A few weeks ago the group welcomed Mitch Brodsky, a librarian and archivist who has been involved with a number of digital projects, and who currently serves as Project Manager for the New York Philharmonic’s Leon Levy Digital Archives.
Mitch came to conduct a workshop on project planning for digital library endeavors, and lead our group in a discussion about how best to allocate time and resources necessary to complete our individual projects. Much of the discussion revolved around general planning strategies; for instance, Mitch demonstrated how AGILE management––a practice that is prominent in software development, and which emphasizes iterative action––differs from other strategies, and why it might be helpful in the context of a digital library project.
One conclusion from this workshop, which seems to be an important lesson to learn, is about the nature of digital work in contrast to projects which culminate on a non-digital medium: digital projects require perpetual upkeep and development to stay relevant, or even just to stay functional. Given the pace of change in the world of computing and networking, if a digital project does not keep abreast of software and platform developments it seriously risks becoming obsolete. AGILE management is particularly well suited for this sort of environment.
The Downtown Digital group hasn’t yet decided how precisely to implement some of the techniques we learned, but it is an active topic of discussion, and more updates on project strategies will follow.