Emergency Hardware Support

The Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Network (DPOE-N), hosted at Pratt Institute and New York University and generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is primarily about connecting cultural heritage professionals with digital preservation professional development opportunities. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the country and its libraries, archives and museums, leading to risks of losing digital information because of financial constraints. This is especially true for museums that depend heavily on visitor revenue, public libraries that depend on local government funding, and higher education institutions that are experiencing declines in revenue. Recognizing that current needs around digital preservation could be of an emergency nature that extend beyond professional development, we have allocated a modest sum of money ($20K over two years) for emergency hardware support.

DPOE-N looks to provide emergency hardware support to institutions who are stewarding digital materials that are critically endangered stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. This could include institutions that need to make secondary copies of their digital archives or need to refresh aging storage hardware (older than five years) and are unable to because of budgetary shortfalls stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Be located within the United States or its territories.
  • Have 501(c)(3) public charity status, or have an organization with 501(c)(3) public charity status serving as a fiscal sponsor.
  • Have an archive/collection with an annual operating expense budget of over $50,000 and no more than $1 million. Please contact us to discuss any extenuating circumstances.
  • Have a digital archive/collection.
  • Be able to provide a recent IRS Form 990 for the organization (provide it directly or have it available in databases such as Guidestar.org).

Please see the Rubric for Institution and Individual Selection (PDF) for details on how funding is prioritized.

Sample Hardware:

The Emergency Hardware Support program looks to ensure that financial exigencies to not prevent a small institution from having multiple copies of their digital archives/collections, which is a major factor in preserving digital information. While most large institutions have server rooms with rack-mounted hardware, small institutions without extensive IT personnel often need to rely on consumer products. For institutions such as these, the storage hardware recommended is that which support RAID, which stands for redundant array of independent disks. With RAID 1 for example, if one hard drive fails, the second one will keep the data intact.  However, standalone hard drives may make sense for tertiary copies that are stored remotely.

ImageDescriptionCost
Western Digital RAID External Hard Drive with USB connectionWestern Digital 8TB RAID External Hard Drive with USB connection  $285
Western Digital RAID External Hard Drive with USB connectionWestern Digital 16TB RAID External Hard Drive with USB connection$500
Western Digital 3TB External Hard Drive with USB connection Western Digital 3TB External Hard Drive with USB connection
Note: this is not a RAID drive, so would only be appropriate for a disaster recovery copy (e.g., 3rd copy stored offsite).
$80
These storage devices from the highly reputable storage hardware manufacturer, Western Digital, are the “go-to” devices of the DPOE-N Emergency Hardware Support fund.

This project does not provide funds for cloud storage because physical hardware provides more fungible end dates (e.g., a hard drive should be replaced every 5-7 years), where cloud storage billing “due dates” are less flexible, and we would not want to see an institution lose information because they could not pay their cloud storage bill in the future. 

The maximum purchase cost is $500, and the minimum is $80.  If there are reasonable deviations from these minimums and maximums, please contact us to discuss. Only reputable manufacturers of digital hardware storage will be approved.

Purchasing Logistics:

If the proposal for Emergency Hardware Support is approved, the hardware will be purchased by Pratt Institute and mailed to the recipient.  Note that only institutional mailing addresses may be used (no home addresses).  Because of its extensive network of suppliers, Amazon will be used for making purchases and the secondary choice for making purchases is Best Buy.

Application for Emergency Hardware Support

Rubric for Institution and Individual Selection (PDF)