Not Unchanged

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 6 November 2020

The last rays of sun are now setting on the most westerly reaches of the map and we’ve all now had a chance to celebrate and participate World Digital Preservation Day.  I have a brief moment – for me it’s now the morning after the night before – to offer a few immediate reflections and pick a few highlights.

Our theme for the 5th November, Digits For Good, has a neatly-constructed double meaning implying both purpose and time.  Both are necessary and both were on display.  I encourage you to leave your comments here on your own highlights.

It’s too early to report the full story of World Digital Preservation.  This particular count is far from complete but the success is undisputed.  We counted 85 blogs on the DPC website (yes that’s the most ever) from 22 countries (yes that’s the most ever).  And that’s just one of the many blogging platforms: I know because I wrote for two others besides and we spotted maybe another 25 that we know of.  We have counted well over 5,000 tweets - more than 4,000 on the #wdpd2020 tag and another 750 or so with #dpa2020 from around 1900 different accounts.  There were at least 10 baking ‘incidents’ (I don’t count each individual cupcake or cookie) in the #BitListBakeOff.  Two new initiatives - the digital preservation themed pizza and at least one digital preservation themed cocktail selection, to be enjoyed while marvelling at the musical contributions. The State Library of Queensland has made the parody video into an art form.

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The EaaSI Interaction API

Euan Cochrane

Euan Cochrane

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Euan Cochrane is the Digital Preservation Manager at Yale University Library in New Haven, CT


  • Imagine being able to migrate any data from any legacy format to any compatible modern format automatically.

  • Imagine being guided through using legacy software with real-time demonstrations and tutorials that you can interrupt and take over from at any point.

  • Imagine being able to add a screen reader to any software, enhancing accessibility.

  • Image having access to comprehensive metadata about all software titles.

We are developing Emulation as a Service Infrastructure (EaaSI) software with a long time horizon - we expect the general approach that EaaSI is enabling, i.e. the ability to be able to re-run legacy software at any point in time, to be necessary indefinitely.

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2020, #WeMissiPRES and the best conference I have never attended

Steph Taylor

Steph Taylor

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Steph Taylor is based in Los Angeles, USA. 


I’ve worked in digital libraries and archives for a long time, and I’ve always wanted to attend the iPRES conference,  but I’ve never made it. Given my many failed attempts, I was not expecting 2020, the year of the apocalypse, to be any different. But these are strange times. I heard about an online event called #WeMissiPRES, hosted by DPC and I rushed to book a place. The event was not iPRES, and the organisers (friends of iPRES), explained up front that there would be no heavy papers. Instead, they were aiming for a fringe festival, coffee shop vibe for the event. This sounded perfect.! My 2020 self needed to connect and learn, but in a gentle way.

The event itself was excellent. In recent years, there has been a shift to put more professional content online within the digital preservation community and the event benefited from this move. And in the age of the pandemic, many of us are now video conferencing experts.  Organisers, speakers and delegates easily picked up the etiquette of online interactions and each session ran smoothly. There was also a social element, which was a lot of fun and helped to provide the networking element often missing with online events.

The biggest and most significant shift for me was not the technology or the well-organised programme, but the range of participants. Although I had missed out on iPRES, I’ve had a number of  jobs where I’ve been privileged enough to attend many conferences. These conferences billed themselves as international, but as #WeMissiPRES unfolded, I realised that I had never attended a truly international conference. Most of my conferences had been based in Europe. There would be a lot of European-based delegates, with a smattering of people from elsewhere. I’d only been able to attend one conference outside Europe and was one of only a handful of European-based people there, with most people being from the local region.  So here I was, in a time of restricted national and international travel, when many people around the world were barely leaving their own homes, participating in an actual global event.

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The Business of Preservation is the Practice of Care

Justin Simpson

Justin Simpson

Last updated on 9 November 2020

Justin Simpson is the Managing Director of Artefactual Systems.


Digital preservation can be a hard sell. Institutions may recognize the need. Many do not adequately prioritise the work.  The return on investment for digital preservation efforts is difficult to quantify, and not achievable in a short time span.  

We will not convince the world of the importance of this work in financial terms alone.  While the practice of digital preservation can be understood as a business practice, I believe a more profitable framing is to consider the work of preserving and providing access to cultural memory as a practice of care.

Bernice Fisher and Joan Tronto describe caring as ‘… a species activity that includes everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair our ‘world’ so that we can live in it as well as possible.’ [1]

This definition describes the work of caring for cultural memory just as well as it describes healthcare, or childcare, or the many other forms of caregiving.  The work of caring, of all kinds, is generally undervalued, and often invisible.  Our conversations about how to provide, for example, healthcare, are often restricted to purely financial concerns. Caring is then turned into a commodity for profit making, at the expense of the real value that caregiving creates.

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WDPD 2020 Blog - Grupo de Preservación Digital

Isabel Galina Russell

Isabel Galina Russell

Last updated on 18 November 2020

Isabel Galina Russell is a Researcher and member of GPD based at Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas, UNAM. 


For a second year, the Grupo de Preservación Digital (GPD) based in Mexico, gpd1is joining in the celebration of World Digital Preservation Day. The GPD, founded in 2017, is a multidisciplinary and interinstitutional group focused on the practice of digital preservation as well as supporting research and training in digital preservation. We also focus on advocacy work for preserving our digital cultural heritage. The GPD originated at the Biblioteca Nacional, Mexico’s National Library which is based at the national university, the UNAM. The group focuses mainly on the digital cultural heritage sector, working with cultural heritage institutions and universities around the country. We now also have an increasing membership of people from other sectors, all concerned about how to address digital preservation issues. 

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WDPD Blog - Christopher Zaste - University of Manitoba

Christopher Zaste

Christopher Zaste

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Christopher Zaste is a Digital Archivist at the University of Manitoba.


As we gather around the virtual campfire this World Digital Preservation Day, I have a story to share.  I knew a guy, keeping him anonymous, who loved to back up his data to CDs and later DVDs.  Many of these discs, of course, had “archival media” proudly printed on the manufacturer’s label.  His backup collection contained family movies, photographs, documents, software, and much more.  Many of which are some of his most prized possessions.  One day, his computer crashed.  Not a simple crash to desktop, but a fatal error causing the loss of all locally stored files.  Thankfully, he had a vast backup store of discs, so he thought it was not the biggest loss. 

The next day, he went to the store and bought a new laptop.  This machine had a fast processer, lots of RAM, and even a nice 4k display.  No expense was spared.  He brought his machine home and began adding his backup files.  Running his finger along the laptop’s right side, he found no eject button.  He tried the left side and found nothing.  He looked all over the machine, pressing button after button, but to no avail.  His new laptop, the one he just spent a considerable amount of money on, had no disc drive to read his obsolete media.  Frustrated, he had to go to Amazon and buy a disc drive that can connect via a USB cable.

Such digital preservation stories are quite common.  We have all experienced such issues, and not just in our professional careers.  Family photos stored on old CDs, a home video on a VHS tape, I can go on with examples.  In our primarily digital society, the digital copy is often the only copy.  A record can easily be lost if is not stored in an accessible backup format.  These scenarios of loss are what we, as digital preservation professionals, try to prevent.

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Small-Scale Digital Preservation at Lakehead University

Sara K Janes

Sara K Janes

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Sara K Janes is an Archivist at Lakehead University.


Local and regional archival collections are a key part of the worldwide archival network. Living and working in Thunder Bay, ON, which is a four-hour drive from the nearest city of comparable size, has taught me just how important local heritage collections are to the people who create them and the people who use them. If our national and provincial archives are a plane ride away, we can’t reasonably ask those institutions to take responsibility for our local history.

I work as the Archivist for Lakehead University; the archives (https://archives.lakeheadu.ca/) is but one room and 1.5 FTE, so I have responsibility for most things, and digital preservation is only one aspect of my work. We’ve thus benefited enormously from taking part in Scholars Portal, a set of services provided through the Ontario Council of University Libraries. One of those services is Permafrost (https://permafrost.scholarsportal.info/), which provides reliable storage and a hosted Archivematica instance. Accessing these tools as a service hosted elsewhere, and with excellent support provided by Scholars Portal, makes it possible for an archivist without a strong tech background to carry out meaningful digital preservation work.

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Collaboration Through Open Source Software

Greg Bak

Greg Bak

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Greg Bak is the Associate Professor of History (Archival Studies) at the University of Manitoba.


Heritage institutions are accustomed to having more mandate than resources. We are used to supplementing meagre core funding by applying for special project funding, whether internal or external. Open source software offers a way of structuring collaboration that allows us to build upon sporadic and context-dependent project funding.

Products such as Archivematica, BitCurator and Fixity offer institutions of all sizes access to purpose-built digital preservation tools and systems that can be adapted to local needs. Heritage institutions are still working to absorb the different logic and economic demands of using open source systems as opposed to proprietary systems. Costs are not necessarily reduced, but they are differently incurred, distributed and managed. Initial setup costs are drastically reduced, but subsequent work is required to bring the system into line with local institutional and user needs. Development of the code base can be shared among institutions. Smaller institutions can leverage work done by larger institutions and consortia.

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It Takes a Village: Documenting the Pandemic for Research, Policy, and Practice

Oya Rieger & Rebecca Springer

Oya Rieger & Rebecca Springer

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Oya Y. Rieger is a Senior Strategist and Rebecca Springer is an Analyst, both working at Ithaka S+R, US


Throughout the pandemic, critical information about COVID-19 has been flowing through a range of channels, including social media, news outlets, journals, and preprint servers. Cultural heritage organizations have been participating in efforts to curate and archive these rich and diverse sources of information–not only for future generations but also for those currently studying various scientific, sociological, political, and cultural aspects of the pandemic. These archiving efforts will not only help to capture a significant moment in our history but may help to prevent or manage future outbreaks. But digital preservation continues to be an expensive and complicated process, especially at an institutional level. According to a recent UNESCO Memory of the World survey, 66 percent of respondents reported that in their country there are no national preservation policies or strategies. The 2020 Open Preservation Foundation survey shows that the average FTE across digital preservation roles is less than two. In almost every country, cultural heritage organizations with a strong sense of mission are trying to do their best with limited resources and expertise.

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Portico: Evolving with the community to ensure access to scholarship for good

Stephanie Orphan

Stephanie Orphan

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Stephanie Orphan is the Director of Content Preservation at Portico


 Fifteen years ago, when Portico was in its early stages, we answered a call from the community to ensure that the electronic journals libraries were investing in were protected for the long term. At the time, the primary concern was ensuring that licensed content, often from the very large commercial publishers, was properly preserved with mechanisms in place to ensure future long-term access for researchers, as well as near-term post-cancellation access where possible.

During the first five years in which Portico signed publishers (2005-2010), we made great progress, signing 119 journal publishers, including all of the very large commercial publishers as well as many medium-sized publishers, university presses, and a couple large open access (OA) publishers. We also successfully expanded our services to include preservation for e-books and digitized primary source collections (the latter through our d-collections preservation service).

Over the course of the next 10 years, little by little, the trajectory of Portico’s growth began to change. The range of publishers expanded to include more small publishers (those with five or fewer journal titles) and fully OA publishers---including many library publishers and independent scholar-led journals. While we continued to work with publishers who had developed their own sophisticated platforms or who were using commercial hosting platforms, increasingly we began working with publishers self-hosting through an instance of OJS (Open Journal Systems), WordPress, or web sites.

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ICPSR’s COVID-19 Data Repository

Chelsea Goforth

Chelsea Goforth

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Chelsea Goforth, Senior Data Project Manager at Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).


Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) has engaged in digital preservation activities to enable rapid data access, wide data sharing, and long-term data re-use of COVID-19 related data collections.  Our preservation work supports social science researchers engaged in asking and answering questions about COVID-19 in order to soften its impact, especially for the most vulnerable populations.

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Our Common Digital Future: Digital Preservation and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Eng Sengsavang

Eng Sengsavang

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Eng Sengsavang is a Reference Archivist at the UNESCO Archives.


Technologies are needed that produce 'social goods'…[1] earth

Since the 1980s, the drive to achieve “sustainable development” has been led by the United Nations through several global frameworks for action, most recently the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our reliance on digital technologies and information is so enmeshed into our lives that it is time we acknowledge the critical role digital preservation plays in such global initiatives. Digital preservation is an indispensable component of sustainable development and will prove to be increasingly critical for the achievement of the SDGs and future initiatives like it. Digital preservation consists of a constellation of acts and strategies that, like sustainable development efforts, fundamentally anticipate the succession of future generations who depend on our actions today for the shape and content of the world they will inherit in decades to come and beyond.

 

 Photo: Earth seen from Apollo 17, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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Digital Records: for accountability, transparency and the public good

Sherrine M. Thompson

Sherrine M. Thompson

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Sherrine M. Thompson, Lead, Access to Information, World Bank Group Archives


Two years ago, my colleagues Jeanne Kramer-Smyth and April Miller introduced the World Bank Group (WBG) Archives’ efforts to preserve digital records, and last year my colleagues Shiri Alon and Daniele Balduzzi wrote about how we’re defining the digital landscape of the WBG in order to shape and refine our long-term digital preservation strategy. This year’s post will focus on the importance of preserving born-digital records for accountability, transparency and the public good.

Preservation of both born-digital records and digital surrogates of analog originals is the responsibility of the WBG Archives as owners of the WBG’s Records Management Policy  and one of the principal  implementors of the Bank’s Policy on Access to Information (AI Policy). The former ensures that records, regardless of format, are properly managed throughout the entire lifecycle and the latter sets forth how the World Bank makes information available to the public.  

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The benefits and drawbacks of DIY digital preservation

Amy Rudersdorf

Amy Rudersdorf

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Amy Rudersdorf is a Senior Consultant with AVP.


Introduction

2020 hasn’t been the year most of us expected. At the top of all the stuff that this year has thrown our way is the global pandemic. For some organizations it has also meant reductions in resources and staffing. This has left many cash-strapped organizations with tighter budgets than ever before, even as the costs of technology and human resources continue to rise. At the same time, many organizations are struggling to get a handle on the mountains of digitized and born-digital content in their collections to ensure it is safe now, and managed over time to ensure it is accessible and renderable into the future.

So what’s a digital preservationist do when it comes to selecting technology for their program? Is it cheaper, better, and faster to build from scratch or buy an out-of-the-box (OOTB) solution? This post describes the benefits and drawbacks of do-it-yourself (“DIY”) digital preservation that may help decide in which direction to go.

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Recent Developments at the Library of Congress: File Format Policies and Web Archiving Anniversary

Kate Murray

Kate Murray

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Authors – all from the Library of Congress: Kate Murray (Digital Projects Coordinator), Trevor Owens (Head, Digital Content Management Section), Marcus Nappier (Digital Collections Specialist), Ted Westervelt (Chief, US/Anglo Division) and Abbie Grotke (Assistant Head, Digital Content Management Section & Web Archiving Program)


The Library of Congress relies on a network of policy documents, good practice and specifications that govern the Library's digital collection management program compiled in the publicly available Digital Collections Management Compendium (DCMC). The Compendium brings together the business guidance from across the Library’s many departments related to digital formats, inventory and custody and finally, access. In October of 2019, the Library of Congress launched a public version of the DCMC, which presents digital collection management policies in three main areas: digital formats, inventory and custody, and access. The section for digital formats includes a summary of how the Library’s Recommended Formats Statement can be applied, as well as overarching statements about how we manage various digital preservation issues for digital formats, including the preservation of content “as received” over time, the creation of digital surrogates, and inventorying of format types. As such, the ongoing maintenance and development of the RFS is critical to the Library’s overall digital collection management policy and practice.

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Acting on Principle

Chip German

Chip German

Last updated on 4 November 2020

R. F. (Chip) German Jr is the Programe Director for the Academic Preservation Trust


World Digital Preservation Day is a good day to reflect about our work.  I’m thinking about big things I’ve heard, observed and learned in the six years that I’ve been with the Academic Preservation Trust.  Most are obvious at least in hindsight, but they didn’t start out as principles that served as touchstones for our decisions. They are now.  Thanks to the many folks responsible for them.

First is “Missions differ; don’t forget yours.”  Those of us who play some role in the long-term preservation of digital materials do so in pursuit of diverse missions.  In some cases, we do it to comply with governmental or business requirements.  At APTrust, our library-focused consortium aims to preserve a significant volume of digital materials related to human knowledge and cultural history. 

Early on in dealing with such materials, I learned a principle from the remarkable preservation librarians with whom I work each day that I’ll express in this paraphrase:  Preservation NOW without access THEN is pointless.  I get that.  If what we preserve today is unable to be used in the future, why did we bother?  Not only is that statement an important principle on its own, clarifying its components leads to other principles.

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Preserving Digits for Good: Turning Strategy into Practice at Concordia University

John Richan

John Richan

Last updated on 4 November 2020

John Richan is a Digital Archivist at Concordia University


The following blog is also available in French below: 

For the third time in four years  Concordia University Records Management and Archives (RMA) is participating in World Digital Preservation Day organized by the Digital Preservation Coalition. For those of us involved in digital preservation, continuing to protect and provide access to reliable, trustworthy data has reached new levels of importance during a global pandemic. Concordia, a major North American research University in Montréal, has a rich digital legacy requiring active preservation by RMA while the institution undergoes rapid digital transformation.    

World Digital Preservation Day presents an annual opportunity to recognize advancements made by the global digital preservation community throughout the year. While learning with interest how external colleagues are ‘doing digital preservation’, RMA staff make a point of engaging the Day as a reflection and celebration of our development since 2017 when the Concordia RMA Digital Preservation Program was launched.

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Preserving the bits : Library and Archives Canada’s Pre-Ingest workflow

Heather Tompkins

Heather Tompkins

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Heather Tompkins is a Project Officer at the Library and Archives Canada


When the call came out for blog posts for this year’s World Digital Preservation Day, we within the Digital Preservation and Migration Division of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) wondered what we could discuss and what might be of interest for the external community.  Today, we are opting to blog about our Pre-Ingest workflow.  

Our Pre-Ingest review is part of an essential workflow for preserving digital archives.  We’re looking forward to sharing what we are doing and hearing from you re: how your own work may be similar or different.  So far, this work hasn’t been greatly impacted by COVID-19 – we have continued to do Pre-Ingest despite working from home with minor network speed issues.  Our built infrastructure (specifically, a 20TB server to which we can connect via VPN), and our ability to message, share screens, and video chat have all been put to good use!  

As is often the case with digital archival transfers, we don’t always have the opportunity to review the content prior to transfer or gather much information.  As a result, sometimes what is transferred… isn’t always what we intended to acquire or preserve.  LAC’s Pre-Ingest workflow helps to address this challenge. Initiated in 2013 with only two staff members, this function has grown over the past seven years to include five Digital Archivists from the Digital Integration section who bring both archival experience and a digital preservation mindset to the work.

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La Cadena de Custodia de Archivos Digitales - CCDA combinada con Preservación Digital Sistémica - PDS para Archivos

Daniel Flores

Daniel Flores

Last updated on 5 November 2020

Dr. Daniel Flores, Asociación Latinoamericana de Archivos - ALA, Representante Nacional de Brasil en el GE RIBEAU ALA. 

Profesor e Investigador del Curso de Archivología y de la Maestría y Doctorado en Ciencias de la Información de la Universidad Federal Fluminense - UFF (Brasil) y Líder del Grupo de Investigación en Documentos Digitales: Gestión y Preservación Digital Sistémica en un CCDA.


