Focus on Committees & Interest Groups: PARS Digital Conversion Interest Group

For this edition of Focus on Committees and Interest Groups, we are visiting with William Schlaak from the Digital Conversion Interest Group. Read on to learn about their mission, areas of focus, and how you can get involved!

People wearing Santa hats hold hands around a Christmas tree made of 1's and 0's
Illustration by Jørgen Stamp (CC BY 2.5 DK).

What’s the mission of the Digital Conversion Interest Group?

This interest group provides a venue and forum for Preservation & Reformatting Section (PARS) members to present on and discuss any and all matters related to digital conversion (i.e. digitization, preservation, and access) taking place at libraries, archives, and museums. Conversion in this case can correspond to treatments for print, audio, photographic, software, born-digital, and time-based media material.

Can you tell us about some past projects of your group that you’re particularly proud of?

I am certainly proud of the variety of topics discussed at the Digital Conversion Interest group, and the ability of presenters and panelists to distill their complex projects into informative and interesting presentations that always lead to positive discussion and networking opportunities. I’m particularly proud of the scope of the projects discussed, ranging from those taking place at small institutions to large universities. The assortment of budget and scope discussed always ensures an interesting, fresh new view of the field.

Has the focus of your group changed over time? Are there any current trends or concerns in the profession that have an impact on the projects you are pursuing?

I think a great part of the group is the flexibility of its mission—the focus can really take whatever direction current digital conversion trends are important to members. Given the current, and certainly well-founded, concerns regarding the continuing deterioration of time-based media, recent meetings have focused on preservation reformatting projects dealing with this content.

What are the future directions of your group?

We hope to keep abreast of changes to the field. This means that future co-chairs should encourage new topics that are of importance to those who work in digital conversion. It might also be worth exploring if people are interested in convening at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, as well.

Do you have any upcoming programming, publications, or initiatives that you’d like to tell readers of ALCTS News about?

Traditionally this interest group has focused on hosting panels and talks, generally as a means to share projects and practical information. However, we’re always looking for ideas on how to expand our presence and diversify our programming. Co-chairs always welcome new ideas!

What’s the best way for ALCTS members to get involved with your group?

Come to the meeting at ALA Annual, send presentation ideas to the co-chairs, and volunteer to be a co-chair. Above all, we welcome member suggestions!

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