Anna de Sousa from the National Archives UK, was recently elected to join the OPF’s board of directors. We caught up with Anna to find out more about their digital preservation work.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role …
I’m the Senior Digital Archivist, Team Leader at The National Archives Kew, where I’ve worked since 2015. My team and I are responsible for a number of areas, but at its core we’re responsible for ensuring that digital transfers of Public Records from Government departments and Public Inquiries meet our metadata requirements and are preserved and made available to the public. We also look after PRONOM, our online technical registry providing impartial and definitive information about file formats and DiAGRAM, a graphical risk assessment model. My role covers operational technical work, relationship management, business analysis and team management and development. It’s the variety and ability to affect meaningful change that has kept me here for so long.
How did you get here? What was your path into digital preservation?
I made a somewhat unconventional career change into Archives in my thirties, deciding to do a MA in Archives & Records Management at UCL in 2013. When I had to pick a dissertation subject I chose how archives decide on a format for preservation for audio-visual archive collections, which then set me on a path to digital preservation. I had a lovely six months at the Sound and Vision Technical Services department at the British Library covering a secondment, then I moved to The National Archives Digital Archiving department. Like a lot of people in this field it’s been a case of learning and evolving on the job.
What are you working on at the moment?
In addition to the day to day demands of the role, we have a new version of PRONOM in early testing that will be more accessible, supportable and usable, automating workflows and helping to support ambitions for Linked Open Data. We will be sharing updates with the community on that soon. We are also working to simplify our Digital Repository systems and make it easier to integrate these with cloud workflows.
What do you see as the main benefit of OPF membership?
Being an OPF member allows for involvement with an engaged international digital preservation community. It enables sharing of best practice and provides access to OPF tools, which we use within our own workflows for digitisation. As keen supporters and creators of open source tools it’s great to benefit from OPFs leadership in this area. OPFs technical focus allows for a specialised offering as a digital preservation advocacy organisation that is of huge benefit to us and the wider community.
Who are you / what do you like to do in your free time?
I’m a real nerd at heart, I like to know how everything works and love talking to people who are passionate about pretty much any topic. My job is technical and process driven so in my spare time I find I’m mainly creative or consuming other people’s creative works. I read, draw and take photographs. I also love being out in nature with my dog which is lucky as I have to take him out come rain or shine!