The following blog is available in English below

Nuestra sociedad comenzó a producir documentos digitales, los cuales son, en sí mismos, complejos y específicos y, por tanto, requieren un tratamiento especial, desde su génesis, confinados en Sistemas Computarizados contemplando una Cadena de Custodia y Preservación, orientados a normas, estándares, modelos y requisitos. Sin embargo, era necesaria, y sigue siendo, la solución previa de los problemas y dilemas conceptuales que la propia Archivología necesita para superar eficazmente la Ruptura Paradigmática y establecer un escenario firme de Transición Paradigmática, como forma de garantizar a la sociedad y a la ciudadanía, que pueden ejercer su ciudadanía plena sobre la base de documentos auténticos, fiables y conservables.

Ahora, con Registros digitales - Documentos digitales, mucho ha cambiado, hemos detectado y presenciado una ruptura paradigmática, donde la complejidad y especificidad de los registros digitales ha cambiado, la forma en que entendemos la "prueba", o "evidencia", para la Cadena de Custodia, ahora resignificada para la Cadena de Custodia de Archivos Digitales - CCDA. Enfoque mucho más interdisciplinario de la ciencia y el derecho forenses digitales. Ahora la atención se centra en la política de archivo y el entorno digital, basados ​​en estas políticas, así como en las normas, estándares, modelos y requisitos.

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Por que preservar os registros de uma pandemia

Miguel Ángel Márdero Arellano

Miguel Ángel Márdero Arellano

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Miguel Ángel Márdero Arellano, Coordenador da Rede Cariniana, Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia – IBICT


The following blog is available in English below

O tratamento dos registros sobre a pandemia do COVID-19, por profissionais da informação, deverá incluir a aplicação de estratégias de preservação para garantir a confiabilidade das fontes e o conhecimento da realidade atual.

O volume de informação sobre a pandemia em formato digital cresce a cada minuto. Todos os esforços para organizar esses registros poderão ser reconhecidos no futuro por aqueles que enfrentarão novos problemas de saúde pública. Da mesma forma, as estratégias de preservação que forem aplicadas a esses registros proporcionarão a garantia de termos fontes de informação confiáveis para conhecer a realidade atual.

Isso será o resultado de um trabalho árduo de profissionais da informação empenhados em descrever todos os detalhes de registros dos eventos em diferentes formatos. Após um período de isolamento, a necessidade de abrir bibliotecas e arquivos para atendimento das comunidades, mesmo antes de estarmos em um ambiente livre da doença, é produto do compromisso social dos responsáveis pelos serviços de informação para que todos tenham acesso a informações precisas sobre as ações necessárias para conter os efeitos do vírus.

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Building and Sustaining the ‘Digits for Good’ Community

Nancy McGovern

Nancy McGovern

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Nancy McGovern is the Director of Digital Preservation at MIT.


This year’s theme - Digits: For Good – is great! It’s always fun to work on a WDPD blog post. There are so many examples of collaboration within and beyond the digital preservation community. Working together is part of what we do, yet it often seems to be more intentional and valued in 2020.

The 2020 WDPD topic got me thinking about preserving digital content in a way I haven’t in a while. I have worked as a digital archivist and then as a digital preservation manager. As a digital archivist in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I found appraisal to be a very engaging activity and yet by the time I felt I knew enough to make a decision about keeping the digital content or not, I found it hard to not take the content – I inevitably got fond of it as I came to understand it. Working on digital preservation is more agnostic about content for me – if digital content needs to be preserved, I’m in! The examples I’m sharing are not about preserving specific material, they are more about sustaining community and building capacity to be able to preserve whatever needs to be preserved “for good – or at least for as long as required” – love that part of the Blog theme for WDPD.  Here are some of the recent activities that I’m highlighting.

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Digital Preservation for Every Archive

Jon Tilbury

Jon Tilbury

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Jonathan Tilbury is CTO and Founder of Preservica based in the UK


From corporate to academic, charity to government, archives around the world are working harder than ever making sure that the events of the past year are documented for generations to come. With lessons to be learnt from this global health pandemic, and the end not quite in sight, having easy, automated, and affordable digital preservation software accessible to every archive, especially those with limited resources, has never been so important. The more people using digital preservation, the greater the benefit for all, but with this comes an increase in the number of non-expert users.

Luckily, there are a number of initiatives that will bring all these threads together to create an ecosystem that re-uses community expertise to deliver best practice digital preservation in an automated manner.

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The UK Government Web Archive: Continuing to Capture the UK Government’s Response to COVID-19

Tom Storrar

Tom Storrar

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Tom Storrar is the Web Archiving Service Owner at The National Archives.


The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for The National Archives’ Web Archiving Team. In the six months since our last blog post, we have continued our efforts to build a definitive record of the government response to the first pandemic of the digital age. Our three-pronged approach, consisting of regular in-depth archiving of core websites, complimented by broad crawls across the government web estate, working closely with our suppliers, MirrorWeb, and daily captures of interactive content with the excellent Webrecorder/Conifer tools have now matured and become routine.

This has not been without its technical challenges. With each of these “prongs” we have had to change the way we work, and rapidly: not only to working remotely, but also to new technology and to the speed with which content has been updated or published. This has prompted us to create new approaches to archiving content and to accelerate innovations that we had already started to develop before the pandemic. For example, we need to ensure that every member of the team has available to them their own version of Webrecorder/Conifer in this remote scenario. So far we have achieved this using virtual machines, which is quite a change from just a year ago, when we were taking turns capturing content from a single machine in the office!

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Getting the records

Helen Dafter

Helen Dafter

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Helen Dafter is an Archivist (Digital Preservation) at The Postal Museum


Before any archive can start to preserve digital records it first needs to get them into the archive. This is something I have been working on at the Postal Museum this year. It has been an exercise in advocacy and trust building as much as technical skills.

To set the scene, the Postal Museum cares for the archive of Post Office Limited (POL) and Royal Mail. It is an independent charity which has created its own challenges for this work. This blog focusses particularly on my work with POL but I hope that the processes developed will be applicable to Royal Mail in due course.

In 2018 POL developed retention schedules across the business. The Postal Museum commented on these during the project, identifying materials which needed to be offered to the archive. These provided the starting point for my approaches to POL departments to discuss the transfer of records to the archive.

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Digital Preservation at the United Nations

Aleksander Gelfand

Aleksander Gelfand

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Aleksander Gelfand is the Information Management Officer at the United Nations Archives and Records Management Section, Department of Operational Support, United Nations Secretariat in New York.


Digital preservation and media obsolescence have been issues on the minds of archivists at the United Nations since at least the 1970s. Then, information found on punch cards had to be preserved knowing that the cards themselves were not a suitable medium for preserving machine-readable information. A temporary solution was to transfer the information to computer tape, though the process was expensive and time consuming. With the increasingly introduction of new information technologies, preservation seemed a constantly moving target.

The 1980s was a decade of automation at the UN as computers running word processing and database software became ubiquitous. The UN Archives began advocating for action at the very beginning of the lifecycle of electronic records, and as a result Archives staff took a more active role in managing records rather than being a passive recipient. This, however, was easier said than done – at least initially.

The first large wave of digital records came in the form of floppy disks, which were increasingly common in collections accessioned throughout the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. Frequently inside folders with paper records, unless properly described, these pieces of soon-to-be obsolete media could easily get lost. Nevertheless, by early 2000s, the contents of many of these disks had been migrated to external hard drives and many finding aids included descriptions indicating the presence of this digital media.

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OPF at All Things Open: What we can learn from open source communities

Becky McGuinness

Becky McGuinness

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Becky McGuinness is the Community Manager for the Open Preservation Foundation


In October, the Open Preservation Foundation attended the ‘All Things Open’ conference. Two of the themes it focused on this year were community leadership and diversity and inclusion, which are central to much of our recent and ongoing work. In this post, I’ll share some key takeaways from the event in the context of Digits: For Good, including celebrating the growth of open source, ensuring tech access for the underrepresented, the importance (and pitfalls) of community leadership, and best practices for creating a diverse and inclusive community. 

In one of the keynotes, Erica Brescia, COO of GitHub, spoke about how open source has become a key driver of innovation in technology. Open source software is used in every sector and the amount of software is expected to grow exponentially in the next 10 years. As well as its increasing popularity across sectors from medicine and healthcare to memory institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums, the use of open source is expanding geographically. Five years ago, the majority of contributions came from the western world, but today, the epicentre of open source development has moved to developing nations with a huge increase in participation from India, Africa, China and Latin America. To support this growth, there will need to be more contributors, maintainers and commerce to meet demand. More importantly, there is a need for inclusive communities that support wide participation and access to essential knowledge and resources for those who are often underrepresented.

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Max Communications - AIP Query Builder & Tagging

Tim Schofield

Tim Schofield

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Tim Schofield is a Senior Developer for Max Communications.


Max are working with Imperial College London Archives and Corporate Records Unit (ICL ACRU) digitally preserving their documentation. We use Archivematica for digital preservation in tandem with AtoM as an access system.

The project set out to improve Archivematica’s reporting ability by developing an in-house QueryBuilder utility. The QueryBuilder enables the user to create compound queries and interrogate Archivematica’s database. For instance, searches can be run returning all packages created within a particular date-range, or packages over a certain size, or created by a particular user.

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What is data integrity?

Matthew Addis

Matthew Addis

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Matthew Addis is Co-Founder and CTO of Arkivum based in the UK.


What do we mean when we talk about data integrity?  What is data integrity and why is it an important part of digital preservation?  Data integrity means different things to different people.  If you ask the question to an IT professional, compliance officer, corporate archivist, research librarian, or curator of a special collection then you will typically get very different answers.  What we mean by data integrity depends on what we mean by data, how and why that data exists, and most importantly who’s using it and for what purpose.  There is no single answer.  But in all cases, digital preservation has a role to play in achieving data integrity, and that makes life in the digital preservation world both challenging and interesting!

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WDPD 2020 - NRS Blog - Response to Covid-19

Garth Stewart

Garth Stewart

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Authors: Lynn Bruce, Web Archivist; Laura Gould, Government Records Archivist; Barbara Fuentes, Web Continuity Assistant; Joanne Watson, Digital Capacity Planning Lead & Garth Stewart, Head of Digital Records Unit from the National Records of Scotland.


Introduction

In a year like no other, so many aspects of our society have changed in the wake of Covid-19; how we work, how we play, how we govern, how we live.

At the pandemic’s onset, National Records of Scotland - as keeper of Scotland’s national archive, set out to ensure that we captured a record of the unprecedented changes facing Scotland’s government and public health administrations. This required bundles of energy, focus, and engagement by colleagues, which at times significantly tested our resilience. We’ve adapted admirably to this challenge: read on to explore our key successes and thoughts on the future.

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Keeping the Good for Good: Preserving the Laws of Hywel Dda at the National Library of Wales

Sally McInnes

Sally McInnes

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Sally McInnes is Head of Unique Collections and Collections Care at the National Library of Wales


When Sarah Middleton announced that the theme of this year’s World Digital Preservation Day was Digits: for Good, I could not resist the chance to talk about the Library’s approach to preserving one of Wales’s most iconic manuscripts, namely the Boston Manuscript of the Laws of Hywel Dda (the Good). The Library has combined innovative approaches in traditional conservation, digitisation and digital preservation to ensure that these Welsh Laws are accessible now and in the future.

The Boston Manuscript was purchased in 2012 by the Library with assistance from the Lottery Heritage Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries and the Welsh Government.  The manuscript, written in Welsh, dates from around 1350 and records the native Welsh laws, which were thought to have been codified by Hywel Dda. It is a key text in the history of Welsh law and provides insights into Welsh identify and cultural life. It was used as a working text, being annotated by a Judge in South Wales, who carried it around in his pocket. By the 19th century, the manuscript had reached America and was in the custody of the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, having probably been taken across the Atlantic by an emigrant.

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Three Copy Nirvana? A Climb into the Clouds

Lee Hibberd

Lee Hibberd

Last updated on 5 November 2020

Lee Hibberd is the Digital Preservation Manager at the National Library of Scotland.


For more than a decade the National Library of Scotland has been on a journey to achieve one of the digital preservation fundamentals – safe storage. In October 2020, and for the very first time, we achieved our goal of keeping 3 copies of our preservation data. To mark the coincidence of this result with World Digital Preservation Day I’d like to share the ups and downs of the climb with you - from the foothills to the clouds.

Between 2000 and 2010 the National Library of Scotland had an established Digital Preservation Programme, was purchasing digital content and collecting Scottish websites and personal archives with digital bits attached. Growth was manageable and routine – one copy lived on networked disk storage, and another on back-up LTO tape. We were early and full members of the Digital Preservation Coalition and had attended our fair share of training but data losses remained as words on a PowerPoint slide. It wasn’t long before the theory became personal.

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Digits: For Good – Black History Month at Lloyds Banking Group

Peter Judge

Peter Judge

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Peter Judge is an Archivist at Group Archives & Museum (Lloyds), Group Corporate Affairs


Lloyds Banking Group Archives hold very few records about race and ethnicity. During previous Black History Months, we have been asked for stories about black colleagues that could be shared as part of the celebrations, but by going through material in the archive we quickly realised that conversations around race and ethnicity didn’t start in the Group until the 21st century. So this year we took the opportunity to join the Group’s Black History Month working party and create a bank of stories that will illustrate for future researchers one small part of the black experience in the U.K., in a year when capturing these stories feels more important than ever. It is through our use of the digital preservation platform Preservica that we aim to keep these stories accessible for future generations.

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Amplifying Change: Stories of Change from Irish History

Bláithín Ní Chatháin

Bláithín Ní Chatháin

Last updated on 5 November 2020

Bláithín Ní Chatháin is a Historical researcher and oral historian, Atlantic Philanthropies Archival Project at the Digital Repository of Ireland.


Amplifying change: A history of the Atlantic Philanthropies on the island of Ireland’ is a collaborative project between the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) based in Dublin and the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC) at Cornell University Library, New York. The ‘Amplifying Change’ team based at DRI was granted access to the Atlantic Philanthropies Archive housed at RMC, enabling DRI to play a role in providing persistent access to grant documents and in contextualising the stories that surround significant social and cultural change with newly collected oral histories. The collaboration aims to build and disseminate a vibrant, sustainable, and openly accessible digital archive and online exhibition of the impact of the Atlantic Philanthropies grantees on the island of Ireland, consisting of select business records and new oral histories, that reflect Atlantic’s grant making philosophy, approach and impact in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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‘DIY’ Digital Preservation: A Collaborative Trainee Project on Personal Digital Archiving

Jacob Bickford, Erin Liu, Ellie Peng & Ash Ullah

Jacob Bickford, Erin Liu, Ellie Peng & Ash Ullah

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Jacob Bickford, Erin Liu, Ellie Peng, Ash Ullah are Bridging the Digital Gap trainees with The National Archives.


We are four Bridging the Digital Gap trainees employed by The National Archives (funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund) and seconded across four host institutions: University of the Arts London, London Metropolitan Archives, Transport for London Corporate Archives and University of Westminster.  The traineeship scheme is designed to bring our digital capabilities to the archives sector whilst developing our skills in various aspects of archival practice.

Whilst forming our proposal for a collaborative cross-institutional project, we were cognisant of our position as trainees working in archives that sit within comparatively larger organisations, bodies with resources to support the hosting and operation of purpose-built digital preservation systems.  We wondered where newcomers (like ourselves), ‘non-specialist’ practitioners and/or those without a massive budget sat in relation to this digital preservation landscape, which could appear resource-intensive and technically complex.  We were keen to explore how digital preservation tools can be approached as readily as any other everyday DIY tool, since the practices of creating, storing, keeping and sharing material are intuitive and necessary to all.

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Bit by bit

Rachel MacGregor

Rachel MacGregor

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Rachel MacGregor is a Digital Preservation Officer at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick.


26th March 2020 – I was just finishing my first full week of working from home (I’m still here) and it felt very far from normal, particularly because I should have been in Dublin speaking to colleagues from the Archives and Records Association Ireland about digital preservation. I had been really looking forward to my trip there not least because it’s a city I’d like to see more of having only been once before. That will have to wait for the time being (although Dublin – you have been warned!).

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Hopes and dreams of the 2020 DPC Fellow

Michelle Lindlar

Michelle Lindlar

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Micky Lindlar is Digital Preservation Team Leader at Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) in Germany and recipient of the Digital Preservation Awards 2020 DPC Fellowship.


Dear Judges,
Dear DPC,
Dear digital preservationists world wide,
Dear colleagues and friends,

Digital preservation is mostly done in the dark. Like a lifeguard in a sea of bits and bytes we ensure that all stay afloat, we take precautions, we rescue when needed, we raise a warning finger at unsuitable gear. Our job is to create and maintain safe environments where data lives – lives to be used by others. The digital preservation awards is one of the rare occasions where the work in the dark is put into the spotlight to be seen and recognized. Praise by your peers is the highest form there is and I feel very honored to receive the DPC Fellowship. 

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Introducing the Levels of Born-Digital Access

Shira Peltzman, Jessica Venlet & Brian Dietz

Shira Peltzman, Jessica Venlet & Brian Dietz

Last updated on 4 November 2020

By Brian Dietz (Digital Program Librarian for Special Collection, NC State University Libraries), Shira Peltzman (Digital Archivist, UCLA Library) and Jessica Venlet (Assistant University Archivist for Digital Records and Records Management, UNC at Chapel Hill University Libraries)


The decisions facing those who work with born-digital archival materials are myriad. While it has become increasingly easier to find technical processing workflows and lists of handy tools, documentation and guidance on exactly how to provide access to our born-digital collections has lagged behind in our collective conversations. 

Over the last several years, a few like-minded efforts in the U.S. to tackle this common challenge coalesced into the DLF Born-Digital Access Working Group (BDAWG) in 2017. Among other things, the group set out to explore the questions: What if the Levels of Digital Preservation included access?  Does access have to be an all or nothing choice? What are some of the key considerations - technical or policy - that make access to born-digital materials possible?

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NDSA Levels of Preservation: Keys to Leveraging Collaboration

Bradley Daigle

Bradley Daigle

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Bradley Daigle is the  Strategic and Content Expert / Chair for the Academic Preservation Trust  / NDSA 


As most of this audience knows, the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) celebrates the expression of digital preservation in all its forms through its awards process. This year, the NDSA was honored with having been shortlisted in the new Innovation and Collaboration section of the awards for the work that its members and colleagues have done to reboot the NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation. Given the talent and effort by so many who were nominated, this nomination is itself a testament to the role the Levels play within the overall practice of digital preservation.

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It takes a Big Picture to bring us further

Marcel Ras

Marcel Ras

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Marcel Ras is the Digital Preservation Program Manager at the Dutch Digital Heritage Network


The mission of the Dutch Digital Heritage Network is to develop a system of facilities and services for improving the visibility, usability and sustainability of digital heritage. And thus lend more social added value to our digital heritage. An ambitious mission that demands a lot of collaboration and connection with the individual heritage organisations. This can only happen with the right set of instruments providing help.

Imagine you are the project manager of the Album Cover Museum, just recently digitised 10.000 LP covers from your collection. The results, 10 TB of data, are stored on a hard disk. You have Ambitious plans to digitise even more in the near future with an estimated yearly growth of 20 TB. The collection needs to be preserved and linked with other digital collections in an online exhibition about music. This brings a truck load of questions to be answered now. Too many for a little museum to answer by itself.

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A year of digital preservation at Bodleian Libraries

Edith Halvarsson

Edith Halvarsson

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Edith Halvarsson is a Digital Preservation Officer at the Bodleian Libraries


It seems like it was only a couple of months ago that Bodleian Libraries’ last yearly roundup was posted on the DPC blog. While it has at times felt like time has stood still this year, looking back on the huge amount of work which colleagues have completed over the past months is a tell-tale sign that we are nearing the end of 2020.

