middle. Also, test case for small liberal arts colleges, as far as broadcaster partnerships; partner with organizations to create support or proof of cause concept projects; provide repository for long-term preservation; seek funding to experiment with new digital projects based on born-digital news archives; aggregate content; help write grants to be able to collect and preserve these materials; convene archivists and born-digital news producers; utilize researchers and community to serve as a hub for these kinds of discussions in your local area; build partnerships and sustainability; digital preservation as a cost share with other institutions; and provide use analysis to news organizations so that they can know how much of their content is actually being used. That’s us.

MCCAIN: [23:11] Wow. That’s great work, we’ve got a lot of great ideas. I’m going to take these, compile them, get back to everyone with what we’ve come up with here, and I would encourage you to carry forth. You’ve got the knowledge here of what you can do, so, please, let’s go out and take the energy from this conference and move things forward with digital preservation of news.


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