Last updated on 8 May 2018

Read Chris Fryer's account of sessions at iPRES 2017. Chris, who works at the Parliamentary Archives, attended iPRES with support from the DPC's Leadership Programme which is generously funded by our Commericial Supporters.

First things first, I'm extremely fortunate and grateful to be in a position to attend events such as iPRES. My heartfelt thanks go out to the DPC for the Scholarship and my current employers the Parliamentary Archives.

"Data management"; a wonderfully flexible phrase which covers a multitude of sins. Thankfully, this particular session was chock full of work which will be of interest to anyone involved in the weird and wonderful world of digital preservation. The session kicked off with the spotlight on access. The Library of Congress showcased their brand new Labs initiative which aims to act as a place to encourage innovation with Library of Congress digital collections.

We are all well aware of the amount of work which goes into sustaining digital assets. Online access represents the tip of the iceberg and the culmination of a huge amount of time, effort, and expertise. The Parliamentary Archives itself is in the midst of transformation work to deliver enhanced online services. It was refreshing to hear how the Library of Congress Labs plans to build upon existing content (managed through digitisation and digital preservation platforms) which aims to increase engagement, skills, and support across users. I hope to see more synthesis between access, user research, and content reuse at not just iPRES, but all digital preservation related events. Collections as Data Personas is a great example!

How do we ensure that online collections outlive the systems which manage them? David Wilcox, Product Manager at Duraspace broached this topic by outlining the Fedora community’s approach towards data migration. “Software is transient: it’s the data that matters” kicked off the theme of his talk in fine style. Interestingly, there was plenty of work at iPRES which highlighted software preservation efforts, but back to the data… David highlighted how Fedora’s community developed and delivered an import/export utility which could be used to migrate data between a Fedora instance and an external preservation system using the BagIt packaging format. What struck me was the amount of effort and resource involved in producing one (!) export process between systems. William’s recent blog post ‘Long Now: Longer After’ expands on the topic of interoperability much more eloquently, but if “it [interoperability] provides a litmus test for repository systems,” then there is significant work to be done in this area.

Last but not least, the work of the Dutch Digital Heritage Network (DHN) deserves a shout out for encouraging the use of Persistent Identifiers (PID) as references to digital objects. While the implementation of PIDs is nothing new, the approach they took really impressed and provided a refreshing case study on collaboration. By cooperating with vendors to support the use of PIDs, the DHN were able to cut in the middle man and ensure PID solutions were available to all partners. Their work was not just a case of technology adoption but a fantastic example of advocacy, training, and delivery. I’m sure other nations could learn a thing or two from this cutting in the middle man approach!

I would love to keep these conversations going so please add your own comment/rant/expletive [delete as appropriate] below!


#1 William Kilbride 2017-10-30 11:36
On the topic of repository migration, there was also quite a lot of conversation about this at the DPC Un-conference in June. So much in fact that we're aiming to put on a briefing day on this in the first half of 2018. Watch this space for more.
#2 William Kilbride 2017-10-30 11:38
...and I'd be interested to know from other DPC members who are willing or able to share their experience of migration from one repository to another.
#3 Christopher Fryer 2017-10-30 11:48
Maureen Pennock highlighted the repository migration work of SCAPE at the un-conference:

Great to hear there will be a briefing day!

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