So, what is new at the Libraries? After much research, requirements gathering and testing in previous years we are now seeing many of our proof-of-concept and pilot projects moving into their final delivery phases. It has also been a year when digital services, research, and teaching has been discussed and highlighted across the University of Oxford. In response, the Libraries has ramped up its web archiving activities to capture how the University is adapting to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a summary of our year so far.

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Tiered Storage and the Case of the Labor-Intensive Derivate

Walker Sampson

Walker Sampson

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Author: Walker Sampson, University of Colorado, Boulder; in collaboration with Keith Pendergrass, Harvard Business School,  Boston; Tessa Walsh, Artefactual Systems,  BC, Canada; Laura Alagna, Northwestern University Library, IL;


For the past several years, Keith Pendergrass, Tessa Walsh, Laura Alagna, and I have been exploring how to make digital preservation more environmentally sustainable. Recently, we have focused on building a global community of practice, striving to add environmental sustainability as a third, co-equal pillar of digital preservation practice along with digital object management and successful use. We began our work with a research article, then created a workshop protocol, and have been engaging in outreach and education efforts. We are honored to be a Digital Preservation Awards finalist for the Dutch Digital Heritage Network Award for Teaching and Communications.

We have written a couple of blogs posts on our work previously, first discussing our workshop protocol and then providing details on implementing policy and workflow changes at Baker Library Special Collections. Here I would like to describe efforts at the University of Colorado Boulder to generate guidelines on the use of three storage tiers. In our article we recommend storage tiers as a way to accommodate retention needs for a range of content – some of which may not merit or immediately need top-tier storage. I suspect many institutions may have multiple storage options available to them, with varying qualities to each – though here, we have just begun the process of organizing these options into a unified strategy.

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El Programa de Webinars de la RIPDASA nominado para los Premios de la Coalición de Preservación Digital (DPC)

Perla Olivia Rodríguez Reséndiz

Perla Olivia Rodríguez Reséndiz

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Perla Olivia Rodríguez Reséndiz - Coordinadora de la Red Iberoamericana de Preservación Digital Sonora y Audiovisual (RIPDASA) / Investigadora de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)


La nominación del Programa de Webinars en español de la Red Iberoamericana de Preservación Digital Sonora y Audiovisual (RIPDASA) a los Premios que cada año otorga la Coalición de Preservación Digital (DPC) es un estímulo al trabajo que desde 2019 llevan a cabo los investigadores y profesionales de esta red de investigación.

El Programa de Webinars fue creado por la RIPDASA con el propósito de difundir información práctica y experiencias profesionales sobre la gestión y el cuidado de los archivos digitales para minimizar el riesgo de pérdida de las colecciones sonoras y audiovisuales en la región.

La RIPDASA se creó para compartir saberes y experiencias de Universidades, instituciones de la memoria, empresas y organismos internacionales de la región a fin de favorecer la investigación científica en torno a la situación y perspectivas de futuro de la herencia sonora y audiovisual y con ello, proponer soluciones ante su riesgo de pérdida.

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Fraserburgh on Film

Andrew Davidson

Andrew Davidson

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Andrew Davidson is a student at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.


Fraserburgh is a small coastal town that sits on the North East corner of Scotland. It was the birthplace of abolitionist James Ramsay in 1733; one of the founding fathers of modern Japan, Thomas Blake Glover in 1838; world renowned fashion designer, Bill Gibb in 1943; and me, in 1985.

I am in no way suggesting that my name be added alongside theirs in the annals of the town’s history, the only thing we hold in common is that we all at one point in time lived in the same place. However, to convolute this idea and confuse our commonality further, it might be more appropriate to say we all lived in the same geographical region but arguably all lived in different places.

Growing up in the 1980s and 90s, Fraserburgh was still very much a summer holiday destination with two caravan parks that ran alongside what was once the railway line, full of families who came for the beach and, believe it or not, the mild summer weather. The harbour full of boats landing fish from the North Sea and the town centre, a thriving hub of small local businesses.

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The LONTAD project

Maria Jose Lloret Alcaniz

Maria Jose Lloret Alcaniz

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Maria José Lloret Alcañiz is the Digital Preservation and Access Managera at the United Nations Library & Archives in Geneva.


The United Nations Library & Archives in Geneva are responsible for the preservation of the archives of the League of Nations (LON) and have the mission to make them accessible for researches and historians around the world. The access is public, but the paper archives must be consulted on site; that’s probably the main reason why most users are coming from Europe and the US.

That was the situation before the 5-years ‘Total Digital Access to the LON Archives Project’, known as LONTAD, was born. The project will provide for the digitization, physical and digital preservation and online access of the LON Archives.

I remember the day, in mid-2017, when I first heard about the donation that our Director General had received from a Geneva foundation, to support the digitization of the entire LON Archives. I had been working in the Library & Archives for many years, managing a team in charge of the computing infrastructure and IT systems, including the Archives Management system. But, to be honest, I knew very little about the contents that my colleagues were cataloging into the system. The project sounded really interesting for the archivists, of course, but it was also challenging for an IT professional, so I didn’t hesitate to join the management team and take over the responsibility for technology, including digital preservation. From the beginning, it was clear that the latter was an essential component of the project which represents an enormous undertaking, requiring a substantial investment: we could not take the risk that one day the digitized material might be lost or become unusable.

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Amplifying Change: The Making of a Digital Archive

Anja Mahler

Anja Mahler

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Anja Mahler is a Digital Archivist, Atlantic Philanthropies Archive Project, Digital Repository of Ireland.


Before I took up the position of digital archivist for the Atlantic Philanthropies archive project in early 2018, I did not know much about Chuck Feeney and the extent of his philanthropic investment on the island of Ireland. Conor O’Clery’s book The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Secretly Made and Gave Away a Fortune provided me with great insight into the work of the Atlantic Philanthropies.  Soon after I took up my position, I travelled to New York to visit Cornell University. I got to see the physical archive held at the Division for Rare and Manuscripts Collections and I also gained exclusive access to The Atlantic Philanthropies grant management system for Ireland and Northern Ireland.  It was then that I grasped the great extent of this archive. It was not, however, until I got to look closely at the grant files, which contain records that document the entire life cycle of grants-from proposals to final reports and rich ephemera, that I experienced a sense of awe because I realised the vast impact of the Atlantic Philanthropies. I recall cataloguing the document Action Plan on Bullying and how that acted as a catalyst for me to realise the sheer amount of combined energy needed to bring about societal change.  My dear colleague Phoebe Lynn Kowalewski, the Atlantic Philanthropies Archivist at Cornell University Library, put it this way to me very recently:

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WDPD 2020 - Royal College of Nursing

Fiona Bourne

Fiona Bourne

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Fiona Bourne is the Archives Manager at the Library and Archive Service for the Royal College of Nursing in Edinburgh.


It’s a strange feeling to be quietly working at home with a laptop and a cup of tea one day, to suddenly be addressing the world at large about digital preservation the next. Many archivists around the world have been doing just that this year, at home keeping pets off the keyboard and family off-screen or battling against appalling internet connections. They have been struggling to keep their archive open, the collections safe and to progress their projects. But the benefits to digital record-keeping and preservation have evidently been immense as I found out at the iPRES 2020 conference. As DPC award finalists we were asked to do a lightning talk about our nominated project, A new way of sharing nursing history – Royal College of Nursing member and public digital archives

My organisation is the Royal College of Nursing (RCN): a professional association and trade union for nurses and healthcare workers with over 470,000 members. We provide guidance on clinical and professional practice, legal representation in employment relations, pay negotiations and political lobbying. The organisation is over 100 years old and is known as the ‘voice of nursing’ for the UK. Sharing that history is a critical part of my role, but the ease of digital accessibility has blurred the lines I work within. Historical record series’ now run right up to the present bringing new audiences and new problems. A public digital archive website provides access to selected records, such as publications and annual reports, but many of our records cannot be shared publicly.

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Enabling research: digital access during lockdown

Lotte Wijsman

Lotte Wijsman

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Lotte Wijsman is a Student at the University of Amsterdam (MA Archival and Information Studies) & Intern at the National Archives of the Netherlands


After several months at home, it has become time to take stock regarding productivity. At the start of the lockdown, people spoke about all the things they could do now that they would be stuck at home. Whether this was to DIY or to learn another language, it was all ambitious. For me, none of these ambitions have come to fruition. However, several others did. I completed my paper on the significant properties of spreadsheets, which was part of my internship at the National Archives of the Netherlands. Moreover, I am now working on my Masters thesis on reference rot, while in lockdown and without physical access to the university library. This would all be impossible without digital preservation.

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Against All Odds

Patricia Sleeman

Patricia Sleeman

Last updated on 5 November 2020

Authors: Tom Wilson, Charlie Barbe and Patricia Sleeman for the UNHCR.


UNHCR is at the forefront of one of the most critical crises facing the world in the 21st century – that of displacement. 79.5 million people - 1 percent of the world’s population - have fled their homes due to conflict or persecution. Preserving ‘the history of now’, for present and future generations, has never been more complex or essential. UNHCR Records and Archives Section (RAS) preserves not just the legacy of UNHCR’s work but also of humanity. Though small in size, it supports a global staff of over 17,000 and has an ambitious vision.

Since 1996 UNHCR has preserved critical digital information about situations that have shaped our world and it continues to do so. Faced with the largest refugee crisis the world has ever seen, UNHCR has a mandate to protect some of the most vulnerable in our global society – refugees, the internally displaced and stateless. This includes the preservation of its records and archives. Preserving the digital legacy of UNHCR is the protection of the legacy of humanity. The digital content selected for preservation is testament to the work of UNHCR and a record of the victims of emergencies, for now and for generations to come.

Capture can be challenging due to the complexity and the speed at which UNHCR operates in some of the most dangerous places in the world.  UNHCR’s digital content is highly valued but often for its primary value due to the rapidity of response needed for emergencies and operations in the field and UNHCR is often an early adopter of new technologies, often challenging to preserve. Also, a continual staff rotation policy is challenging for information management.

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Please be upstanding for the Digital Preservation Awards Finalists

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 4 November 2020

This World Digital Preservation Day is a bit different to those we have experienced before, but certainly no less important and relevant. Coinciding, as it does every two years, with the Digital Preservation Awards, we had grand plans for a spectacular contribution to the days’ proceedings … an awards ceremony to be held at the newly opened Bibliothèque nationale du Luxembourg!

via GIPHY

However, as the events of the year unfolded, it was clear that those plans would not be possible, and we even (very briefly) considered whether we would run the Digital Preservation Awards at all… after all, surely everyone everywhere had bigger fish to fry?!

But then it struck us, that the Digital Preservation Awards was exactly what we needed in a year like this. In fact, even more so! Hard work, excellent, clever, innovative work was still going on in spite of – and because of – the global crisis… albeit generally from spare rooms and dining tables rather than offices and labs.

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Preserving websites for Sydarkivera’s member municipalities in changing times

Annie Stille

Annie Stille

Last updated on 5 November 2020

Annie Stille is a Metadata Specialist at Sydarkivera in Sweden

Illustrations from Magnus Heimonen, Web editor and media producer, Sydarkivera


The challenges of web archiving in a rapidly changing world at Kommunalförbundet Sydarkivera described with focus on the digits. Sydarkivera is a municipality organisation founded in the south of Sweden in 2015. Preserving information as an archival authority organisation in times of change is a great challenge. Some of these challenges will be presented in this blog post, written by Annie Stille, metadata specialist and responsible for web archiving at Kommunalförbundet Sydarkivera.

Sydarkivera is a provider of long-term digital preservation services. It acts as the archival authority for several municipalities in southern and central Sweden who are members of Sydarkivera. The purpose of the organisation is to preserve the member’s information flows for future generations.

In today’s society, information flows are rapidly changing and increasing in volume. This puts the onus on actors dealing with digital preservation to be prepared and outward-looking. This is, however, challenging because it is not always possible to predict how the information will be used in the long term. This places considerable technical demands on organisations working with digital preservation in terms of potential formats, technical solutions, metadata, storage and data management. Alongside these technical demands are changes to attitudes towards new situations that require quick action from a digital preservation perspective. Doing nothing or acting too slowly risks information loss.

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Digital Preservation Training for Good

Toni Sant

Toni Sant

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Toni Sant is the Digital Curation Lab Director for the University of Salford at MediaCityUK.


Training is an essential component of good digital preservation. There are several ways that people involved in digital preservation receive their training. In some cases, digital preservationists come from a library and information science background. Other times a computer science degree leads to a specialism in tool development for preservation or technical infrastructure management. However, it’s also true to say that a large number of people who engage with digital preservation projects, without prior experience, could benefit greatly from even the most basic digital preservation training.

Digital preservation training is a broad church. The Digital Preservation Coalition and other organisations with members from across a wide range of institutions, such as the Open Preservation Foundation, offer systematic training in the form of short courses or workshops. An ever-growing number of higher education institutions offer degree courses at all levels providing varying quantities of digital preservation training.

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Reflections on the year

Laura Peaurt

Laura Peaurt

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Laura Peaurt is a Digital Preservation Officer at the University of Nottingham


This year I’m reflecting on the progress that Manuscripts & Special Collections at the University of Nottingham Libraries have been able to make during this challenging and unprecedented year to preserve our digital collections for future generations of researchers.

We have spent this year putting our new digital preservation system into action. This represents a great leap forward for us in terms of our ability to actively manage and continue to develop our growing digital collections. We have also successfully integrated the system with our Collection Management software meaning that in the future our end users should be able to access our digital records directly from the catalogue.

Our first steps have been to transfer our existing digital collections into the system for safekeeping including both digitised images and born digital collections, but we have also been able to spend some time actively collecting new digital content to document the university’s role in responding to the pandemic.

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University of Bristol: World Digital Preservation Day blog post

Emma Hancox

Emma Hancox

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Emma Hancox is a Digital Archivist at University of Bristol Special Collections and Theatre Collection


At the University of Bristol we have recently been working on improving our capabilities for digital preservation. Some of the activities we have been carrying out include developing a digital preservation policy, assessing ourselves against the DPC’s rapid assessment model and implementing Preservica as our digital preservation system.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic our efforts had mainly been focussed on dealing with legacy digital material in our archive collections and digital images created through past digitisation efforts. As for organisations across the country, the pandemic brought major changes to the teaching, management, and operation of the University of Bristol. As a response to this, we decided that it was important to collect records documenting these changes in our Special Collections archive so that future researchers could understand the University’s response. We also wanted our Coronavirus records to act as a complement to those being collected by other repositories nationally and internationally. We see this and the work being done by these other archives to collect Covid-19 related material as encapsulating the World Digital Preservation Day 2020 theme of Digits: For Good.

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It’s not easy being green: Evaluating the impact of digital preservation

Elisabeth Thurlow

Elisabeth Thurlow

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Elisabeth Thurlow is the Digital Preservation & Access Manager at the University of the Arts London.


As we challenge the long-held myth of neutrality within libraries, museums and archives, and diversify our collections, how do we avoid making decisions in support of digital preservation, which risk reinforcing historic biases? How do we select and prioritise our preservation actions whilst ensuring we are not duplicating existing biases? As well as the potential social impact of digital preservation, how green are our often IT-intensive digital preservation actions? How do we assess and minimise the environmental impact of our digital preservation programme?

These are not new discussions for my library and curatorial colleagues, who have been engaging in similar conversations in relation to their collections management practices over a number of years. But the inclusion of digital preservation in these recent discussions over the last two or three years is a strong indicator that digital preservation is becoming more embedded in our institutional culture. Collaboration is at the centre of many of these conversations - which is also central to the success of any digital preservation programme and our work at University of the Arts London (UAL).

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Preserving Open Access Books: The COPIM Project

Emily Bell & Gareth Cole

Emily Bell & Gareth Cole

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Dr Emily Bell is a Research Associate in Archiving and Preserving Open Access Books, at Loughborough University and Dr Gareth Cole is the Research Data Manager at Loughborough University. Both are members of the COPIM Project.


COPIM (Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs) is an international partnership of researchers, universities, librarians, open access book publishers and infrastructure providers. It is building community-owned, open systems and infrastructures to enable open access book publishing to flourish.

As part of COPIM Work Package 7 (Archiving and Digital Preservation), we are researching the challenges and options for archiving and preserving open access books. As part of this we are running a series of workshops in 2020 and 2021 aimed at gaining a better understanding of existing best practice in the preservation of OA monographs, and developing possible solutions for the technical issues of archiving books, including embedded content and links. Our first workshop took place on 16 September 2020, jointly run with the Digital Preservation Coalition and was focussed on third party material. This workshop brought together representatives from the Archaeology Data Service, Cambridge University Library, Educopia, Internet Archive, Library of Congress, Los Alamos National Lab and Portico, as well as COPIM team members from Loughborough University, Open Book Publishers, the British Library, the DPC and Jisc.

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Lancaster University: World Digital Preservation Day blog post

Thomas Shaw

Thomas Shaw

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Thomas Shaw is the Assistant Director of Digital Innovation and Research Services at Lancaster University


It is undoubtedly both a truism and an understatement that these are unprecedented times.  Universities, along with other types of knowledge-intensive organisation, have experienced seismic shock and uncertainty due to the current pandemic, ranging from uncertain student recruitment to detrimental impact on research projects.  Add to this the consequent financial effects, and the resulting circumstances do not appear to be conducive to making the argument for the importance of digital preservation and the need to invest in it.

In universities, there are currently two key barriers to making the case for digital preservation:

  • Financial constraints and uncertainty – the need for institutions to manage very challenging financial circumstances creates barriers to investment in either staffing or infrastructure for digital preservation. In most institutions, now will not be a good time to request new investment.

  • Organisational focus is elsewhere – universities have had to respond rapidly and adapt to the challenges of the pandemic. Institutions have had to transition to digital and blended modes of teaching, whilst managing key activity in other areas, such as preparation for the Research Excellence Framework. Consequently, senior leaders are unlikely to be receptive to calls for action on digital preservation at the current time, especially with so many other competing challenges.

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“We never closed.” Digital continuity at the British Library during the pandemic

Michael Day

Michael Day

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Michael Day is the Digital Preservation Research Lead at The British Library


In the not-so-distant past, if the digital preservation community in the west ever paused to think about the effects of viruses on digital collections and operations, I suspect that most would have been mainly thinking about computer malware or similar nasties. In fact, a couple of years ago, the digital preservation team at the British Library hosted Evanthia Samaras, from the Public Record Office Victoria and the University of Technology Sydney, to undertake a PhD placement to look at this very issue. Our research at that time didn’t find that much evidence of malware-risk in the Library’s collections, although we did find that we held a copy of a late-1990s computer magazine cover disk that had been published with a computer virus named “Marburg,” itself named after a human virus outbreak in Germany during the 1960s..

The British Library’s vulnerability to human viruses was not within scope of that particular study, but the implications of a global health pandemic became apparent very quickly during March this year. The Library’s physical sites were closed on the 26th March, part of a UK nationwide lockdown.

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Digits: For Good

Samantha Case

Samantha Case

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Samantha Case is an Assistant Archivist for the Whisky and Gin Archives at Bacardi based in Glasgow.


In its 158-year history, family-owned Bacardi has seen (and documented) many moments that have tested its resilience. From natural disasters to Prohibition to forced exile from its original homeland in Cuba – these stories from the past have shaped our culture and legacy. 2020 will mark another one of these challenging moments captured in our archives. Making sure the stories of today are preserved for generations to come is a tremendous responsibility made even more challenging during COVID-19 as situations shifted daily and countries found themselves in different stages of the recovery or closure.

