Executive Director, Academic Preservation Trust
University of Virginia
Associate Director for Digital & Organizational Strategy
North Carolina State University
In June 2021, North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries experienced a significant local data loss of digital preservation masters. Just a year prior to that event, the Libraries had decided to place copies of these master files in the Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust). Many of these assets were research materials created by special collections and in high demand, therefore requiring a timely and effective restoration. Higher education institutions, and libraries in particular, seldom discuss significant data loss events. As a result, distributed preservation system effectiveness is often theoretical, lacking real evidence of success, and this presentation seeks to address that gap. It will include a brief discussion of the immediate data loss and successful recovery, a deeper examination of the organizational challenges that can arise during such events, and the human factors that made the data recovery operation a success. APTrust and NCSU Libraries conducted a security incident post-mortem to strengthen local protocols to prevent a similar event in the future. We will also look at how appropriate post-analysis can be leveraged as an advocacy and diagnostic tool to create organizational change, even if a disaster is averted.