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Case Notes

Business continuity procedures – UK Data Archive, University of Essex

Last modified on Last Updated on Friday, 23 October 2015 10:02

Business Continuity planning and practice involves organizations proactively preparing for potential incidents and disruptions in order to avoid suspension of critical operations and services, or if operations and services are disrupted, that they resume operations and services as rapidly as required by those who depend on them. The development and use of a business continuity plan based on sound principles, endorsed by senior management, and activated by trained staff will greatly reduce the likelihood and severity of impact of disasters and incidents. It is an important component of ensuring bit preservation and makes a significant contribution to digital preservation through this.

This case note was developed in 2015 as part of the work for the 2nd edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook.

The Data Archive is the UK national data centre for the Social Sciences funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The Archive holds certification to ISO 27001, the international standard for information security, which requires information security continuity to be embedded in an organisation's business continuity management systems. The digital storage system at the Data Archive is based, for security purposes, on segregated and distributed storage and access. Business continuity at the Data Archive is based around the resilience provided by creating multiple copies of the data and specified recovery procedures, alongside pre-emptive failure prevention. Each file from any dataset has at minimum three copies. The Archive also creates a read only archival copy of each study and any update as it is made available on the system.

Full Text of Case Note now available here.


Assessing long term access from short term digitization projects

Last modified on Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 16:29

Appropriate and timely examination of the digital preservation plans of digitization projects can have a lasting impact.  Projects may not know or understand the risks they run. Simple assessment can help them identify and address these risks sooner rather than later.

Digitization projects often - and sensibly - start by establishing and meeting the needs of a modern user community and are mostly funded over a short term.  But the outputs from digitization projects are likely to be valuable in the long term, so how can we take steps to make the outputs of digitization robust in the long term?  This case note reports some work undertaken by the University of London Computer Centre in assessing the long term plans of 16 digitization projects, providing a basic survey tool to help funders and project managers alike to relfect on the long term preservation plans.

Full Text of Case Note now available here [pdf]


Practical Preservation: West Yorkshire Archive Service accepts a digital collection

Created on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 11:16

Nobody has the perfect answer to digital preservation for every case. If we try we may fail; if we don’t try we will certainly fail.

Digital Preservation can be intimidating for organizations which have previously been used to managing and collecting paper archives.  In this case note, staff from West Yorkshire Archives Service report on their experience in taking their first large digital archive.  This made them confront new problems and new ways of working, they conclude that If we try we may fail; if we don’t try we will certainly fail.

Full text of Case Note now available here.


Small Steps - Long View: how a museum service turned an oral history headache into an opportunity

Last modified on Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 October 2010 11:31

The benefits of digital preservation can be expressed in terms of new opportunities they create in the short and long term.  Even relatively simple steps can bring early rewards if properly embedded within the mission of an organization.

This case note examines Glasgow Museums' approach to its large and growing digital collections.  It describes how some simple steps in addressing digital preservation have created short and long term opportunities for the museums.  They used some very traditional simple and well know approaches - creating an inventory, assessing significance and promoting access - as the basis for building confidence to manage the wider challenges they face. 

Full text of the case note available here.


ASR2: Using METS to keep data and metadata together for preservation

Last modified on Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 July 2010 11:45

Long-term access is improved when content and metadata are wrapped in a single package. In this way data managers will be able to access technical and administrative information with the content. The METS standard can help achieve this.

This case note examines the 'Archival Sound Recordings 2' project from the British Library, noting that one of the challenges for long term access to digitised content is to ensure that descriptive information and digitised content are not separated from each other. The British Library has used a standard called METS to prevent this.

Full text of the case note available here.


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