Due to the sudden onset of the pandemic and the global scale of our company, it was vital that the archive team at Bacardi captured communications and changes in ways of working as rapidly as they happened. Our brand and company archives are spread out across four locations in the UK, France, Italy, and the USA, so we were well-placed to gather a range of records. Early on we mapped out the business records that we would need to capture to reflect any changes in working practices and the state of our business. It was important to consider how to best capture unique changes brought on by the pandemic, such as social distancing and temperature checks.

This situation emphasized how crucial digital records are to our company’s history. All the records relating to the pandemic were digital, which was ultimately useful because it allowed us to gather records from people even while unable to physically be in the office.

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The exciting world of Metadata

Teagan Zoldoske

Teagan Zoldoske

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Teagan Zoldoske is a Digital Archives Assistant at the Archaeology Data Service 


Metadata is the data about data which is both as simple and complex as it sounds. Without proper metadata, data is useless. It can’t be used for verification, reuse, or anything else. But what really is metadata?

Metadata.

Something extremely important to the long-term health and reuse of data and yet the mere mention of it can cause people to shut off and run away. So, what is it, how is it different from data, and how could it be for good?

Metadata is the data about data. I think that sums it up quite nicely, don't you? Ok, let's phrase it a different way. It's essentially the documentation needed to make the data findable, understandable, and useable. It allows for verification of claims, reuse for future projects, and more.

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Living in Lockdown: Archives of the Trinity Community in the Covid-19 Pandemic

Jane Maxwell & Brendan Power

Jane Maxwell & Brendan Power

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Dr Jane Maxwell is Manuscripts Curator at the Manuscripts & Archives Research Library, The Library of Trinity College Dublin. Dr Brendan Power is Digital Preservation Librarian at The Library of Trinity College Dublin.


When the enormity of what the COVID-19 pandemic threatened fully dawned eight months ago, every research-active institute, lab, and repository began to ask ‘how can we respond to this in a manner which has long-term value?’. The archives profession was no different, concerned, as always, with ensuring that future researchers would have material upon which to base their enquiries. The Library of Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with the Long Room Hub, the University’s arts and humanities institute, initiated a COVID-19 archives-collecting initiative. Focused very much on capturing individuals’ experiences of living in Ireland in 2020, the ambition of the initiative was three-fold; in the first instance we recognised that the private voice is a resource that is traditionally difficult to capture during major social upheavals. Secondly, we recognised that the recorded experience of a university community would represent a distinct snapshot of Irish life. Finally, in the early days at least, the Library saw this initiative as a valuable outreach activity, offering our community a concrete and valuable way to respond to the times we were going through.

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Local Government Legislative process through a time of crisis, the story of Nairobi City County Assembly

Villy A. Magero

Villy A. Magero

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Villy A. Magero is a Records Officer at Nairobi City County Government, Kenya and is a Member of Kenya Association of Records Managers (KARMA) and an Individual member of the International Council on Archives.


Introduction

The Kenyan political scene and system of Governance has been through a tumultuous time which birthed development and eventual promulgation of a new Constitution of Kenya 2010 (CoK 2010). The Constitution brought in changes in Governance right from the Central Government and more power was given to the people through devolution which birthed 47 Counties out which Nairobi City County is the 47th County in the Country. The County was operationalised by the County Government Act No. 17 of 2012 of the CoK 2010.

Currently the County of Nairobi has a total of 123 Members of the County Assembly 85 elected and 38 Nominated. They are charged with a responsibility of representing the local Nairobi resident at ward level. The County Assembly is established through Article 176 of the CoK 2010. The members of the Assembly sit on various committees that discuss issues touching on motions, petitions and any other matter that is presented to them as far the legislative process is concerned, they also offer an oversight role to the Executive arm of Nairobi City County. The Committees are the rooms where the actual dismantling of issues are broken down before they can be tabled on the floor of the Assembly to be passed as motions or bills for enactment in the County.

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An Open Data Policy for CERN…and an important step in preserving the digital legacy of the Large Hadron Collider

Dirk Duellmann

Dirk Duellmann

Last updated on 5 November 2020

Dirk Duellmann is the Head of Scientific Computing Collaborations group, CERN IT department


CERN and the High Energy Physics (HEP) community in general have a long tradition of applying Open Science concepts already well before today's term "Open Science" had been invented. Due to the size and complexity of large-scale particle accelerator and detectors projects, our community was forced from early on to consolidate effort and share key infrastructures such as accelerators, computing resources (both at CERN and world-wide partner labs) and also its crucial software investments. This culture has, in comparison to other sciences, created an early coherence across the HEP community that facilitated the collaborative development of open software over the decades, and enabled an open exchange of data analysis methods and science results.

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What and how would you like to learn about PREMIS?

Angela Dappert

Angela Dappert

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Authors: Angela Dappert, Karin Bredenberg, Micky Lindlar, Tracy Meehleib, PREMIS Editorial Committee


 When asking a room full of digital preservationists whether they know PREMIS, most will raise their hand.  Most understand key concepts including Objects, Rights, Events and Agents. But open questions remain for them and we need to support new practitioners. The PREMIS Editorial Committee wants to make PREMIS approachable and make it easier for people to understand and use preservation metadata. What kind of materials are people looking for? Short webinars on specific issues? Longer tutorials? Implementation stories? A short live survey gave us insight into the community’s needs.

PREMIS is the de facto standard for digital preservation metadata. It captures technical, provenance, rights, and platform information that is needed to ‘ensure the viability, renderability, understandability, authenticity, and identity of digital objects in a digital preservation context’[1].

PREMIS is widely adopted in open-source, commercial and in-house developments. It has reached a high level of maturity. Version 3.0 was released in 2015. It has proven to be stable and to be doing what it is supposed to: Defining digital preservation metadata that ‘most preservation repositories need to know to preserve digital materials over the long term‘.

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COVID-19: Advancing the Digital Participatory Microhistory

Bonface Odhiambo

Bonface Odhiambo

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Bonface Odhiambo is a University Archivist, United States International University- Africa. He is representing the Kenya Association of Records Managers and Archivists (KARMA) and International Council of Archives (ICA)


The year 2020, will be one of the memorable years that will never fade away from people’s minds. Everyone will tell you how COVID-19 disrupted their lives, how the pandemic led to several deaths, how lockdowns brought about travel restrictions, how they lost their jobs and many more. Despite the myriad of shortcomings, the pandemic has instead reinforced the participatory or post custodial perspective towards digital preservation. Building on the UNESCO communication on turning the threat of COVID-19 into an opportunity for greater support to documentary heritage and ICA’s declaration that the duty to document does not cease in a crisis, it has become more essential and necessary to advance the digital participatory micro history. As a digital preservation enthusiast, I believe that this year, the current situation, has set the pace for a new paradigm in preserving heritage and culture. Let’s embrace “Digits for Good” as a rallying call, and let’s use the pandemic as an opportunity to advance the digital preservation landscape.

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Does anyone know how the coronavirus changed the world?

Alicia Pastrana García and José Carlos Cerdán

Alicia Pastrana García and José Carlos Cerdán

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Alicia Pastrana García and José Carlos Cerdán are part of the Non-Print Legal Deposit department at the National Library of Spain


I know, you are living it, you know how your day-to-day life is changing but, what about your grandchildren? Will they understand how this is changing our lives? The best view of our society is on Internet, especially on social networks. How will a researcher of the future understand this change if he does not have access to all the information that is flowing on the Web? Is anyone preserving all that information?

Yes, someone does!

At the National Library of Spain, we are doing just that, like many other national libraries around the world. We began nominating websites about the emergence and spread of the coronavirus in mid-February, responding to a call from International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC). But when the situation got worse in Spain, we decided to create our own collection, making a much more exhaustive selection. Thus, the first Spanish crawl was launched on March 10th. Since that date, both we and our collaborators from the regional libraries, within the framework of the Library Cooperation Council, began an intense work of searching and nominating the information published on the Internet related to this topic.

We have already collected one of the most important web collections in our history. The number of pages that appeared and are still appearing to the situation caused by the expansion of the coronavirus is immense and most of them will disappear once this great crisis is over.  Web collections will become one of the largest sources of information about the situation caused by COVID-19.

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Pushing through the pandemic...for good: a brief look at the digital preservation programme at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals

Angeline Takawira-Magaya

Angeline Takawira-Magaya

Last updated on 5 November 2020

Angeline Takawira-Magaya is a Digital Archivist at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals ("IRMCT" or "Mechanism")


During the pandemic, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals ("IRMCT" or "Mechanism") has been hard at work preserving the records of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Mechanism. If you're wondering what we've been up to, take a few minutes to read all about what we've been doing and why we are doing it!"

Q: What is digital preservation and why is it important?

A: Digital preservation is the active management and maintenance of digital objects to ensure that they continue to be accessible and useable for as long as required.

A key feature of effective digital preservation is that it is a process which is active and on-going and not a one-off event after which we fold our arms and sit back.

So, for example putting our digital data on robust and secure storage systems would allow us to keep the data but would provide no assurance that the data would continue to be accessible or useable over time, even if we took good care of the storage systems and upgraded them routinely.

With a mandate to preserve, we recognized that we needed to do more than just ‘keep the data’. We needed more than just secure and robust storage.

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Digits: For good – Preserving social sciences COVID-19 data for reuse

Marjan Grootveld & Ingrid Dillo

Marjan Grootveld & Ingrid Dillo

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Ingrid Dillo is Deputy Director at DANS and is co-chair of the RDA COVID-19 Working Group. Marjan Grootveld is Coordinator Projects and Policy at DANS and involved in FAIRsFAIR.


Under the umbrella of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and on request of the European Commission more than six hundred data professionals and domain experts developed guidelines for sharing research data to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines for researchers, published in July 2020, help four domains to find a balance between timeliness and accuracy: clinical science, omics, epidemiology, and social sciences. Instruments and practices mentioned in the guidelines include data management plans, metadata, and ethical and privacy considerations, along with the technology needed for this. Furthermore, the RDA COVID-19 Working Group’s report contains recommendations for governments and research funders, for instance to promote open science through policy and investment, across international jurisdictions. Documentation is seen as crucial for all stakeholders. While researchers should document their methodology, data cleaning, and data provenance, decision makers should document their decisions. And of course, documentation should be preserved for the future.

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Celebrating 2020’s Digital Preservation accomplishments at the National Library of Luxembourg

Roxana Maurer

Roxana Maurer

Last updated on 5 November 2020

Roxana Maurer is the Digital Preservation Co-ordinator at the National Library of Luxembourg (BnL).


Yesterday evening the National Library (BnL) was supposed to host the ceremony for the Digital Preservation Awards 2020 here, in Luxembourg City. Like so many other in-person events however, the Awards were moved online because of the pandemic. As I had the pleasure and privilege to be one of this year’s judges, I can only recommend that you read more about the finalists on the DPC’s website, because extraordinary work is happening in the field of Digital Preservation. Moreover, definitely do not forget to check the winners at 12:00 GMT today!

Although it might be easier to focus on the negative aspects with everything that has been happening this year, I would like to use this blogpost to focus on this year’s theme for World Digital Preservation Day (WDPD20): “Digits: for Good”. There are still two months left in this year, but I’m going to take this opportunity to look at and celebrate all the things we did manage to do this year (or the things we learned from what didn’t work out), instead of looking at what we had planned or hoped to do.

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Supporting Digital for Good

Anthea Seles

Anthea Seles

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Anthea Seles is the Secretary General of the International Council on Archives (ICA). 


logoThe digital preservation discussion needs to be broadened to include colleagues from different parts of the world that face vastly different realities than those confronted by practitioners in developed countries. That is not to say there aren’t transversal issues around cost, access to trained personnel, but many of us working in the ‘West’ have not had to deal rolling blackouts or inability to find sufficient basic infrastructure to support our programmes.

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Digital Preservation is not a Tool, it is a Process

Özhan Saglik

Özhan Saglik

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Özhan Saglik is a Lecturer at Bursa Uludag University Library.


I graduated from a bachelor degree in 2012 and master degree in 2015 from Istanbul University Information Science Department. I have been working in the library and archives since 2013. Now, working at Bursa Uludag University and PhD student at Istanbul University Information Science Department with the topic of trustworthiness of e-signed records.

"The things we loved change with us, so they are part of our richness"

Turkish famous writer Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar wrote this quote in his great book called Five Cities which was writing his memories in Ankara, Erzurum, Konya, Bursa and Istanbul. He lived in these cities and many things changed with him.

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How Does Digital Preservation Implementation Look Like in Areas of Unrest?

Rawia Awadallah

Rawia Awadallah

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Rawia Awadallah is Manager of the ROMOR Project in Palestine


ra1

With the rapidly increasing reliance on digital material, digital preservation (DP) becomes critical to ensure long-term availability and understandability of information resources for further re-use and the development of new knowledge.  DP is a crucial activity of information management in various organizational settings. However, the priorities in many areas on this planet go far away from preserving digital content and focus only on preserving the basic survival requirements of people.

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Current State of Digital Preservation Services in Finland

Heikki Helin

Heikki Helin

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Heikki Helin is Senior Technology Coordinator for Digital Preservation Services at CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd in Espoo, Finland


Two years ago, on WDPD2018, we wrote a kind of a status report about national digital preservation service in Finland. A lot has happened since then. As today is the 5th anniversary of our digital preservation service in production (yes, exactly today), it’s perhaps a time to give a short overview of what has happened since.

Back in 2018, we provided the preservation service only for the national cultural heritage sector, but during 2019 this was extended to also include research data (national universities, research institutes, etc.). All this within the remit of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland. This, obviously, increased the number of our potential partner organisations significantly, and especially the potential amount of data to be preserved. At the end of 2018, we had preserved about 200 terabytes of data, but today the number is roughly one petabyte. The amount of data is growing on an average of 1.2 terabytes per day, with data flowing in constantly 24/7.

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Activities of Digital Preservation at the National Archives of Korea

National Archives of Korea (NAK)

National Archives of Korea (NAK)

Last updated on 4 November 2020

National Archives of Korea(NAK) is a central archive affiliated to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety that systematically collects and preserves major records, provides archival information to the public and carries out various activities so as to promote an archival culture. NAK opened its doors in 1969 and it has since been growing and developing steadily at the central records and archives management organization in charge of national records management. At the present, it has several branch offices in various regions, including the Government Complex in Daejeon, National Archives, Seoul, National Archives, Daejeon, National Archives, Busan and Presidential Archives.


There had been growing interests on the digital preservation among collecting institutions in Korea for some time. Each institution had only dealt with it’s own challenges so far, however, rather than creating a collaboration mechanism. It was noteworthy that three collecting institutions met for the first time, on February 12 to pave a road to cooperate: National Archives of Korea(NAK), National Library of Korea(NLK), and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information(KISTI). They agreed on the need of a Korean version of Digital Preservation Coalition then.

In a couple of subsequent meetings, each participating institutions had chances to briefly share their past and current activities related to digital preservation: NLK performed various digital material preservation and digital service of online materials, KISTI conducted various research on digital preservation and NAK developed a digital format registry. They also discussed for cooperation agenda and agreed to organize joint seminars and regular meetings.

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Digital Challenges Facing the National Archives of Japan

Etsuko Watanabe

Etsuko Watanabe

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Etsuko Watanabe is the Chief of International Liasion Team at the National Archives of Japan.


National Archives of Japan (NAJ) is a government organisation which serves to ensure the proper preservation of, and provision of access to, public records with historical/evidential value. Over two decades have passed since archivists all over the world started to tackle issues brought about by ever-evolving digital technologies; however, the governments’ records in Japan have been preserved in physical (mainly paper-based) formats as original records, even though they were digitally generated. As of March 2020, the digital records account for only 0.1 % of our entire holdings (1.54 million volumes). In addition, the transfer of digital records created by governmental bodies started in 2011, and their total amount still remains at 1,759 volumes.

Along with the governments’ policies, digital records acquired by the NAJ are, in principle, converted to long-term preservation formats in order to ensure their readability. They were then preserved in the system for transfer, preservation and use, which is called the “Electronic Records Archives of Japan (ERAJ).” To ensure the preservation of digital records, we undertake the following processes: (a) creating metadata, (b) ensuring security, (c) integrity checks of digital files, and (d) carrying out proper backups. Long-term preservation formats for acquired records to be converted are regulated as PDF/A-1 (ISO19005-1) and JPEG 2000 (ISO/IEC15444) depending on their file format. In addition, it is specified that acquired records should be preserved in their original formats when they are unable to be converted, or need to be preserved in their original form. So far, the file formats of Microsoft Word and PDF are often seen among these acquired records.

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Future development: Unbounded • Symbiosis

Zhenxin Wu

Zhenxin Wu

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Zhenxin Wu is Professor of the Information System Department, and Deputy Director of the Digital Preservation Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences at the National Science Library in Beijing, China. She is also responsible for the technical system and data archive for NDPP (National Digital Preservation Program). 


The following blog is also available in Chinese below:

This year, the sudden epidemic has had a huge impact on the world. Out of necessity, the global situation has greatly promoted the speed of digital transformation in various organizations as well as the increase of online communication, for example, #WeMissiPRES in September was successfully held online. The National Science Library of CAS has provided several information services to support research on COVID-19, such as VPN-based online access, fast thematic information services and tracking of the latest global research progress. With the changing states of COVID-19, these changes have gradually become the norm.

It also makes us more clearly aware of the impact of this ‘black swan event.’ We realize that an approach of "unbounded symbiosis"(that is to say, living and working together without geographic boundaries) is more suitable for the global fight against the epidemic, as well as for various industries in the digital age, and of course it is especially suitable for the future development of the digital preservation community.

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2020 – an annus horribilis, but not for our collections

Serena Coates

Serena Coates

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Serena Coates is the Lead of Preservation Services at the State Library of Queensland.


 To say that 2020 has been a challenging year is somewhat of an understatement.  In Australia, the year started with horrendous bushfires over much of the nation, and then of course, COVID-19 affected the world on a scale hitherto unknown to current inhabitants of planet Earth.

These history-making events were captured on our phones, shown on our televisions, discussed on social media, and will have a lasting effect on our psyches.  As a collecting institution, State Library of Queensland has responded to these global events at the local level, by capturing the stories of 2020 and preserving them for future generations.

To date, State Library of Queensland has collected and archived over 2000 images, videos, digital stories, oral histories, ephemera, realia, and emails relating to Queensland’s experience of and response to COVID-19.  Through a mixture of donations from the public, commissioned works from documentary photographers and storytellers, and web archiving, we have captured a broad cross-section of experiences of Queenslanders during this challenging year. 

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Pivoting into a Pandemic - Doing Digital Preservation for Good

Lee-Anne Raymond

Lee-Anne Raymond

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Lee-Anne Raymond is the Senior Coordinator (DAMS) at Museums Victoria. 


The recovery rescue of valuable digital images from relative oblivion sometimes takes a pandemic lockdown to achieve. Whilst a viral outbreak of global proportion has delivered us anxious and uncertain times, it has also presented us with unique opportunity.

In late March 2020 as the Covid-19 Pandemic hit Australia’s public institutions, including Museums Victoria (MV), were transformed overnight. Only those with essential worker status were permitted access, ensuring precious collections and infrastructure were safe. MV’s essential workers variously relayed how strange it was to see the place so bereft of staff, volunteers and visitors “...the Museum is so quiet”.

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Memory Bank: Collective Isolation Project

Toni Burton & Bridie Flynn

Toni Burton & Bridie Flynn

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Toni Burton, Collection Curation & Engagement Manager & Bridie Flynn, Senior Librarian Victorian & Australian Collections, State Library Victoria. 


As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic started to unfold, it was clear that State Library Victoria needed a rapid collecting response to ensure that this event was documented and recorded.

