Tyler Walters, dean of the University Libraries at Virginia Tech, presented the keynote address at the Northeast Document Conservation Center’s annual conference, Digital Directions.

Supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, conference sessions covered conceptual ideas, practical strategies and instructional guidance about the issues related to managing and preserving digital media. Held June 13-15, 2012, in Boston, conference attendees included individuals from academic institutions, public libraries, museums, corporate archives, federal agencies and municipalities.

“Tyler’s understanding of the technical, organizational, and political aspects of preserving digital objects for future generations, coupled with his impressive ability to clearly convey challenging concepts and ideas to a very diverse audience, set the stage perfectly for the following focus sessions,” Jessica Colati, director of preservation services at the Northeast Document Conservation Center, said.

Walters’ talk, the “Foundations of Digital Curation” focused on the evolution of digital curation, and why it is a valuable service for cultural institutions to provide. He explained the roles, responsibilities, and job models required in order to carry out curation, and discussed the importance of multi-institutional collaborations necessary to achieve large-scale digital curation.

In 2011, Walters co-authored “New roles for new times: digital curation for preservation,” a report for the Association of Research Libraries, with Katherine Skinner of the Educopia Institute. The report argues that libraries, as the stewards of scholarship and cultural heritage, must adapt to respond to the growing challenges of digital collections care and data curation. The report also emphasizes the importance of collaboration and partnerships to build successful digital programs and services.

“Tyler’s advocacy for grassroots leadership within and among our institutions and organizations to build sustainable services and programs, as well as the need to be a ‘do-er’ was echoed frequently by several of the other presenters throughout the conference,” Colati said.

In a separate session at the conference, Walters discussed the importance of developing a digital preservation strategy and the multiple facets involved for preserving different kinds of content. “Digital Directions has always been a great place for people to come together and consider operationalizing digital programs,” Walters said.

Walters holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Northern Illinois University, a master’s degree in history and archives from North Carolina State University, a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Arizona, and is working toward a Ph.D. in managerial leadership in the information professions from Simmons College.

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