By LHorton 2 | December 18, 2018
By Adetoun Oyelude, University of Ibadan
From Saturday 1st September 2018 when one of the participants from Uganda arrived in Nigeria, the Digital Preservation Conference started on a high note. The preparations for the Monday Opening Ceremony took place on Sunday 2nd with the Ugandan participant joining at the venue in preparing the Hall and other ancillaries concerning the conference.
**Day 1: **The Opening Ceremony conference commenced at 11.45am on Monday, 3rd September 2018. In attendance were dignitaries from public and private sectors. The Chairman of the occasion was Barrister D. D. Fer who is the Acting Director of National Archives of Nigeria. Dr Abiola Abioye, the Chairman of the NLA-PACS delivered a welcome address. The Keynote addresswas given by Prof. G. Olubunmi Alegbeleye of Babcock University, Ilisan Remo who is the Founding Chairman of the Section. Prof Alegbeleye dwelt on the imperatives of digital preservation having regards to the unique nature of digital information resources. James Lowry, a digital preservation expert at Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom contributed a keynote remotely. His keynote focused on digital preservation in a recessed economy with stringent budgets.
Goodwill messages were received from the National Librarian/CEO, National Library of Nigeria, Director-General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and former President of Nigerian Library Association, Alhaji Rilwanu Abdulsalam. The representatives of the Head of Department of Library, Archival and Information Studies, University of Ibadan and the Director of African Regional Centre for Information Studies also presented goodwill messages on their behalf. The Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service was also represented at the opening ceremony. The Director of the FCT Archives and History Bureau, Ms. Cyril Jogai and the Librarian of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) were also in attendance. The high point of the opening ceremony was the unveiling of the Section’s website which participants at the opening ceremony instantly logged on to using the link https://nlapac.ng to gain access. The role of the International Association for Social Science Information Science and Technology (IASSIST) in sponsoring the conference, was acknowledged and emphasized and IASSIST’s relevance in digital preservation was highlighted. Group photographs were taken and refreshments served.
Immediately after the opening ceremony, 3 paper presentations by Prof. G.O. Alegbeleye, Dr. Akinniyi Adeleke and Dr. Ngozi Azubogu were taken. The first speaker presented An Overview of Digital Preservation strategies while the other speakers presented two case studies of Digital Preservation from Tekena Tamuno University Libray, Adeleke University, Ede, and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri Library respectively. The session was chaired by Prof Yacob Haliso of Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria.
**Day 2: **Three Posters were presented by Grace Ikenna; Dr D’Anna Shotts and Anthonia Ahima; and Adetoun Oyelude on different aspects of digital preservation. The first was on the state of digital preservation in the Kenneth Dike Library, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; the second on the progress of digitization in the Northeastern Baptist collection in Nigeria while the third was on the impact of IASSIST on digital preservation in the African Region. Datasheets on IASSIST were distributed to participants at the conference. They were encouraged to visit the IASSIST website and join the network as Africa was poorly represented in IASSIST.
Apart from posters, six papers were presentated in very stimulating sessions by Dr. Ezra Gbaje & Prof. Umar Ibrahim; Omobolade Adeagbo/Sunday Obadare/Femi Oguntuase & Samson Akande; Kathryn Phillips & Edidiong Eyo in the morning session. The afternoon session had Prince Jacob Igwe & Chidinma; Ifeyinwa Okafor & Olalekan Awujoola and Aishat Egbunu/ Adeyinka Koiki-Owoyele & Adefunke Alabi presenting on preserving cultural heritage through digital preservation. After each session activities, lots of networking, exchange of ideas, international perspectives… name it!
Day 3- even more exciting! Four papers by Dr. Benedict Oladele; Titilayo Ilesanmi; Christopher Okiki & Racheal Odunlade; and Adetoun Oyelude & Winny Akullo were delivered in the morning session which sparked stimulating discussions.
One needed to be there to listen to the afternoon session by Abass Mustapha on Audio-Visual Digital Preservation of Yoruba Indigenous Knowledge and its economic benefits, as well as the Busicon Exhibitor’s presentation on equipment for Digital Preservation and methods for it, presented by Lola Akanbi, the CEO of the company. Quite a package! Participants were practically ‘chased out’ from the venue at 5.45pm, almost two hours beyond target, not due to lateness, but to the lively discussions that kept coming. See!
And… without doubt, NLA-PACS is creating a networking family that say nothing to each other, but come out with a colour code, simply coincidental! Code purple!. It was fun!
**Day 4: **The Grand finale was grand! The three papers that ended the conference were information packed, by Isaac Ajibola; Rachael Odunlade & Chris Okiki; plus a final one from Okwor, Ihekwoaba et al. The wrap-up, putting the communique together was another interesting exercise. The communiquehas been issued! It can be found on the NLA-PACS website. In closing the conference, the NLA-PACS Chairman, Dr. Abiola Abioye expressed appreciation to all those who contributed in various respects to make the conference a reality. On the whole, the Digital Preservation Conference 2018 was a huge success. Lessons were however, learnt which will properly position NLA-PACS for the next conference at which participants are expecting hands-on workshops.
Not less than 15 participants from Africa promised to join the IASSIST network, and 3 who were members but in default, promising to renew their membership and also contribute to the next IASSIST conference in Sydney, Australia. The support from IASSIST ensured that the NLA-PACS website is up and running; making the Section the 3rd Section of the Nigerian Library Association to have a website (in spite of being almost the newest Section); and also producing “a most exciting conference which even though the first of its kind, is already giving the NLA Cataloguing Classification and Indexing Section (the best Section for the year 2017) a hot competition as the best,” as described by a participant. The conference evaluation forms gave lots more comments, even on the innovative conference bags favoured by many participants! The Section is already looking forward to NLA-PACS 2019, the best yet to come!