Memory Bank: Collective Isolation Project developed as a cross department initiative to engage audiences in the act of citizen collecting. Using a series of weekly prompts, highlighted by existing collection material, people were invited to contribute their own documentary material to record their individual experiences. The prompts allowed collection and curatorial staff to guide the type of material we would like to receive and consider what might be important for future generations of researchers. A wide range of responses were received but due to the nature of the way people were living most submissions came in the form of digital content.

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Keeping the Record: Digital Preservation and Schools

Rosalind Malone

Rosalind Malone

Last updated on 5 November 2020

Ros Malone is a Counsellor for The Australian Society of Archivists. 


ros malone 1

It is important for schools in Australia not to misunderstand the central findings and recommendations of the Commonwealth of Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, handed down in December 2017.

For school archivists and recordkeepers, the key to understanding is in the title of the enquiry.

Because for many schools across Australia, it was revealed that it was their response to allegations of, and enquiries about, child sexual abuse that was their greatest failing.

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Preserving Australia’s Digital Memory of the Pandemic and beyond

Karuna Bhoday

Karuna Bhoday

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Karuna Bhoday is the Assistant Director of the Integrated Archival Management System Project at National Archives of Australia


The National Archives of Australia provides leadership in best-practice management of the official record of the Australian Government and ensures that Australian Government information of enduring significance is secured, preserved and available to government agencies, researchers and the community

The National Archives has two key roles under our Act:

  • to provide access to the Commonwealth government records which document the memory of our nation (connect Australians with their identity, history and place in the world); and

  • to advise government agencies on the creation, management, including authorised disposal, and access of information and data to ensure:

    • government is transparent and accountable;

    • evidence of the actions and decisions of the Australian Government is created; and

    • that information is kept and is accessible for as long as needed.

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Home and Away for Digital Preservation

Andrea Goethals

Andrea Goethals

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Andrea Goethals is the Manager of Digital Preservation at the National Library of New Zealand 


This post is about the adjustments our digital preservation team at the National Library of New Zealand made during and after our Covid-19 lockdown.

Before Covid-19, with a couple exceptions, most of the Preservation Research & Consultancy (PRC) team came into the Library building in Wellington to work five days a week. One of us already worked remotely full-time from Auckland, and occasionally a few people worked from home, on the order of a day every other week.

Back in early March 2020, our team had been working on our BCP (business continuity plan) as part of our routine tasks. The BCP had different scenarios to plan for, for example, losing access to our building, which called for working from home as our strategy. We decided to test out our team’s ability to work from home one day - Friday March 20. As it got closer to our test day, the news about Covid-19 started increasing around us. On March 18 the entire Library was told to work from home on March 20 as a test. We started to realize that our test day might intersect with a real call for us to start working from home. A few days beforehand we did two things that turned out to be important in hindsight.

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Digits:\> For Good

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 4 November 2020

The theme for World Digital Preservation Day (5th November if you hadn’t noticed) is Digits: For Good.

I have improvised the punctuation in my title to look like the old DOS prompt, suggesting crudely that ‘Digits’ are the configured infrastructure which makes everything (anything) possible and ‘For Good’ is the routine we execute: ‘Digits’ as the universal virtual machine: ‘For Good’ our programmatic but achievable goal.

I like the theme this year, not just because it tells me that World Digital Preservation Day is mature and ambitious enough to carry a theme greater than the simple ‘connect and communicate’ of previous years. I like it because there’s a double meaning and both of them seem fitting: digits for ‘ever’ and digits for ‘better’.

It’s no surprise that the digital preservation community is interested in the ‘forever’ bit, even if we usually pivot to something shorter than forever. Mostly we don’t mean to keep digits for ever, and mostly we wouldn’t promise it either. It is perhaps less obvious that digital preservation is also for the common good and perhaps it’s time to put that right. This year’s theme reminds me that we don’t do digital preservation for the sake of the bits and bytes: it’s not ‘good for the digits’. We do it because of real world impacts we can have with the digits that we work for. That means we dive deep into file formats and fixity and storage and such, but you’d be wrong if you thought that was also our purpose. Here we are geeking out about representation information and all the while digital preservation helps deliver healthier, wealthier, safer, smarter, greener, more creative and more transparent agencies, communities and individuals: goals which we wouldn’t be able to achieve, or perhaps even imagine, without access to a trusted and secure digital legacy. This year’s theme encourages a reflection on human aspects of digital preservation: the labour that makes it possible and the aspiration that makes it desirable.

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World Digital Preservation Day: 5th November - Expecting a spectacle

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 1 October 2020

Remember remember the 5th November...

For us here in the UK this date usually means fireworks, toffee apples and huddling round a bonfire as we mark Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night. It’s usually freezing, often raining, but a tradition many* observe anyway as it offers the chance to come together as friends and family, and ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ at an impressive spectacle whilst eating sweets and treats. 

*I know that fireworks are not favoured everyone, most espeically by our dogs of digital preservation. Please enjoy thoughtfully.

I’m not sure there will be many community bonfire-side gatherings this year given the pandemic and various lockdowns still in force, but I’m not at all worried because we have:

 

via GIPHY

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Earthrise: WDPD+1

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 8 November 2019

The Sun has now set on another World Digital Preservation Day: it’s been down for a while already and this post is really a late echo. But universal laws of motion tell me that the Sun doesn’t rise or set. It’s the Earth that rises.

2019 is, of course, the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 (and the less celebrated but altogether more joyous Apollo 12), travelling ‘in peace for all mankind’. For a moment people in every continent cheered as a man called Armstrong walked upon the moon. At one point in lunar orbit, Michael Collins could look back towards the Earth (as Dick Gordon could do a few months later) and hold in a single view the entire human family. It’s the ringside seat of all time: to spectate as our tiny planet spins through the blackness of space, sustaining the entire freight of human history.

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Finding the balance: Multidisciplinary teams in digital preservation

Sarah Mason

Sarah Mason

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Sarah Mason is Systems Archivist for Artefactual Systems Inc. and is based in the UK


World Digital Preservation Day is a great chance for the digital preservation community to celebrate achievements, to reach out to those outside and bring them into the community; it is also a chance to discuss what challenges we face and what opportunities are out there to help us move forward. So in the face of challenges that involve funding, staffing, and managerial or IT buy-in, how do we preserve the ever increasing volume and complexity of digital materials?

One way that we can face these kinds of challenges is by collaborating as part of a multidisciplinary team. Bringing together a diverse range of expertise, the team at Artefactual Systems is comprised of analysts (who represent domain specialists from archivists to librarians), developers, and systems administrators. Together, we can use of different viewpoints and specialisations to collaborate on digital preservation solutions--in different geographic locations! We understand that in this field no one person can know it all; sometimes it takes many voices to address issues in a balanced way.

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La preservación Digital en Latinoamérica

Alexander Barquero

Alexander Barquero

Last updated on 5 November 2019

Alexander Barquero es director del Archivo Nacional de Costa Rica y Coordinador del Grupo de trabajo sobre Gestión y Preservación de Documentos Electrónicos de la Asociación Latinoamericana de Archivos


[English version follows]

En un mundo globalizado, transformado por las sociedades del conocimiento e inmerso en la cuarta revolución industrial, los países de la región latinoamericana tienen un gran reto (y una gran oportunidad) para potenciar la capacidad productiva de sus habitantes y obtener el máximo provecho a la constante e imparable producción intelectual, técnica y tecnológica del mundo. Los recursos con los que cuenta cualquier administración para trabajar siempre serán limitados, y en el caso de los países latinoamericanos esto es una constante que pareciera no fenecer pronto. Ante esta realidad, los gobiernos, instituciones, empresas y ciudadanos se ven obligados a la búsqueda continua de opciones que logren aprovechar eficientemente los recursos económicos y talento humano, así como la infraestructura física y tecnológica.

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It Takes a Village… to Manage Digital Assets

Helen Hockx-Yu

Helen Hockx-Yu

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Helen Hockx-Yu is Enterprise Data Architect at the University of Notre Dame in the USA


The University of Notre Dame (UND) is a private research university located in the United States. I joined UND in 2016 as a programme manager for digital asset management. Since 2009, various initiatives have taken place to address the challenge but they have largely been specific in their scope and not broadly adopted across the University as a whole. I was expected to build on the previous work, to refocus and come up with a new plan. My web archiving and digital preservation background were thought to be relevant and helpful - the executives who entrusted me with this important work were the University Librarian and the then Chief Information Officer.

My first challenge was to understand the definition and scope of digital asset management, as the term often relates to rich media such as digital videos, animation, graphics, photographs, audio files, logos and marketing collateral. Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems emerged in the 1990s in the private sector to support digital media creation, marketing, publishing and brand management, and their customer-base mainly consists of commercial organisations.

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Perspective in Digital Preservation

Biblioteca Nacional de México

Biblioteca Nacional de México

Last updated on 11 November 2019

Alberto Castro Thompson, Ana Yuri Ramírez Molina and Lisandro Pablo Olivares work in the Innovation and Digital Strategy Coordination (CIED) team at Biblioteca Nacional de México


Lisandro 1

The National Library of Mexico (BNM) is legally empowered by a Decree of Legal Deposit of national scope since 1812[i] and last modified in 1991, being in this reform where publications in electronic formats are included for the first time.

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DOCUMENT THIS. And this. And this, too.

Amy Rudersdorf

Amy Rudersdorf

Last updated on 25 October 2019

Amy Rudersdorf is a Senior Consultant with AVP in the USA


As a consultant with AVP, I work with many different types of organizations to help them assess and optimize their digital preservation programs. I have the opportunity to really dig into the inner workings of these digital preservation environments. I've found that it is very common for institutions to have very little documentation relating to their digital preservation programs. Sure, you know what you're doing, but there are so many other reasons to create documentation!

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Stewardship with a network logic

Brian Lavoie

Brian Lavoie

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Brian Lavoie is Research Scientist for OCLC in the USA


An important class of at-risk digital materials is the myriad forms of output generated over the research lifecycle – think of data sets, computer code, online discussions, e-lab notebooks, and so on. Growing recognition of the value of these materials to the scholarly record has led to many efforts to collect and preserve them over the long term. But mitigating risks associated with preserving digital research outputs means setting up stewardship arrangements that are well-adapted to the evolving nature of today’s scholarly record. For that, we need stewardship with a network logic, or conscious coordination.

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What if online services had a time dimension?

Euan Cochrane

Euan Cochrane

Last updated on 5 November 2019

Euan Cochrane is Digital Preservation Manager at Yale University Library


Online web services are used by billions of people every day. They impact our lives and society in a myriad of ways. The way they present data to us and the ways they manipulate and transform the data we store in them have the potential to change behaviour and our understanding of the world. And this is all being done at a scale unimaginable in previous history.  These services have changed greatly over time. Many of those changes are not publicly documented or even known to the general public. I’ve outlined a few of those we do know of below:

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Preserving and Integrating Community Knowledge of Computing Systems

Ethan Gates

Ethan Gates

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Ethan Gates is Software Preservation Analyst, Digital Preservation Services at Yale University Library in the USA


The efforts of the EaaSI (Emulation-as-a-Service Infrastructure) project and the Software Preservation Network to preserve the software and computing environments around digital objects have revealed that a parallel effort needs to be made to preserve the expertise and knowledge necessary to use and interact with such environments. Scanning software manuals and printed guidebooks, photographing boxes and physical media, archiving the web sites of developers, enthusiasts and community forums - all of these are necessary activities, largely happening on an ad hoc basis in the digital preservation community if at all. Dedicated, collaborative initiatives on this front are essential to make sure future users are able to interact with authentic digital objects in context.

One of the student workers we employ in the EaaSI program once came to me with a troubleshooting problem. This is not unusual - our diligent student team is tasked with cataloging and attempting to install a vast range of legacy software applications, and between quirks in the applications, quirks in the necessary operating systems, quirks in the emulators running them and quirks in Yale’s beta installation of the EaaSI platform, any number of questions can come up. The student was having trouble with an application running in MacOS 7.5: the menu bar at the top of the screen seemed to be glitching, constantly closing before they could access the settings and preference menus that are often our best source of information about a given piece of software (language configuration, file format capabilities, etc.)

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Inspiring Confidence: Securing ARCW Security

Sally McInnes

Sally McInnes

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Sally McInnes is Chair of the ARCW Digital Preservation Group and Head of Unique Collections and Collections Care at the National Library of Wales


It has been two years since the Archives and Records Council launched its National Digital Preservation Policy on International Digital Preservation Day, 2017.  Since then, ARCW has made considerable progress in supporting the policy, the aims of which are to:

  • To ensure digital resources of enduring value are selected for preservation and remain authentic and accessible in the future.
  • To provide a framework for the development of digital preservation strategies that can be adapted for use by organisations throughout Wales, irrespective of their size and capacity.
  • To raise awareness of the importance of effective Digital Preservation among archive institutions and practitioners, managers, information technology staff and stakeholders / decision makers.
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Taming the Pre-Ingest Processing Monster

Sheila Morrissey

Sheila Morrissey

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Sheila Morrissey is Senior Researcher at Portico, based in New York


We hear again and again that, first, one of the biggest threats to ensuring long-term access to our digital heritage is the cost of preservation, and, second, that one of the critical cost drivers is the set of activities associated with selection, acquisition, and other pre-ingest processing (such as quality assurance of acquired artifacts). 

As the amount of content in preservation archives grows at geometric rates, and as the artifacts in ever-increasing input streams continues to evolve, sometimes unpredictably, into varying new complex forms, how do we scale what might be called “pre-ingest” activities without scaling up our costs at the same rate?

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Charting the Landscape: A digital content review for effective long-term preservation planning

Daniele Balduzzi and Shiri Alon

Daniele Balduzzi and Shiri Alon

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Daniele Balduzzi is IT Officer/Archivist and Shiri Alon is Archivist at World Bank Group Archives


A year ago, our colleagues Jeanne Kramer-Smyth and April Miller published a post about the people and process investments required for the Archives of the World Bank Group (WBG) to fully handle both analog and born-digital records. In this post we will discuss how we are defining the digital landscape of the WBG in order to shape and refine our long-term digital preservation strategy.

Planning for long-term preservation of digital content is a challenging task, often resulting in more unanswered questions than definitive decisions. It’s a complex effort, but also an iterative process with a staggered implementation: setting a course for a distant future in a dynamic present requires a solid sturdy boat, a clear map to refer to, and the agility to navigate in uncharted waters.

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The Pre-Digital Preservation Black Hole

Eng Sengsavang

Eng Sengsavang

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Eng Sengsavang is Reference Archivist for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France


Eng 1

Credit: George Chernilevsky: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Floppy_disk_2009_G1.jpg#/media/File:Floppy_disk_2009_G1.jpg

My experience of technology is inevitably historical: as a child of the 80s, an adolescent of the 90s, and an adult into the 2000s, I experienced first-hand the paradigm shift from analogue to digital technologies, alongside the continual accrual of different eras of technology co-existing simultaneously. Of course, not only mine, but every person’s experience of technology is necessarily historical: throughout our lives, we experience on a deeply personal and at the same time macro level the mutations of technologies that seem to gather speed over time, new technologies continually appearing and old ones disappearing or threatening to disappear, and being replaced or persisting in ways both predictable and unexpected.

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On a Transparent Process for Digital Preservation

Leslie Johnston

Leslie Johnston

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Leslie Johnston is Director of Digital Preservation at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington DC, USA


The Strategic Plan for the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration outlines a vision to ensure ongoing access to government information. Digital preservation is crucial for this work, as evidenced by the June 2019 direction (M-19-21, Transition to Electronic Records) to Federal agencies to transition to a fully electronic government and to end the National Archives’ acceptance of analog records after December 31, 2022.

The Strategic Plan also embraces an Open NARA, one that is both transparent about its operations and participates in an open community where it can learn from the insights of other organizations. As part of achieving that goal, NARA has released its Digital Preservation Framework for public comment. The release of this framework will allow NARA staff, federal agencies, the public, and our colleagues in the archival and preservation communities to weigh in and assist us in creating the standard for digital preservation in the U.S. Federal government. We want to ensure that both our process for identifying and mitigating risk in the electronic records that we preserve and make accessible and the decisions that we have made are as transparent as possible.

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Teaching a Young Dog Old Tricks: Emulation Research at the National Library of Scotland

Sara Day Thomson

Sara Day Thomson

Last updated on 8 November 2019

Sara Day Thomson is Research Officer at the DPC |  Graham Purnell is Digital Preservation Assistant at the National Library of Scotland


1: Getting Our Feet Wet in Emulation

World Digital Preservation Day celebrates all the inspiring work being done in digital preservation around the world. It celebrates innovative tools and techniques, effective advocacy and awareness-raising, and collaboration among fellow practitioners. This summer, I got to experience all of those things at the National Library of Scotland (NLS) as part of a digital preservation skills upgrade.

It all started when Lee and Graham - the digital preservation team at NLS - agreed to let me help them with some speculative research into emulation for digital preservation and access. I learned a lot about emulation as a technology but also about the real-life, facepalming frustrations of trying to coax 20-odd year old software to work properly on a legacy OS built in VirtualBox.

While the research was limited to a few test cases just to get our feet wet, I came away with a much deeper understanding of the opportunities and limitations introduced by emulation as a digital preservation strategy for heritage institutions. With patience and good humour, Graham taught this young dog some old tricks.

But before I get to the juicy bits, I thought I’d paint the scene a little with a few basics about emulation for those readers who, like I did, need a refresher.

If you’re all up to date on emulation as a digital preservation strategy, feel free to skip to section 3: It works! Wait, is it working?.

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Estamos perdiendo la credibilidad

Hernán Cabrera Pichuante

Hernán Cabrera Pichuante

Last updated on 5 November 2019

Hernán Cabrera Pichuante es Jefe de Proyectos Técnicos del Proyecto de Modernización de Archivos Nacionales de Chile (National Archives of Chile)


[English version follows]

Estamos llenos de información almacenada y muchos de mis conocidos en el área de TI insisten en que la copia no solo es segura, sino que, prácticamente eterna.

Es frecuente ver como las políticas de respaldo de los activos tecnológicos llenan bodegas con cintas magnéticas creadas en modernos sistemas automáticos de respaldo.

Es frecuente ver como una y otra vez, al querer recuperar algo la respuesta es: ¿te acuerdas de más o menos de que fecha es lo que me pides?

Es más frecuente aún, que luego de un par de días de búsqueda, la cinta se encuentre y lo que sigue es que estas, por lo general, contienen más de una versión del mismo documento y nos preguntamos …y ¿cuál de todos estos documentos es el que busco?

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La Red Iberoamericana de Preservación Digital de Archivos Sonoros y Audiovisuales (RIPDASA) frente al riesgo de pérdida de los archivos sonoros y audiovisuales

Perla Olivia Rodríguez Reséndiz

Perla Olivia Rodríguez Reséndiz

Last updated on 5 November 2019

Perla Olivia Rodríguez Reséndiz es Coordinadora de Red Iberoamericana de Preservación Digital de Archivos Sonoros y Audiovisuales (RIPDASA) e investigadora de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).


[English version follows]

Perla 1

En el Día Mundial de la Preservación Digital es necesario recordar  que subiste el riesgo de pérdida, tanto de las grabaciones sonoras y audiovisuales registradas en soportes analógicos como de las que fueron creadas de origen digital. Este es un peligro latente y un problema social contemporáneo que afecta a todos los archivos. No obstante, son especialmente sensibles a esta pérdida los países que hasta ahora no han puesto en marcha políticas y estrategias de preservación digital sustentable.

