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Our Carcanet Press Email Preservation Project has been selected as one of the finalists for the prestigious Digital Preservation Awards. Administered by the Digital Preservation Coalition, the awards celebrate people and organisations across the world who have made significant and innovative contributions to ensuring our digital memory is accessible tomorrow. We have been shortlisted for the Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy, which rewards projects focused on protecting ‘at-risk’ digital objects.

In our case, these objects were the emails of staff at premier poetry publishing house, Carcanet Press, which were languishing on hard drives and local networks at the Carcanet office. Carcanet’s hard copy archive – held at the Library – fills around 1,300 boxes, but the correspondence files have been dwindling in size with the shift to digital communication. Our project has rescued over 200,000 emails and 65,000 attachments, and we will be adding to this huge archive on an annual basis.

Carcanet publishes many established, award-winning poets from around the world – but also up and coming young writers. Only last week four of their authors appeared in the once-in-a-decade list of 20 Next Generation Poets announced by the Poetry Book Society. Our project means that the emails of these great writers of tomorrow have been saved for posterity. Michael Schmidt, founder and Editorial and Managing Director of Carcanet Press, said of our email archiving work, ‘The Rylands was among the first British archives in the field to recognise and address the challenge, and Carcanet is a proud guinea-pig and beneficiary’.

One of our visualisation experiments based on the email of Michael Schmidt, Carcanet's Managing and Editorial Director

One of our visualisation experiments based on the email of Michael Schmidt, Carcanet’s Managing and Editorial Director

You can read more about the work we have been doing in a previous blog post, as well as related post containing our reconstruction of Elizabeth Gaskell’s inbox!

We are up against extremely stiff competition, and we find out who has won at a ceremony on 17 November.