Our annual Innovation Awards were established by the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) to recognize and encourage innovation in the field of digital preservation stewardship. These awards highlight and commend creative individuals, projects, organizations, and future stewards demonstrating originality and excellence in their contributions to the field of digital preservation.

The program is administered by an NDSA Working Group, which includes members drawn from the former Innovation Interest Group.

2018 NDSA Innovation Awards: Nominations Open & Join Our Working Group!

The NDSA is looking for participants in the 2018 NDSA Innovation Awards Working Group. Working group members encourage nominations during the nominations period and get together on a conference call early in September to talk about and get consensus on the award selections.

Past experience has shown this to be a wonderful opportunity to see the wide range of innovative people and projects in the NDSA community.

If you’re interested in participating in the working group, or have any questions about the awards or the awards process, please reply to the list or to Sheila Morrissey at sheila dot morrissey at ithaka dot org.

A reminder also to be sure to post your nominations for the 2018 NDSA Innovation Awards by August 31.

2017 NDSA Innovation Award Winners

Our latest awardees were announced at Digital Preservation 2017 in Pittsburgh on October 25, 2017.

Future Steward: Elizabeth England. Elizabeth is recognized for her work as a National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) resident at JHU’s Sheridan Libraries, which has significantly streamlined and advanced the JHU archives’ born-digital processing workflow and has motivated the Libraries to pursue grant funding to develop technology that will allow the community to appraise digital visual content in a more sophisticated way using computer vision techniques such as perceptual hashing.

Individual: Rebecca Guenther. Rebecca is recognized for nurturing conversations among international library stakeholders, conversations that led to the development of MODS, MADS and the enhancement of MARC, helping to build a solid foundation for discovery metadata. All of us in the preservation community have benefited from her leadership in the development of PREMIS metadata for digital preservation.

Individual: Karen Cariani. Karen is recognized for leadership that was crucial in forging a collaboration with the Library of Congress to steward the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, an initiative that has digitized nearly 50,000 hours of historic programming from more than 100 stations. She has been an advocate for collaboration in the development and adoption of shared open-source solutions for digital stewardship, a leader in the NDSA and Hydra/Samvera community, as well as in the project to enhance the Avalon project with support for PBCore, and in developing open-source solutions for speech-to-text and audio waveform analysis.

Organization: Digital Preservation Network. Beyond DPN’s core mission of ensuring the secure preservation of stored content by leveraging a heterogeneous network that spans diverse geographic, technical, and institutional environments, the organization is recognized for its creation, with partner AVPreserve, of its Digital Preservation Workflow Curriculum. The curriculum/workshop series provides a bridge between the desire to participate in digital preservation projects and the capacity to connect local content and resources to that aim, providing a flexible framework for guiding an organization through the necessary decision making processes for establishing a sustainable digital preservation workflow.

Project: ePADD. The ePADD project is recognized for developing an effective, useful, accessible tool that has significantly lowered technical and other resource barriers to appraising, acquiring, processing, and making accessible large email collections for individuals and museums, archives, and libraries, both large and small. It has served as well, as an effective demonstration of the concrete possibilities of working with born-digital textual collections. The project team have also been noted for fostering open collaboration, community-building, and support.

Educator: George Coulbourne. George is recognized for having established, while at the LOC, the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) program (now a network of 217 digital preservation topical trainers across 33 states in the U.S., the District of Columbia, Australia, and New Zealand) to advance the practice of digital preservation through professional development opportunities such as the three-day DPOE Train-the-Trainer Workshop. The community recognizes his accomplishment in pioneering the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) program in collaboration with IMLS to cultivate nationwide talent in digital stewardship through a year-long residency that pairs emerging information professionals with cultural heritage institutions facing an array of digital preservation challenges.

Educator: Dorothea Salo. Dorothea is recognized for partnering with Wisconsin libraries — the Cedarburg Public Library, the Wisconsin School for the Deaf, Mineral Point Library and Archives, and the WYOU community television station in Madison — to provide resources and assist in the digitization of at-risk materials. Her development projects, RADD (Recovering Analog and Digital Data), PROUD (Portable Recovery of Unique Data), and PRAVDA (Portably Reformat Audio and Video to Digital from Analog), have extended the reach of digitization and preservation tools to those without the resources of large-scale memory institutions.

2016 NDSA Innovation Award Winners

Our latest awardees were announced at Digital Preservation 2016 in Milwaukee on November 9, 2016. We’re pleased to present our interviews with the awardees linked below:

Future Steward: Samantha Abrams, StoryCorps. Samantha is recognized for her work with the Madison Public Library and its Personal Archiving Lab as well as her initiative to create innovative projects and classes.

Individual: Jarrett Drake, Princeton University. Jarrett is recognized for his work at Princeton and in the community to challenge and re-examine the practices of archiving and documenting history, particularly relating to preserving the underrepresented voices in history.

Individual: Dave Rice, CUNY Television. Dave is recognized for his work in advocating widely for standards and collaboration across countries and organizations as well as his work with nonprofit organizations such as Democracy Now and WITNESS.

Organization: Mid-Michigan Digital Practitioners. The MMDP is recognized for its highly original and successful organizational model in fostering innovation sharing and knowledge exchange.

Project: Tribal Stewardship Cohort Program. The project is recognized for its work in providing long-term educational opportunities in digital heritage management and preservation as well as its dedication to culturally responsive and ethically-minded practices.

2015 NDSA Innovation Award Winners

Our 2015 awardees were announced on October 15, 2015.

Future Steward: Lauren Work, VCU Libraries. Lauren is recognized for her work on several projects with the aim of giving VCU Libraries’ collections greater exposure and connecting the Library with the Richmond community. In her short time at VCU, she’s created collaborations and working relationships inside and outside of the library to expose hidden collections in order to further digital preservation.

Individual: Ben Welsh, LA Times. Ben, a reporter and developer at the LA Times, created Past Pages, a project that archives the homepage of a broad swath of new sites’ homepages every hour. This project is something he does in his spare time and it is something he was able to raise money for via Kickstarter. It is an example of the kinds of innovative creative interdisciplinary work that can happen in digital stewardship.

Organization: Digital POWRR. Digital POWRR is recognized for offering standalone advice for implementing a digital preservation program on a need-based spectrum, spanning no funds or technical assistance up though all-in-one preservation and dissemination systems.

Project: Documenting Ferguson. Documenting Ferguson seeks to preserve and make accessible the digital media captured and created by community members, representing diverse perspectives on the events in Ferguson and the resulting social dialogue. By providing long-term access to digital media surrounding recent historical events, this project helps set a new framework for digital preservation.

About the Innovation Awards

Acknowledging that innovative digital stewardship can take many forms, eligibility for these awards has been left purposely broad. Nominations are open to anyone or anything that falls into the above categories and any entity can be nominated for one of the four awards. Nominees should be US-based people and projects or collaborative international projects that contain a US-based partner. This is your chance to help us highlight and reward novel, risk-taking and inventive approaches to the challenges of digital preservation. Read our blog posts about the 2012, 2013 and 2014 award recipients.

These awards focus on recognizing excellence in one or more of the following areas:

  • Individuals making a significant, innovative contribution to the digital preservation community.
  • Projects whose goals or outcomes represent an inventive, meaningful addition to the understanding or processes required for successful, sustainable digital preservation stewardship.
  • Organizations taking an innovative approach to providing support and guidance to the digital preservation community.
  • Future stewards, especially students, but including educators, trainers, or curricular endeavors taking a creative approach to advancing knowledge of digital preservation issues and practices.