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Preservación digital: la comunidad profesional como base para su desarrollo

Gabriela Andaur Gómez

Gabriela Andaur Gómez

Last updated on 5 November 2019

Gabriela Andaur Gómez es Profesora Asistente, Facultad de Economía y Negocios, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Consejera, Comité Memoria del Mundo – Chile (UNESCO) y Archivera, Proyecto de Modernización, Archivo Nacional de Chile


[English version follows]

Desde hace algunos años hemos visto como dentro de la comunidad profesional latinoamericana ha comenzado a instalarse la preocupación sobre la preservación digital. Este discurso ha comenzado a permear, aunque lentamente, en las instituciones archivísticas locales y las comunidades vinculadas al patrimonio documental. No obstante, falta mucho para generar conciencia sobre la fragilidad de los documentos en el entorno digital, de tal manera de pasar desde la comprensión del problema al avance en su solución.

Uno de los mayores problemas que enfrentamos es la parálisis. Estamos aprendiendo que la preservación digital es una tarea gigantesca y sin fin, que requiere recursos constantes (y superiores a los que solemos tener), la aplicación de estándares técnicos diversos a los que no siempre tenemos acceso, además de competencias distintas a las que hemos estado adquiriendo en nuestros programas de formación archivística.  ¿Cómo preservaremos nuestros documentos electrónicos si no tenemos claro cómo ni dónde empezar? ¿dónde obtendremos los recursos necesarios? ¿cómo nos capacitaremos? La problemática es tan compleja que el miedo y la parálisis son las primeras reacciones, y acabamos por no hacer nada al respecto.

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If you can’t start big, start small

Millard Schisler

Millard Schisler

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Millard Schisler is Adjunct Faculty for the Online Master’s in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He lives and works with Digital Preservation in Brazil


Millard 1

I have always liked the image of the three-dimensional sculpture figures created by artist Stephen Hansen as a way to illustrate the “trickle-down economics” of the Reagan era – it is pretty much self-explanatory as to the “distribution” of wealth.  This image also comes to my mind when I think of the international and national organizations that brand the need for digital preservation in their meetings and conferences and create manifestos and guidelines to steer us all. I am grateful for this work, and am not against these efforts and strategies, but many times these ideas seem to take a long time to trickle down to the bottom where everyday life is, much like this image.

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How to sell an archive

Alistair Goodall

Alistair Goodall

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Alistair Goodall is Head of IT for Crossrail Ltd in the UK


Last year we were the proud winners of a Digital Preservation Award for our Crossrail archive and I was lucky enough to experience the passion and enthusiasm for digital preservation at the awards ceremony.

Since then we have successfully closed down some of the applications associated with the early stages of our 10 year project (such as land acquisition and property access requests) and these are now available through our Crossrail archive.  The Crossrail project itself has, however, been delayed beyond December 2018 and we are in our most information intensive stage with testing, commissioning and certification underway.

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Sharing format preservation information and how this will benefit us all

Jon Tilbury

Jon Tilbury

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Jon Tilbury is CTO of Preservica, and is based in the UK


World Digital Preservation Day is all about the global community coming together to share ideas and collaborate. So how can we all work more closely on sharing format preservation information and what is the value of doing this?

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Augmenting the community, lowering the risk internationally

Antonio Guillermo Martínez Largo

Antonio Guillermo Martínez Largo

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Antonio G. Martinez is CEO & Founder of LIBNOVA and is based in Madrid, Spain


Last year in our guest blog post for the DPC we wrote about “Do you D.P.?” and we commented that there is no “DP yes or no, but, up to what level of DP can you go?”. This year the theme for World Digital Preservation Day is ‘At-Risk Digital Materials´.

As we mentioned last year, it was the less D.P. intense communities that were picking up the tune of the more energetic entities, at many levels. Over the last few years we have been sensing that the ‘At-Risk Digital Materials’ menace is being taken very seriously indeed by big and small cultural heritage institutions across the globe and that those international entities are picking up speed by their own accord. Many of these international entities are turning to other older and established associations to contrast their fears concerning digital preservation. They realise they are not alone on many issues; it is quite an international concern. And this takes me to another point.

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Deep Enough For Sharks

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Sean Barker is an Information Management Specialist 


I have an embarrassing admission to make. For years, part of me worked on the LOTAR project (1) developing preservation standards for Product Data Management (PDM), while another part was making those standards obsolete by creating an Integrated Design Environment. And I didn't connect the two parts together.

The first thing I should do is not explain PDM - it's too complex for a short blog and people shouldn't worry about it unless their project gets bigger than a team-of-teams (about eighty people). Think of PDM as provenance on steroids, where even a simple sign-off is backed up by a ten-volume procedures manual and where the people who sign the approvals must be approved to do so by an approved organization.

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From ‘starting digital preservation’ to ‘business as usual’

Anna McNally

Anna McNally

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Anna McNally is Senior Archivist at University of Westminster in the UK


The University of Westminster’s Records and Archives team manage the institutional records of the University (founded in 1838), alongside the deposited records of several architects and town planners, and a garment collection (the Westminster Menswear Archive). We started actively managing digital records in 2016 but, in a relatively fast-paced area (compared with paper records!), it’s hard not to always think of yourself as a beginner. In 2017 we recorded a webinar titled ‘Work In Progress’, which - despite having been in production for nearly 3 years now - is still how I would describe our digital preservation activities. While our software solution gives us confidence that we are meeting our targets with the NDSA levels, we’re aware that there is a lot more we could be doing.

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What can our memory institutions teach us about fake news?

Dave Tarrant

Dave Tarrant

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Dr David Tarrant is the senior learning advisor at the Open Data Institute (ODI). 


I would first like to thank the work of the BBC for the research behind this article that was broadcast in “Ian Hislop’s Fake News: A True History”. I have added to the story with details not included in the programme and checked these using a combination of sources. 

So what can our memory institutions teach us about fake news?

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It’s just not always a clear cut: Digital, analog and everything in between.

Brecht DeClercq

Brecht DeClercq

Last updated on 6 November 2019

Brecht Declercq is Digitisation and Acquisition Manager for VIAA in Belgium


At first glance, there is a strict distinction between carriers of analogue and digital audiovisual information. But in practice, this distinction is not always clear. There are even carriers of audiovisual information that can hardly be catalogued under one of those two names. The word ‘digitisation’ is therefore not always used correctly. Moreover, there is an important difference between digital information, file-based information, and information stored on mass storage systems. By taking a closer look at the history of digital information storage, it becomes clear that the world has not made the switch overnight. There are decisive inventions, but more often even very long-term evolutions. Both inventions and evolutions, of which the importance is almost forgotten, even prove to be essential for understanding where we have arrived today, and how we can preserve any audiovisual information.

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I’m Gonna Preserve (500 Files)

Sharon McMeekin

Sharon McMeekin

Last updated on 7 November 2019

I don’t think anyone could disagree that the highlight of last year’s World Digital Preservation Day was the State Library of Queensland’s outstanding parody song “All the Corrupt Files”. There was singing! There was dancing! There were costumes! There was high production value! There was even an awards ceremony!

And this year they’ve knocked it out of the park again as Preservana and “Smells Like Digital Preservation”. The University of Melbourne has also joined the party with the wonderful piece of story telling that is “Bits and Bytes”, which introduces two new characters that are quickly gaining a legion of fans. And to keep the music themed fun going there’s also a digital preservation themed playlist by the folks at the Netherland’s Institute for Sound and Vision.

Here at the DPC we couldn’t be left out of the fun, but what could we do? What classic song could we reinterpret? And how could we make it just that wee bit Scottish? Suddenly the answer was clear, there really was only one choice….

So please enjoy our entry into the digital preservation song contest (sadly due to time it’s minus the creative production of those above!)

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BitList 2019: The Global List of Digitally Endangered Species

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 4 November 2020

The BitList 2019 is the first complete revision of the list since initial publication in 2017. 

Whereas The BitList was experimental in 2017 and 2018, the 2019 edition is considerably more robust in content and process. In part this is because it has established a small but definite following. The DPC has been asked to report and expand our 2017 recommendations in multiple contexts, and professionals in agencies around the world have reported their own use of The BitList to support advocacy and target resources to greater effect. That constitutes a success in relation to what we hoped to achieve in 2017, so in this edition we move from hopeful experiment to practical and continuing contribution back to the digital preservation community which have shaped and used it. 

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One Size Fits All?

Eld Zierau, Jette Junge, Claus Jensen and Lars Lundegård Olsen form the specialist group for digital preservation at the Royal Danish Library


There is a growing tendency in libraries and archives to strive for standard solutions, and a conception that all digital preservation challenges can be solved by one product. Our claim is that trying to achieve this constitutes one of the biggest risks for all types of materials.

The merger of two national libraries with the same goals and under the same jurisdiction has revealed how much the devil is in the detail and how the thought of “One Size Fits All” is indeed questionable within digital preservation as for many other areas. As it turned out to be so hard on a national level, it is surely much harder at an international level where there are legal and cultural differences.

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Assessing where we are with Digital Preservation

Fabiana Barticioti

Fabiana Barticioti

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Fabiana Barticioti is Digital Assets Manager at LSE Library


The DPC launched their Rapid Assessment Model (RAM) to members in September. To keep the momentum going I completed the assessment, in consultation with other colleagues, and submitted it to DPC immediately. I strongly recommend all membership to do it and help DPC to benchmark the DP community efforts.

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For you, for me, for everyone? - The risk of discrimination in digital preservation practice

Michelle Lindlar

Michelle Lindlar

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Michelle Lindlar is Digital Preservation Team Leader at Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) in Germany


DISCLAIMER: This post is an opinion piece and by no means perfect. So, grab a hot chocolate with your WDPD slice of cake and enjoy the ride.

One of the most discussed things at iPRES2019 this year was probably Michelle Caswell’s keynote Whose Digital Preservation? Locating Our Standpoints to Reallocate Resources. As there are many people who are much smarter than I am and know much more about feminist and archival theory, this blog isn’t about the keynote. I also know little about archival appraisal – a main focus of Caswell’s talk. Instead, this is more of a personal train-of-thought / opinion-piece sparked by questions I asked myself after the keynote: “Do we discriminate in digital preservation practice? How? Why? How can we be aware of this and move towards a more social / ethical digital preservation practice?”

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PREMIS News & Highlights for 2019

Karin Bredenberg

Karin Bredenberg

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Karin Bredenberg is Chair of the PREMIS Editorial Committee. She works for Kommunalförbundet Sydarkivera/The Municipality Organisation Sydarkivera in Sweden.


2019 has been a very productive year for the PREMIS Editorial Committee!

We’ve welcomed several new members to the EC this year and have made significant progress in various areas.

The release a year ago of the PREMIS 3.0 OWL Ontology led the EC into discussions regarding the relationship between the ontology and the PREMIS Data Dictionary and other discussions regarding Rights. A Rights working group is currently preparing a short paper relating to recent developments in this area.

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You'll miss it when it's gone...

Rachel MacGregor

Rachel MacGregor

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Rachel 1

Three and a half inch floppy disk

When I first started out swimming in the deep waters of digital preservation and trying to understand what the risks were I lived with the fear that format obsolescence was our number one enemy and that we would need to spend all our time migrating content and upgrading and or else we would never be able to open those old Word Perfect files.  However even then there were wise words from the likes of David Rosenthal who as long ago as 2007 and he predicted not a cliff edge crash of format types that would remain beyond our reach but a slow drift which (hopefully) with increasingly sophisticated emulation (and migration) techniques we can keep abreast of.  My first steps in dealing with some of our legacy digital collections (all the way back from the 1990s) were imaging and capturing the contents of the floppy disks belonging to the distinguished historian Eric Hobsbawm which I wrote a bit about here.

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Influence of Blockchain Technology on Protecting Trustworthiness of Electronic Records

Özhan Saglik

Özhan Saglik

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Özhan Saglik is Lecturer at Bursa Uludag University in Turkey


Blockchain is one of the latest discussed technologic issues in records management. Questions like 'does blockchain shift our practices radically?' and 'how does it affects the trustworthiness of e-records?' have emerged. We will discuss some points in terms of trustworthiness.

We analyse the trustworthiness of e-records in four stages. These are authenticity, realibility, accuracy and usability. Usability refers to the accessibility and readability by a user. Accuracy is the completeness of the records form elements and reliable records can get by the more and solid records management procedures. We define authenticity as preserving the attributes of records. It has two components: Identity and integrity. Identity is differentiating the records from others, and integrity refers to the non-alteration of the records’ message intentionally or unintentionally (International Research on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems [INTERPARES], 2008).

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Creating SIPs without Breaking a Sweat: The Pre-ingest Tool and File Scraper

Heikki Helin

Heikki Helin

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Heikki Helin is Senior Technology Coordinator for Digital Preservation Services at CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd in Espoo, Finland


The Finnish national digital preservation service, based on the OAIS reference model, has been in production since 2015. Providing services for preserving the cultural heritage and research data sectors, it is a service funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland. Currently, we have more than 1.3 million Archival Information Packages (AIPs) in preservation amounting to more than 450 terabytes. We have defined common national preservation specifications, which describe in detail how digital assets must be prepared before ingesting them to the preservation service. This includes detailed requirements for metadata and file formats.

Detailed requirements on both file formats and metadata are necessary for a fully automated ingest process. However, preparing and ingesting digital assets in an appropriate format according to the requirements can be a demanding task, especially in cases in which the producer is not familiar with the various preservation standards and metadata formats. This process requires both know-how and can be very time-consuming. It is therefore a very costly process, highlighted in those organizations with insufficiently competent IT staff. The growing demand for making this process easier for our partner organizations is the reason we have developed tools to decrease the burden of creating valid submission information packages from scratch. We introduce two main tools in this blog post.

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Approaching digital preservation at scale - a pilot programme at University of Cape Town Libraries

Niklas Zimmer

Niklas Zimmer

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Niklas Zimmer is Manager of Digital Library Services at University of Cape Town Libraries in South Africa


In this brief overview, I hope to share with you some of our experiences, activities and challenges around digital preservation at the University of Cape Town, at the southern tip of Africa. Presently, expertise in digital preservation is growing only slowly in South Africa: relevant training opportunities remain rare because many institutions have yet to recognise the fundamental issues, and get started with sustainably resourcing solutions. While some of our needs may be about driving appropriately funded and structured projects forward, even more important to our capacity-building efforts will be to convene a local digital preservation community of practise that is vitally connected to global exchange of ways of knowing and describing the world.

In September this year, I was asked to speak about digital preservation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Special Collections Preservation Conservation Conference entitled ‘Disaster Prevention Preparedness, Response & Recovery of Collective Collections and E-collections,’ and while the slides from this talk are publicly accessible (see: https://doi.org/10.25375/uct.8982452), I thought it useful to also provide a brief narrative in the form of this blog post, to share more widely what digital preservation activities we are busy with at Digital Library Services in securing the University of Cape Town’s digital legacy.

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Sharing is caring: tell someone new about digital preservation today!

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Rise and shine digital preservationists of the western hemisphere! It’s World Digital Preservation Day, and all is well! There are things to see and do and celebrate – and people to tell about the wonders of digital preservation!

via GIPHY

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At-Risk Material in UCT Libraries’ Special Collections

Andrea Walker

Andrea Walker

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Andrea Walker works in Special Collections at the University of Cape Town Libraries, South Africa


At-Risk Material in UCT Libraries’ Special Collections

This year, the first that UCT Libraries is participating, the theme for World Digital Preservation Day is At-Risk Digital Materials. It’s as if it was tailor-made for us. Even though I work in the historic, beautifully restored Jagger Library, I spend most of my time these days down in the basement, 2 or 3 stories underground (it’s hard to measure that when you’re on the side of a mountain). Right at the bottom is our AV archive. I’m currently undertaking an audit, to determine not only what’s there, but also what the exact format is, and when the material was recorded, among other things. Why? Because these materials only have a limited lifespan. Some of them were kept in less than ideal conditions before being deposited with us, and it shows. Most of them are in formats that are no longer easily accessible.

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The UNESCO/DPC Executive Guide on Digital Preservation

Rob Buckley

Rob Buckley

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Robert Buckley is the Chair of the PERSIST Policy Working Group and a Technical Adviser at the National Archives of the UAE.


UNESCO and the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) have collaborated to produce the Executive Guide on Digital Preservation, an online resource for raising awareness of the importance of digital preservation in archives, libraries and commercial enterprises—any organization that has digital assets to preserve and access. While many of us are often immersed in the technical aspects of digital preservation—in my case color image digitization and compression, it is generally realized that a successful and sustainable implementation of digital preservation requires support and commitment across an institution and beyond in the prevailing political, legislative and fiscal environment.

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When digital preservation is turned into a municipality organisation

Karin Bredenberg

Karin Bredenberg

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Karin Bredenberg is Metadata Strategist at Sydarkivera in Sweden


In 2015 the municipality organisation Sydarkivera was founded in southern Sweden with the goal of supporting members with digital preservation. Since then, with the growing number of members, the goal has also come to include analogue archiving. Today the number of members is 27 and in two years’ time an additional 10 will have joined Sydarkivera.

Sydarkivera originated from the need for municipalities to archive their digital information, as in Sweden, municipalities are required by law to have their own archives and act as their own archival institution. Digital information has been around for a long time so the arrival of the need for archiving digital material made the municipalities see the need to join forces and share their competences. In Sweden, municipalities can join in a municipality organisation which in turn functions like its own municipality. I know it’s not easy to really explain briefly but we are working together and have a shared archival organisation! What started in southern Sweden is quickly growing north towards central Sweden… There’s a wide interest in joining the organisation and becoming a Sydarkivera member!

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A Reflection: Outreach about digital preservation

Matthew Yang Jiefeng

Matthew Yang Jiefeng

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Matthew Yang Jiefeng is Archive Officer at the Asian Film Archive in Singapore 


The Asian Film Archive (AFA) reflects on its recent engagement with film students during an outreach session. The interaction with the students revealed that complacency is a major plague amongst content producers, posing a risk to the films that are under their care. Furthermore, many of them have misconceptions of digital data and how to care for them. This blog post shares some of the underlying assumptions AFA encountered during its interactions with the film community and its plans to address these challenges.

As we celebrate World Digital Preservation Day with colleagues around the world, we at the Asian Film Archive (AFA) are  reflecting on a recent engagement with a group of film students in a film school in Singapore. We were speaking to them as part of the AFA’s engagement with the filmmaking community on preserving and caring for their works, to encourage good practices and to create awareness on common misconceptions about preservation practices.

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People Get Ready - The WDPD Edition

Sharon McMeekin

Sharon McMeekin

Last updated on 4 November 2019

At iPRES this year I presented a (rapid fire!) paper sharing my thoughts on the current state of digital preservation workforce development. The headlines were:

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Working together to reduce digital information at risk

Zhenxin Wu

Zhenxin Wu

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Zhenxin Wu is Professor of the Information System Department, and Deputy Director of the Digital Preservation Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences at the National Science Library in Beijing, China. She is also responsible for the technical system and data archive for NDPP (National Digital Preservation Program).


[Chinese version follows]

---From CCDP2019 to WDPD2019 and iPRES2020

Thanks to the invitation from DPC, I have an opportunity to be involved in World Digital Preservation Day again and also to introduce China's progress in digital preservation.

After being busy with Chinese Conference on Digital Preservation 2019 (CCDP, http://dipres2019.csp.escience.cn/dct/page/1 ), I start writing this blog for WDPD2019. Just like DPC's World Digital Preservation Day has become an international event, the CCDP series of conferences have also became the most important event for Chinese archivers. The surprises and exhaustion brought by CCDP2019 have not disappeared, and my mind is still full with  CCDP2019.

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Bits and Bytes: The Video

Jaye Weatherburn

Jaye Weatherburn

Last updated on 6 November 2019

Jaye Weatherburn is Program Manager, Digital Preservation at The University of Melbourne in Australia


This year for World Digital Preservation Day, several passionate souls at the University of Melbourne, in collaboration with friends from the Australasia Preserves community of practice, have produced a video to celebrate all things digital preservation.

