Library of Congress

Digital Preservation

The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > New Staff Member to Support Training Program

November 1, 2010 -- In September, Barrett Jones joined the Office of Strategic Initiatives Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Program. He comes to the Library of Congress from the International Monetary Fund (external link) where he headed the training team at the IMF library.

Barrett Jones

Barrett Jones

Jones will help establish a nationwide digital preservation training network and create partnerships with universities, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. He said, "My first order of business is to find schools with digital preservation education programs -- or who want to build a program -- who are interested in partnering with us. The schools will contribute expertise and resources to the initiative in areas such as curriculum development and delivery methods in areas such as online courses."

Jones is currently working to put online an inventory of digital preservation courses offered around the U.S.

In the early 1990s, Jones began his career in the data library at the Rand Corporation (external link) , a think tank credited with – among other things – contributing to testing the first nodes on the early Internet. Steeped in the advanced technological environment of Rand's data library, Jones became inspired by the possibilities of networked information. He said, "That is when I first got a sense of how electronic data is used, how it's stored and how it's incorporated in research."

Jones got his MLS from UCLA and then moved to Washington, DC. By the time he began working at the IMF he had accumulated a great deal of technological knowledge, some he picked up on the job at Rand, some that was self-taught and some he learned through curiosity and exploration.

At the IMF, his initial role was purely technological and broad in scope. Often he had to collaborate with overseas offices of the IMF and World Bank. "Typically, I might have to do technical support for an office in Tokyo," he said. "Or a training session for an office in Paris. There were numerous challenges in coordination, communication and technology."  In his role with the central IMF library, Jones worked with 14 specialty libraries in the IMF and World Bank, along with regional offices around the world.  The technological environments differed from organization to organization and Jones had to coordinate data-transaction projects among separate networks and systems.  

In 2005, Jones turned to training and education. He saw a need to train colleagues in technology that they needed to do their jobs better; eventually he was asked to head the training team. Jones revised the IMF training curriculum to make it more current, emphasizing the use of web-based tools such as networked bookmarks, blogs and wikis, Google search techniques and tagging. He became an authority on social media for many at the IMF, demystifying emerging web technology for them.

He also advocated for blogging as an easy-to-use democratizing web publishing tool and was responsible for introducing blogs to IMF, first internally, then externally. He helped IMF staff understand blogging and at one point he convened a panel – attended by hundreds of IMF staff – to discuss how organizations used blogs and how the IMF might use it.

He said, "The main thing about the DPOE initiative is to get the word out and bring together communities to work toward the same thing." By sharing practices and training, we can all help move the field forward so it can be applied across different organizations. He sees the Library as a facilitator, not an enforcer. "We don't want to just lead; we want to help foster collaboration," Jones said. "We want to be a builder of digital preservation communities around the U.S. and the world."