May 16, 2022

Conference Paper/Presentation: Getting the Whole Picture: Finding a Common Language Between Digital Preservation and Conservation”


Getting the whole picture: Finding a common language between digital preservation and conservation


Douglas Elford
National Library of Australia

Lisa Jeong-Reuss
National Library of Australia

Somaya Langley
National Library of Australia

Melanie Wilkinson
National Library of Australia


7th AICCM Book, Photographs, and Paper Symposium, August 29-31, 2012 at the State Library of Queensland (via National Library of Australia Website)


From the outset, digital preservation and conservation seem to be two very different professions. This paper explores the idea that both traditional and digital conservators not only have many commonalties but also an invaluable knowledge bank of their own areas of expertise, which should be shared between these seemingly distinct communities. Preservation Services and the Digital Preservation team from the National Library of Australia (NLA) discuss the commonalities between the two professions. Digital preservation is a relatively young and innovative discipline, while conservation has undergone its own phases of growth and innovation to become a profession that is steeped in tried and tested methodologies and techniques. This analysis of the common challenges shared by the Conservation team and the Digital Preservation team at the NLA illustrates the lessons that can be learned and shared between the two. With multiple linkages between digital preservation and conservation, the common ethos that both communities are committed to preserving culture and heritage emerges and is defined. Practitioners working in conservation and digital preservation need to commit to a holistic approach to preserving collections. Preservation practitioners all work towards ensuring the longevity of cultural collections using a variety of methods, approaches, tools and principles, and only the formats of these collections differ.

Direct to Slides (21 Slides; PDF)

Direct to Paper (11 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.