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Digital preservation & digital asset management in the real world no mere matter of magic

Lee-Anne Raymond

Lee-Anne Raymond

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Lee-Anne Raymond is Senior Coordinator, MV Images (DAMS) at Museums Victoria in Melbourne, Australia


When Mary Poppins measures herself using her magical tape measure it reads, “Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.” (Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers, 1934)

In the real world realm of Digital Preservation we can strive but will struggle to approximate such perfection without the assistance of the right software and engineering principles, as an intervening Poppins, in order to underwrite the magic. To perform digital preservation actions at scale competently and efficiently and in a repeatable way with trusted results, practically perfect, we need systems as well as systematic approaches. As laudable as our efforts are to do so using manual techniques underpinned by strict rules based standards, they do not and will not meet the challenge that the digital realm presents us.

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You put WHAT in the repository??? State Library of Queensland’s project to audit the repository for obsolete physical carriers

Serena Coates

Serena Coates

Last updated on 6 November 2019

Serena Coates is Digital Preservation Coordinator at State Library of Queensland in Australia


At State Library of Queensland (like at many other institutions around the world) when we started acquiring digital content on floppy discs, CDs, and DVDs, we didn’t know what to do with them.  So, what was the wisdom of the day?  “Put it in a box, and store it in the repository until there is a time when we work out what to do with it.”  For State Library, that time is now!

With an increasing maturity of skills and knowledge in the area of digital preservation, and the imminent implementation of a digital preservation system (Rosetta), in 2016 we felt we were ready to tackle the issue of obsolete carriers that had been squirrelled away in our repositories for anywhere up to 30 years.  And so, we embarked on an audit of physical carriers in our repositories.

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A Couple of Views from New Zealand

Andrea Goethals

Andrea Goethals

Last updated on 25 October 2019

Andrea Goethals is Digital Preservation Manager | Kaiwhakahaere Matapopore Matihiko, at the National Library of New Zealand | Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa


At the National Library of New Zealand, quite a few of us play a role in preserving the nation’s digital heritage. If you were to ask each of us what digital materials are most at risk in New Zealand you would hear a variety of different opinions, depending on where we sit in the Library. Among other things you would hear about at-risk audio-visual collections on obsolete physical media, born-digital archival and special collections material across New Zealand, and social media. It’s true that these are very real challenges, but we are chipping away at many of them through a variety of initiatives at the Library and in collaboration with others. 

So what challenges are we finding especially hard to address? In this post, Steve Knight and I describe some of the key challenges we face. 

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Is it World Digital Preservation Day Yet?

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 6 November 2019

Is it World Digital Preservation Day yet?  Yes it is!  Here are some ways you can tell:

  • Has the sun come up over the National Library of New Zealand on the first Thursday in November? 

  • Is this the first post of a digital preservation themed blog-a-thon on the DPC website?

  • Will there be a new edition of the BitList of Digitally Endangered Species before the end of the day? 

  • Are there an abundance of stickers in more than a dozen languages, and versions of the swooshie logo available to download in even more?

  • Will there be lectures and seminars and workshops and webinars about digital preservation in dozens of countries and perhaps hundreds of venues? 

  • Will there be digital preservation themed cake to share, and biscuits and baking?

  • Will there be singing and videos to match? 

  • Will the fun continue till midnight somewhere out over the Pacific Ocean in about 36 hours from now?

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The World Digital Preservation Day effect

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 3 October 2019

World Digital Preservation Day is just around the corner. November 7th is just 5 weeks away which means, for me, the countdown has really begun!

We’ve chosen a theme - ‘At-risk Digital Materials’ - to tie in with the new edition of the BitList of 'Digitally Endangered Species' we’re publishing on the day and work on that is underway in earnest, we’ve updated logos, added MORE logos in different languages, created event packs and stickers, posted them to all corners of the globe, invited a whole bunch of interesting bloggers to write for us on the day…so now it’s getting exciting!

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How does it feel? The psychology of digital preservation

Charles Miller

Charles Miller

Last updated on 12 December 2018

Charles Miller is a former BBC documentary producer, currently working for a tech startup in London and studying for a Masters in History. Anchoring will be his second book.


In all discussions about digital preservation, there’s an impossible question to answer: how much should I keep? While institutions are limited by budgets and staff time, for individuals, it’s more personal. Decisions about deleting, and the very process of organising and preserving, bring out complicated emotions about family, nostalgia and sometimes grief.

It’s one of the issues I’m looking at in a book I’m writing about how the digital world has changed ideas about what we want to hang on to and how we can best do it.

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Afterclap: WDPD for everyone, for ever

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 30 November 2018

Afterclap (n) – the last person who claps after everyone else has stopped.

It’s Friday, so it must be Schiphol Airport Amsterdam. Here’s me at the departure gate for the flight home after a day that has lasted almost 48 hours and has crammed in a year’s worth of digital preservation news. 

An airport lounge seems an appropriate place to reflect on World Digital Preservation Day.  It’s practically home: my work involves so many airport lounges that, rather being an honorary lecturer at Glasgow University, I should really be an honorary air-traffic controller at Glasgow Airport.  Schipol offers so many connections: in every one of them an emergent digital preservation need is arising, and in many an incipient digital preservation community is forming.  There’s also a lot of time dependencies at airports too, a lot of verification of identities and checking of manifests: a lot of strong metaphors for our daily work.  These challenge us to connect but remind us that if we hang about too long then our digital preservation work is going to become a lot harder and a lot more expensive.  As with aeroplanes, if you want digital preservation to be difficult and costly just ignore the repeated calls to get on board.

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Current State of Digital Preservation at Library and Archives Canada

Faye Lemay

Faye Lemay

Last updated on 4 January 2019

Faye Lemay is Digital Preservation Manager at Library and Archives Canada


This is part 3 of a 4-part series on Digital Preservation at Library and Archives Canada. Part 1 addressed “Building the Momentum for Change” and Part 2 talked about “Learning from our past”.


Although our recent efforts have been focussed on program development, the DP team has also sought to stabilize and grow its digital preservation infrastructure: specifically the LAC Digital Archive, which serves as the repository of preservation masters.

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Thinking Creatively to Understand Complexity: A Workshop for the UK Legal Deposit Libraries’ Emerging Formats Project

Caylin Smith

Caylin Smith

Last updated on 28 November 2018

Caylin Smith is the Legal Deposit Libraries Senior Project Manager for the British Library


Earlier this month, the British Library hosted a workshop for the Legal Deposit Libraries’ Emerging Formats project. The purpose of the workshop was to engage stakeholders and look at some new approaches to address challenges the project has identified.

In this post, Caylin Smith, project manager for the Legal Deposit Libraries and a researcher on the Emerging Formats project, outlines the importance of Non-Print Legal Deposit in the UK, provides background information on the Emerging Formats project and in-scope content, as well as introduces the workshop.

Sara Day Thomson of the DPC then describes her experience of the workshop and how the Emerging Formats project reflects broader trends in digital preservation.

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Against Entropy:  An Update

Sheila Morrissey

Sheila Morrissey

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Sheila Morrissey is Senior Researcher at Ithaka S+R, based in New York


If there’s one thing digital preservationists understand, it’s the importance of continual investment in infrastructure.  That includes our own technical infrastructure – the systems we rely on to collect and manage and deliver digital objects over the very long term.

On the first World Digital Preservation Day, we were just at the mid-point of a two-year project to rebuild Portico’s technical preservation infrastructure, pretty much from the ground up.  At the end of September of this year, we closed out our “NextGen” project as scheduled. 

As we noted in last year’s WDPD day of blogging, a big motivation for our “gut rehab” project was the need to grapple with issues of scale – with geometric growth across pretty nearly every measure of content streaming into the Portico archive:

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Sustaining your own Digital Preservation Efforts

Nancy McGovern

Nancy McGovern

Last updated on 26 November 2018

Nancy McGovern is Director of Digital Preservation at MIT Libraries


I love what I do! My role combines research, instruction, and practice and has since I started at Cornell as the Digital Preservation Officer in 2006 - that means by design I never have to stop doing what I am doing to work on what I want to do, which is amazing.

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Recap of Born to Be 3D Forum Hosted by the Library of Congress

Kate Murray and Jesse Johnston

Kate Murray and Jesse Johnston

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Kate Murray and Jesse Johnston are B2B3D Program Coordinators and work at the Library of Congress in Wasghington DC, USA


On November 2, 2018, the Library of Congress hosted Born to Be 3D: Digital Stewardship of Intrinsic 3D Data (#B2B3D), a small group forum to discuss stewardship of born digital 3D data. Born-digital 3D content is an emerging research and technology area. Digital preservation approaches and stewardship requirements for this content are not yet mainstream, but the impact and influence of this content is undeniable. In its role as a convener, the Library’s goal for sponsoring B2B3D is to support and amplify existing research projects while also bringing together a “sampler” of 3D-related development across a wide spectrum of stakeholders. The publication of the Library’s new Digital Strategy with renewed focus on driving momentum in our communities and building towards the horizon made this the ideal opportunity to engage in the building energy in the well-named Year of 3D.

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Preservation Rights

Jared Lyle

Jared Lyle

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Jared Lyle is an Archivist at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), where he directs the Metadata and Preservation Unit which is responsible for Metadata, the Bibliography of Data-Related Literature and Digital Preservation. He also serves as Director of the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI), an international metadata standard for describing survey and other social science data.


While my thoughts about digital preservation tend to gravitate to issues of file format longevity, on the occasion of this World Digital Preservation Day I've been thinking quite a bit about preservation rights, especially from the perspective of a data custodian.  Why the recent shift in concentration?  The repository where I work, ICPSR, a data repository for social and behavioral science data, has applied for the CoreTrustSeal Data Repository certification. ICPSR has participated in several repository audits and certifications. In 2006, it was a test case for Trusted Repositories Audit & Certification (TRAC). ICPSR was one of the first six data repositories to earn the Data Seal of Approval in 2011. ICPSR earned the World Data System certification in 2013.  CoreTrustSeal Data Repository certification replaces the DSA certification and WDS Regular Members certification.

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Designing a Universal Virtual Interactor (UVI) for digital objects

Euan Cochrane

Euan Cochrane

Last updated on 23 November 2018

Euan Cochrane is Digital Preservation Manager at Yale University Library


In the EaaSI program of work we're developing the ability to click on a link to a digital object (for example in a library’s catalogue or an archival finding aid) and have it "automagically" open in a representative version of the “original” software, within your web browser, using an emulator.  For example, the gif below demonstrates clicking a link to automatically open a Microsoft Works file running in Windows 98 within a web browser[1].

 Euan_1 (1) (3).gif

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Audiovisual archives & digital preservation

Bertram Lyons

Bertram Lyons

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Bertram Lyons is Senior Consultant for AVP


I want to tell a story to demonstrate the inherent relationship between audiovisual preservation and digital preservation.

1. What is it about audiovisual preservation today that requires us to engage in digital preservation?

My story begins with a collection of folk music analog audio recordings in the Alan Lomax Archive.

The year is 2002. The recordings -- I’ll focus on the 2,000 quarter-inch magnetic reel to reel audio tapes -- date from 1948 to 1997. They vary in composition from paper, to acetate, to polyester. They display a variety of states of physical condition, from excellent, to disheveled, to disintegrating, to sticky.

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Perspectives on the Evolving Ecology of Digital Preservation 

Oya Rieger

Oya Rieger

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Oya Y. Rieger is Senior Advisor at Ithaka S+R, based in New York


As an organization that provides research and consultancy services to the global higher education community to support the creation, discovery, dissemination, and preservation of scholarship, Ithaka S+R is interested in exploring the current landscape of digital preservation programs and services in order to identify research questions that will contribute to the advancement of strategies in support of future scholarship. To this end, we recently published a brief, The State of Digital Preservation in 2018: A Snapshot of Challenges and Gaps, which is based on interviews with 21 experts and thought leaders to survey their perspectives on the state of digital preservation. The digital preservation community now represents deeper expertise involving a robust exchange of best practices, standards, preservation techniques, tools, and systems. Nevertheless, given the complexity of designing preservation strategies at scale, it is inevitable that there is lingering anxiety.

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A Parliament of Owls: Leveraging internal wisdom to build support for digital records

Jeanne Kramer-Smyth and April Miller

Jeanne Kramer-Smyth and April Miller

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Jeanne Kramer-Smyth is Archivist and April Miller is Program Lead for Archives at World Bank Group Archives


 

WBG 1

World Bank Group Archives Digital Vault logo.

We considered writing a blog post about the technical solutions selected for the World Bank Group (WBG) Archives’ “Digital Vault” digital preservation project. We spent months working through an RFI and RFP, selecting a vendor, and finalizing contract negotiations. This was followed by work on technical design and internal approvals.

This is not what this blog post is about. Instead, this post is about identifying and tackling the people and process investments required to evolve into an archives that handles both analog and born-digital records.

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Typology of Digital Collection as a Framework for Digital Preservation

Helen Hockx-Yu and Donald Brower

Helen Hockx-Yu and Donald Brower

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Helen Hockx-Yu is Program Manager for Digital Asset Strategy and Don Brower is the Digital Library Infrastructure Lead at the University of Notre Dame in the USA


Like many academic and research libraries, the University of Notre Dame's Hesburgh Library collection has evolved over the last twenty years or so from analogue to increasingly digital, and from a physically owned and locally stored collection to a broad range of both local and external resources, organised around users’ needs.

The complexity and varied nature of our collection means this is no one- size-fits-all digital preservation approach. Different strategy is required dependent of the significant properties of the collection items.

To gain a better understanding of the Library’s overall digital content, and to help plan for digital preservation, we recently co-led a project at Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame, where we developed a Typology of Digital Collection as a framework to guide digital preservation.

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The Archivist’s Guide to KryoFlux

Dorothy Waugh

Dorothy Waugh

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Dorothy Waugh is Digital Archivist at Emory University in the USA


On this World Digital Preservation Day, we’re here to remind you of the humble floppy disk, last century’s save icon. Though limited in terms of capacity, these inexpensive and lightweight disks were the dominant storage device for three decades, as is evidenced by the boxes of floppy disks now found among the stacks of most archives. Among the disks at Emory University are files created by novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker, poet and former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, poet and writer Lucille Clifton, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (an Atlanta-based organization founded in the wake of the 1957 Montgomery Bus Boycott under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King). Unfortunately, the deterioration of such magnetic media due to age and poor storage conditions has been difficult to avoid and, with even the youngest of these disks now approaching twenty years old, recovery of data frequently proves challenging.

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On Robustness

Cal Lee

Cal Lee

Last updated on 30 November 2018

Christopher (Cal) Lee works at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Digital preservation is about conveying meaningful information between contexts over time [1].  A great deal of the complexity stems from digital information residing at multiple levels of representation [2]  This process is never free.  It requires resources (human, technical, financial).  Ensuring a steady flow of resources over time is difficult. 

At any given time, dedicated individuals and informal groups play a vital role in the provision of resources (collecting, organizing, storing and sharing information in which they have an interest).  Commercial providers of information systems also play a major role, by providing the platforms upon which consumers create, manage and share information.

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Contrastes en Preservación Digital: Lo que hemos aprendido de sistemas de Preservación Digital Distribuida y Metodologías Tradicionales / Contrasts in Digital Preservation: What we have learned from Distributed Digital Preservation Systems and Traditional

Pamela Vizner Oyarce

Pamela Vizner Oyarce

Last updated on 23 November 2018

Pamela Vízner es Consultora de AVP / Pamela Vízner is a Consultant for AVP


Como comunidad enfrentada a la responsabilidad de preservar la memoria de nuestras respectivas organizaciones, nos ha tocado una tarea difícil. Casi la de adivinos. Cuando hablamos de la preservación y de proteger y poner a disposición “para siempre” nuestra historia - en el medio que sea se haya originado, papel, objetos, audiovisual, etc. - dichas palabras nos quedan grandes. Hay mucha incertidumbre en ese “para siempre”. Sin embargo, hemos sido capaces de encontrar juntos poco a poco la respuesta a nuestras necesidades, y seguimos construyendo en esa dirección. Las comunidades son de suma importancia en nuestro quehacer, y cómo hemos dado forma a nuestra disciplina a pesar de esa incertidumbre. ¿Será que un enfoque comunitario es la respuesta a nuestras necesidades en preservación digital?

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Transforming Archives / Opening Up Scotland’s Archives: Winning in 2016

Victoria Brown, Scottish Council on Archives

Victoria Brown, Scottish Council on Archives

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Victoria Brown is Programmes and Development Manager and Audrey Wilson is Skills for the Future Project Manager at the Scottish Council on Archives, and in 2016 they won a Digital Preservation Award for Teaching and Communications


When announcements of the nominations for the 2018 DPC digital preservation awards appeared, it was hard to believe two years had passed since (as hopeful nominees), we entered the grand marble foyer of the Wellcome Trust HQ. The list this year is truly impressive. The scale of the digital preservation challenge can obscure the fact that there are so many amazing projects and initiatives underway. Projects that are tackling sustainability, driving skills development and addressing the trickiest of quandaries through imaginative and applied research. It is both crucial and excellent that this work is being celebrated, recognised and shared.

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New Humanist Archive — A Feat of Preservation

Last updated on 22 November 2018

Tom Rodenby works for Exact Editions


Every issue of the New Humanist and its predecessors dating back to 1885 is now available through the state-of-the-art digital edition developed in partnership with Exact Editions. We like to think that those historical issues have now moved into the ‘safe pile’. In their digital format, they will stride forth into the future to be read by new generations of readers and thinkers. 

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Digitally Preserving the History of CILIPS

Sean McNamara

Sean McNamara

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Sean McNamara is Acting Director of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in Scotland CILIP) in Scotland 


Libraries and digital preservation go hand in hand in Scotland. All across the country there are exciting initiatives ongoing in organisations such as the National Library of Scotland as well as Scotland’s thriving network of public and university libraries: ground-breaking projects only made possible because of the skills of Scotland’s library and information workforce.

With all the work that is going on we at CILIPS became aware that our own organisation did not have a strong digital history. Despite being over 100 years old (previously the Scottish Library Association) all our history was held in archives on site or with the National Library. With that in mind we decided to look at creating a digital archive via a timeline and highlighting notable people.

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Attention Please!

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Sean Barker runs a Technical consultancy on Enterprise Integration and Information Sharing for Products


Some time back long term data sustainment lost the attention of my main funders, so last month - when I retired - I thought I'd have a chance to return my attention to it properly. Unsurprisingly, my immediate attention has been taken up with VAT returns, no longer putting off redoing the kitchen and the magnificent local buzzards circling low overhead.

Attending to the right thing is not straightforward. A colleague once said that a managing director should have nothing on their desk, otherwise that becomes locus of their attention rather than the future of the company. Look at any Computer Aided Design (CAD) demo and your attention will be drawn to a complex 3-D part rotating to show itself off. However, the future in CAD lies in the change from drawings to models, something only hinted at by the dull text boxes at the display's edge and which did not grab your attention. Although early CAD did replaced the drawing board, the modern CAD model replaces the model shop where  skilled craftsmen would construct wooden mock-ups, For example, Airbus created a full scale mock-up of the A340 wing, said to cost a million pounds, but saving several times that through design improvements. Now model-based CAD saves the cost of building those physical mock-ups.

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Libraries and the future of their USP

Pamela Tulloch

Pamela Tulloch

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Pamela Tulloch is Chief Executive of the Scottish Library and Information Council


Everyone tells us we live in a digital world and to a certain extent this is true. As a librarian, I first started creating digital content in the 1990’s and looking back, what we were doing then, does look so last century now. These are the digital dark ages and yet the content which was created remains as relevant now as it was then. So much has changed in a few decades and how expect to access content has changed too.

