Work Description

Title: Field Notes for Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative: A Case Study Open Access Deposited
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  • To critically examine the functions of the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model in the context of MDPI, we performed a qualitative case study analysis (Yin, 2014). The Indiana University Human Subjects Office approved this study (IRB Study #1703553601). From August 2016 through February 2017, the research team collected data concerning MDPI’s history, organizational structure, facilities, staff, processes, collections, and the project’s partnership with the commercial entity Memnon-Sony (Sony Europe Ltd.). Data sources included: 1) participant-observation, 2) a tour of MDPI’s physical space, 3) documentation, 4) the MDPI website, 5) guest lectures, and 6) interviews. We received permission from the tour guides, guest speakers, interviewees, and other relevant MDPI employees to use any relevant information that they shared with us during class presentations, tours, emails, or conversations as data for our research project. We also promised not to report anyone’s identity in any publications resulting from this research. To study digital curation in a naturalistic environment, the second author acted as a participant-observer. She was a non-traditional participant-observer because she worked on MDPI in two different capacities for two years prior to joining our research team. Her prior experience brought a wealth of expertise, including tacit knowledge, which was useful for us in understanding MDPI. In her role as a Strategic Media Access and Resource Team (SMARTeam) Member, she beta-tested and provided feedback for the development of the Physical Object Database (POD) and MediaSCORE/MediaRIVERS systems, including helping to assemble and edit user guides for the systems. Additionally, she: developed workflows for processing audiovisual materials for digitization; developed training documentation; trained other team members; helped create and return shipments of materials from Memnon and the IUB Digitization team; and diagnosed technical/physical problems and other issues for audiovisual materials. She also coordinated with IUB’s Cook Music Library faculty and staff to digitize and process materials for digitization, as well as troubleshoot and address any anomalies. The research team examined MDPI in its naturalistic environment by taking a tour of the Innovation Center, the physical location for MDPI, which is housed on the IUB campus. During the tour, we took field notes as MDPI staff described how they do their work. Documentation for MDPI included two reports and a user guide, all of which are publicly available: Media Preservation Survey: A Report; Meeting the Challenge of Media Preservation: Strategies and Solutions; and the Media Research and Instructional Value Evaluation and Ranking System (MediaSCORE/MediaRIVERS) user guide. The first document contains key information about the state of digital media at IUB and justified the need for the establishment of MDPI to address preservation of those media (Casey, 2009). The second document contains information about MDPI’s background, preservation planning, preservation strategies for film, access, technology infrastructure, structure and personnel, and engagement on IUB’s campus (Indiana University Bloomington Media Preservation Initiative Task Force, 2011). The third document is the Media Selection: Condition, Obsolescence, and Risk Evaluation/Media Research and Instructional Value Evaluation and Ranking System (MediaSCORE/MediaRIVERS) user guide that is available on GitHub. We compared all this documentation against the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model Checklists. The MDPI website contained valuable information about MDPI’s history, development, and status. For example, as of April 2018, MDPI has preserved 281,882 items. Guest lectures by MDPI staff took place during Fall 2016 in a graduate-level course taught by the first author in the Department of Information and Library Science in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at IUB, Z586 – Digital Curation. The guest speakers defined their roles and responsibilities and described the initiative from their perspectives. Members of the research team took field notes during the speakers’ guest lectures, which we added to our dataset. After analysing data from the aforementioned sources, we realized that we had a few gaps in our understanding of how MDPI applied some of the concepts in the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model. Consequently, we conducted interviews with MDPI staff to better understand how the Description and Representation Information, Preservation Action, and Store concepts in the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model applied to MDPI. The research team compiled all the data into one dataset in a password-protected, encrypted file folder. The research team reviewed each other’s field notes, checking for consistency and accuracy. Next, the research team compared these data against descriptions of each component of the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model. Afterwards, the research team wrote reports on how MDPI addresses each component of the DCC Lifecycle Model based on the aggregated dataset.
  • One .pdf file containing all the co-authors' field notes from tours of MDPI's physical space, guest lectures, and interviews.
Contact information
Date coverage
  • 2016-08 to 2017-02
Citations to related material
Resource type
Last modified
  • 09/15/2020
To Cite this Work:
Donaldson, D., McClanahan, A., Christiansen, L., Bell, L., Narlock, M., Martin, S., Suby, H. Field Notes for Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative: A Case Study [Data set]. Indiana University - DataCORE.


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