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University Library in running for prestigious award

06 Nov 2014

Digital preservation project is well versed in safeguarding award-winning poetry

The University of Manchester Library is a contender for the Safeguarding the Digital Legacy category in the prestigious international Digital Preservation Awards.

The awards celebrate organisations across the world that have made significant and innovative contributions to ensuring that digital objects are accessible to future researchers. 

The Library was nominated for its work on the Carcanet Press Email Preservation Project, a JISC-funded initiative set up to tackle the challenge of capturing and preserving the email archive of Manchester’s world-renowned publisher, Carcanet Press. During the project, more than 200,000 emails and 65,000 attachments which were in danger of being lost forever were rescued and preserved for the future. The result is a significant archive to which material will be added on an annual basis.

A test-bed for practical digital preservation, the project allowed the development of documentation and workflows which can be adapted to ensure that the University Library is well-placed to deal with similar born-digital archives in the future.

Carcanet itself publishes many established, award-winning poets from around the world as well as emerging writers. No less than four of its authors appeared in the Poetry Book Society’s once-in-a-decade list of twenty Next Generation Poets earlier this year, while four of its authors have received Nobel Prizes, nine the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, and six a Pulitzer Prize. As a result of the work done, material which would otherwise have been lost will be available to future readers, students and scholars.

Founder and Editorial and Managing Director of Carcanet, Michael Schmidt, remarked that the University Library is “among the first … in the field to recognise and address the challenge. Carcanet is a proud guinea-pig and beneficiary.”

There is strong competition for the awards. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on Monday 17 November.  

A summary of the project can be seen at http://rylandscollections.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/elizabeth-gaskells-inbox/