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Preserving Knowledge – Are we keeping the right things?

Neil Jefferies

Neil Jefferies

Last updated on 23 November 2018

Neil Jefferies is Research and Development Project Manager for the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries Research & Learning Services


I feel that there is an increasing disconnect between the digital artifacts that we capture and the mechanisms used to create the knowledge that they embody. This contributes to some of the difficulties with preserving these born-digital materials in a way that effectively retains their meaning.

The seed for this train of thought has been my involvement in the Cultures of Knowledge project and the accompanying online resource Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO). The aim of the project is to use digital methods to reassemble and interpret the correspondence networks of the early modern period (roughly 1550-1750). This period is interesting in that it saw the emergence of a significant social network across Europe and the associated Empires, enabled by the development of postal services and increased population mobility. This resulted in an explosion of intellectual activity that laid the foundations for the Enlightenment and established patterns for scientific discourse that persist until the present day - for example, the foundation of The Royal Society and the publication of the first scientific journals.

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If they can’t agree on the plug, how can they ever agree on the metadata?

Miguel Ferreira

Miguel Ferreira

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Miguel Ferreira is Executive director at KEEP SOLUTIONS based in Braga in Portugal


“If they can’t agree on the plug, how can they ever agree on the metadata?”… This sentence has stuck with me for over 13 years now. It came about in the summer of 2005, when a DSpace user group meeting was about to take place in the beautiful city of Cambridge, in the UK. The meeting intended to give a voice to real-world users and to provide an opportunity for young developers such as myself to learn from the collective wisdom of all of those present.

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Preserving the past: the challenge of digital archiving within a Scottish Local Authority

Lorraine Murray

Lorraine Murray

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Lorraine Murray is Archivist at Inverclyde Council in Scotland


During my masters course where I studiedInformation Management, Digital Preservation and Archives at the Department of Information Studies (or as I knew it at the time; HATII!) at The University of Glasgow, I came to realise how useful it was to create and use digital content with the aim of making historical information and original source material more widely accessible. However, the successful curation, management and preservation of any digital object is an absolutely essential part of this process.

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I’ve never met-a-data I didn’t like (or why metadata can help us learn about digital preservation)

Kristen Schuster

Kristen Schuster

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Kristen Schuster is Lecturer in Digital Curation for the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London


I lecture in digital curation and exploring the relationship between curation and preservation is one of my favorite topics of discussion. I find these discussions so interesting because as a librarian I often find that, on the surface, I have a different understanding of preservation than my students. And, as a result, my examples based in museums and archives are initially at odds with their work experiences and career goals -- many of my students want to work in news broadcast agencies. The idea of long-term preservation making media accessible and usable for decades often alludes them… the news moves forward, not backwards after all! I was quite intrigued by the disconnect between my well-intentioned explanation that we create content – analog or digital – because we want to use and re-use it, and that use, and re-use help us establish narratives and understandings of events, people, places and objects. My efforts to explain file types, compression ratios and the joys of file structures fell flat and, looking back, this shouldn’t have surprised me. After all, connecting the importance of file compression to the activities (cough curation) preservation support is elusive when put in abstract terms.  So now, instead of pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism to try and relate to my students’ interests, I discuss how preservation can save us the time, effort and the frustration of having to re-create valuable assets or regret the loss of content. Instead of directly discussing file types and file structures, I enthusiastically convince students that metadata and practical methods for organizing content makes it possible for everyone to participate in the curation and preservation activities.

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Everyone’s a winner?!

Kasandra O’Connell

Kasandra O’Connell

Last updated on 10 December 2018

Kasandra O’Connell is Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive


Last year I wrote a blog for World Digital Preservation Day contemplating the progress the Irish Film Institute (IFI) had made in the area of Digital Preservation; this year’s WDPD sees the IFI join the list of nominees for the DPC Digital Preservation awards in the Safeguarding the Digital Legacy category taking place in Amsterdam as part of the WDPD2018 celebrations.

The project we are nominated for, The Loopline Conservation Project, is one that we have been working on for nearly 2 years. It is our first end-to-end application of IFIscripts – our suite of open source digital preservation tools created to automate our own digital preservation activities but also adopted by a number of peer institutions internationally. Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland www.bai.ie. the project has focused on cataloguing and preserving the output of Loopline Films, one of Ireland’s most important independent production companies, run by filmmaker Se Merry Doyle. This collection provides an unparalleled record of key areas of Irish history and arts from the 1990s to the present day, documenting a transition in Irish society pre- Celtic tiger and post economic crash. In addition to material chronicling the rapid social and economic change in Ireland during the late 20th century it includes interviews with international cultural figures such as Margaret Atwood, Martin Scorsese & Maureen O’Hara. In 2017 Loopline closed its studios and transferred its holdings to the IFI Irish Film Archive.

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Digital Preservation: More than the bits, it’s the organisation.

Kalpana Shankar

Kalpana Shankar

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Kalpana Shankar is Head of the School of Information & Communication Studies at University College Dublin


How do you keep a data archive open and relevant for fifty years or more?

For the last four years, my colleague Professor Kristin Eschenfelder (School of Library and Information Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA), and I have been asking (and trying to answer) that question, along with many other questions, as part of a research project on the sustainability of data archives.  Thanks to the Digital Preservation Coalition for giving us the opportunity to talk about this project and why it matters on World Preservation Day.

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Can Digital Preservation become business-as-usual?

Jon Tilbury

Jon Tilbury

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Jonathan Tilbury is CTO and Founder of Preservica based in the UK


Digital Preservation has come a long way since the initial research activities resulted in cornerstone tools such as PRONOM, DROID, and JHOVE and the creation of the familiar OAIS reference model. The evolution of this change can be seen in the Digital Preservation Coalition itself, charting its creation, the growth in membership numbers, and the gradual move away from pure cultural heritage and academic organisations to the incorporation of different types of organisations. I’ve been there since these early days and am very excited about where the sector is headed.

Products have emerged to reflect this change. You can now choose between open source community tools and investment backed escrowed systems. These have a common core of functionality covering all the OAIS functions and growing sophistication to reflect their communities. They are supported by companies dotted around the world employing specialists in their sector. Choosing between these products depends on where your emphasis is, which functions you value most, the skill level of your team and a look at the total cost of ownership.

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Consortium working - a collaborative approach to digital preservation

Sam Johnston

Sam Johnston

Last updated on 23 April 2020

Sam Johnston is the County Archivist at Dorset History Centre


I think I'm stating what's known colloquially as the 'bleedin' obvious' when I say that digital preservation has presented a raft of challenges for small to medium sized archive services, most of which have undergone significant budget reductions in recent times.  It's an area of work that is outside the skill-set and certainly the comfort zone of many, and in budgetary terms, it represents something that is likely to require additional funding, often very hard to secure.  Therefore, a technical challenge combined with a relatively glum financial picture has meant that it has been difficult to understand how small services can begin to grapple with digital preservation.  One thing I think we all acknowledge is the importance of digital preservation and that archivists should be the professionals to lead it as a clear continuation of our work with the physical records.  The risk, as it appears to me at least, is that if we don't take the lead, then it will default to some other sector to pick this up and we risk becoming heritage 'time capsules' of hard copy records only. 

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Winning a Digital Preservation Award in 2016

James Mortlock

James Mortlock

Last updated on 26 November 2018

James Mortlock is Digital Archives Manager at HSBC in London, UK


HSBC’s digital archive journey began back in 2011 when we first sat down to develop a set of requirements for a system that would manage and preserve our growing born digital and digitised collections. This process developed into an exciting digital preservation project that was supported by senior management. After many years of hard work and collaboration by the archives team, our internal IT colleagues and external vendors we were able to launch the HSBC Global Digital Archive system (GDA) in 2015, just in time to support HSBC’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The following year, in November 2016, the success of the project was recognised when it received the Digital Preservation Award for Most Outstanding Digital Preservation Initiative in Commerce, Industry and the Third sector.

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Improving Digital Curation Teaching through International Collaboration: The Ibadan/Liverpool Curriculum Benchmarking Project

James Lowry

James Lowry

Last updated on 21 November 2018

James Lowry is a lecturer in the Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies


A three hour drive from Lagos is the expansive campus of the University of Ibadan, home to the oldest archival education programme in Nigeria. It was here in 2017 that the Ibadan/Liverpool Digital Curation Curriculum Review team finalised their benchmarking exercise, which had started earlier that year when Dr Abiola Abioye visited the Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies (LUCAS). Funded by the International Council on Archives, this collaboration was the latest in a long history of collaboration between the archives programmes at Ibadan and Liverpool dating back to the work of Professor Gabriel Alegbeleye and Dr Michael Cook in the 1990s.

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Developing a Digital Preservation Programme at the British Geological Survey

Jaana Pinnick

Jaana Pinnick

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Jaana Pinnick is Research Data and Digital Preservation Manager for British Geological Survey


We started to develop digital preservation capabilities at BGS in 2016 by exploring the initial requirements and writing a preservation policy to guide the future work. This blog describes the progress we have made so far.

Background

BGS is an approved Place of Deposit under the Public Records Act and committed to looking after certain geoscience data in its care “in perpetuity”. Its National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) makes most of its data openly available under the Open Government Licence. BGS also has legal obligations to manage some types of data. The UKRI Data Policy requires data with acknowledged long-term value to be preserved and made available for future research; however, the NGDC considers the retention of most of its geoscience data to be longer than the ten years stipulated in the policy.

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Spreading the Digital Preservation Word

Adam Harwood

Adam Harwood

Last updated on 29 November 2018

Digital Preservation day offers our community a chance to shout from the rooftops that what we do is important for everyone.  This day has given me recourse to consider my role in rooftop shouting and to reflect on how successful I have been in spreading the message about digital preservation.

My role at the University of Sussex is in both research data and digital preservation and I have a lot of opportunities to talk about digital preservation in both spheres.  So I list here everything that I can remember over the past year where I've managed to talk about digital preservation with someone who hasn't been familiar with it before.  What has been my reach this year?  Here is my highly scientific presentation of my findings.

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Normalising digital preservation

Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan

Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan is the Chair of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme UK


EOC 1As any government minister will tell you from bitter experience,  it is very hard to effect change and get things done.  It requires a balance of different factors to come together to overcome obstacles, convince people of the need for change and encourage them to act to enable that change.  Digital preservation is no different.  As Kenney and McGovern neatly described in their ‘three-legged stool’ model, effective digital preservation requires three components – the provision of technology, resources and organisation.  Organisation is important because it is about providing the managerial cultural and policy environment within which digital preservation is accepted as necessary and the working norm.  UNESCO’s 2015 Recommendation on Documentary Heritage is one step in that process of normalisation.

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Preserving Poems. New challenges to archives and the digital creative process

Chris Loftus

Chris Loftus

Last updated on 29 November 2018

Although the shift from paper to digital has been a major issue in the world of archives for several years, the delay in some disciplines between record creation and archive deposit has meant that, for many repositories, the challenge of processing born-digital archival material is a relatively new one. And although this development has prompted the creation of new practices, tools and methods of working, one constant has been the commitment that archives make to donors; to care for, preserve and where possible make available their valued content. Whether a filmmaker is handing over boxes full of 8mm film or hard drives worth of MP4 files an archivist must be able to confidently state that the material will be safe in their institution’s custody and that every effort will be made to afford access to researchers and the public as required. In the University Library the recent development of some of our research strengths within Special Collections has been prompted by the acquisition of collections which have enabled us to consider some of the unique questions surrounding digital archives, and to challenge ourselves to maintain these commitments as an archive.

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Design, Deliver, Embed: Establishing Digital Transfer at the UK Parliamentary Archives

Christopher Fryer

Christopher Fryer

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Chris Fryer is Senior Digital Archivist at the UK Parliamentary Archives


The Parliamentary Archives organises UK Parliament's memory. We are a shared service, providing an archives and records management service to the administrations of the House of Commons and House of Lords. We hold records of unique national importance, often defining watershed moments in the history of the United Kingdom (for example the UNESCO Memory of the World recognised Bill of Rights from 1689). Core procedural and administrative records safeguarded due to transfer of corporate digital records represent a continuation of this heritage.

The types of records produced internally are unique, providing valuable background and context for Parliament’s decisions and actions. With the end of the print-to-paper policy in Parliament in 2012 and the introduction of a corporate Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS), the Parliamentary Archives has long recognised the need for a robust, end-to-end process for digital transfer directly from internal information systems. 

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Break up with legacy systems, there’s a new solution in town

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Ben Saxton is Head of Sales at Formpipe Life Science


By 2020, 50% of all current applications in the data centre will be retired. In fact, between 2016 and 2020, IT organisations will decommission more than three times the number of applications they have previously since 2000. This has resulted in the need for organisations to retire existing applications and seek out a future-proof solution, and fast. What was once an afterthought, retaining business assets and developing a plan for maintaining future records, is now a business-critical task.

But, seeking out a reliable solution comes with its share of hurdles. As enterprises modernise their application portfolios, they face a growing challenge in finding cost-effective solutions to retire their current applications and retain access to historic data that has yet to be migrated to a replacement solution.

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“Do You DP?”

Antonio Guillermo Martínez Largo

Antonio Guillermo Martínez Largo

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Antonio G. Martinez is CEO & Founder of LIBNOVA and is based in Madrid, Spain


How many times have you heard this question? When it comes to Digital Preservation though, there’s no such thing as “to do or not to do”. Having worked with and advised all kinds of organisations, from the largest to the most compact, we’ve learnt that almost anything can be considered digital preservation. This means that “Do you DP?” is a hugely misleading question. A question that only allows for binary answers – a yes or a no, a 0 or a 1 – and makes the reply totally irrelevant to the truth. Understanding this key concept is essential for organisations to be able to move forward.

We have to take a step back and take in the full picture so we can then make others -colleagues and stakeholders- understand that there is so much depth to this relatively recent newcomer, digital, to the preservation world that it is not a simple yes or no, but a “What D.P. level shall we go?”.  We have to share our vision and make them (colleagues and stakeholders) understand that we can digitally preserve things in so many different ways and on so many different levels that the simple question of “Do you D.P.?” renders the answer obsolete.  You see, we all know that every little bit counts, and the more bits we actively layer our preservation cake with the more safely we preserve. But do our colleagues and stakeholders know this?  We have to make the case that as we move up layers our digital assets are safer and safer. So the question should be, “Up to what level do we need to D.P.?”.

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Archiving Crossrail

Alistair Goodall

Alistair Goodall

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Alistair Goodall is Head of IT for Crossrail Ltd and Transport for London


Crossrail is an amazing project to be part of and, when the central section opens next year, visitors to London are going to see stunning new stations and travel on new 200 metre long trains capable of carrying up to 1,500 people.

My team in IT has been responsible for most of the enterprise wide applications which are needed on a mega-project.  Some of these we have worked with the vendors over the last 10 years to develop and configure, others have been developed in house by our team to support specific business needs (such as vehicle movement planning and agreements).  These applications now hold over 10 years of project data across all business areas including health and safety, commercial, delivery, programme controls and technical information.

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PREMIS News & Highlights for 2018

Karin Bredenberg

Karin Bredenberg

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Karin Bredenberg is Chair of the PREMIS Editorial Committee and she works for Riksarkivet/Swedish National Archives


It’s been a very productive year for the PREMIS Editorial Committee!

We’ve brought several projects to fruition and embarked on a number of new efforts since our last WDPD report on PREMIS and Linked Data. As you probably know, we released version 3.0 of the PREMIS Data Dictionary in 2015 and since then we’ve devoted a lot of our resources towards modelling and completing an OWL ontology, creating supporting documentation for the new ontology, and updating the related preservation vocabularies on LC’s Linked Data Service. We are proud to say these are all available now!

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In Certification I believe or... Are we doing it YET AGAIN?

Yvonne Tunnat

Yvonne Tunnat

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Yvonne Tunnat is Digital Preservation Project Manager at Leibniz Information Centre for Economics in Germany


“Are we doing it YET AGAIN?” is the question I would most certainly ask if I were not the one most likely to suggest that we go the next level of certification, or, interchangeably, for the more recent or updated version of a certain certification level.

We have gone through the Data Seal of Approval in 2015, have acquired the nestor Seal in 2017, and at the end of 2018 we will hand in our documentation for the Core Trust Seal. We would certainly have found found us another nice certification process in 2016, but as I was away for maternal leave for a great chunk of that year, we were too busy just archiving stuff.

So, why are we constantly heading for another certificate to prove how trustworthy our Digital Archive is?

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Launch of the New Digital Archiving Platform at the National Archives of France: Act I!

Violette Levy

Violette Levy

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Violette Lévy and Béatrice Hérold work at the National Archives of France in Paris


Confronted with the ever-growing surge of digital services used by government agencies, the aim of the ADAMANT Project (Administration of archives and their metadata at the National Archives over time) is to preserve the integrity of the resulting digital archives and to ensure they remain permanently reliable, intelligible and accessible, which is the basic mission of the National Archives.

Levy 1After two years of gestation, the new platform will launch on November 29, 2018. This first version will focus on the collection and management of digital archives. Versions 2 and 3, expected to be rolled out in 2019 and 2020 respectively, will focus on the consultation and reuse of these archives by the public, as well as long-term preservation.

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Project Preview: “Weaving Digital Stewardship into the Organizational Fabric”

Shira Peltzman

Shira Peltzman

Last updated on 4 December 2018

This post was written by: Shira Peltzman, Digital Archivist for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); Julia Kim, Digital Assets Specialist, Library of CongressPeggy Griesinger, Metadata Librarian, George Mason University LibrariesVicky Steeves; Librarian for Research Data Management and Reproducibility, New York University; and Karl-Rainer Blumenthal, Web Archivist, Internet Archive.


As digital preservation programs and stewardship initiatives mature, so may they become more dysfunctional.

One of the most important takeaways from the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) staffing surveys conducted in 2012[1] and 2017[2]-- discussed here last World Digital Preservation Day -- is the increasing dissatisfaction among stewards with the way that digital preservation is organized at their respective institutions.

Perceptions that the digital preservation function at their organizations “works well” among respondents to the NDSA Staffing Surveys of 2012 and 2017.

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Bit by bit, byte by byte: web archaeology going strong in the Netherlands!

Tjarda de Haan

Tjarda de Haan

Last updated on 29 November 2018

Tjarda de Haan is Guest Curator for E-culture at Amsterdam Museum in the Netherlands


Since winning the Digital Preservation Award 2016 in the category The National Archives Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy in December 2016 our project accelerated! We have published the 'DIY Handbook for Web Archaeology' and the 'FREEZE! A manifesto for safeguarding and preserving born-digital heritage' and with this we have put web archaeology on the map in the Netherlands. Many initiatives took up the challenge. The KB National Library of the Netherlands has done some remarkable excavations, journals have published articles about web archaeology and the Journal for Media History will publish a special issue next year 'Media history for the future: Web Archaeology'.

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Heritage preservation of contemporary dance and choreography

Suzan Tunca

Suzan Tunca

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Suzan Tunca is a Dance Researcher for ICKamsterdam and this project was undertaken in collaboration with Motion Bank


 

Heritage preservation of contemporary dance and choreography through research and innovation in digital documentation and annotation of creative processes

ICKamsterdam and Motion Bank.

ICKamsterdam and Motion Bank join forces to optimize caring for the heritage of contemporary dance and choreography through the invention of new forms of digital documentation, notation and transmission of embodied knowledge. This unique collaboration integrates the verbal movement language research of Emio Greco I PC and ICKamsterdam with the annotation systems and goals of Motion Bank software development. In this way digital preservation media development is linked directly to the potential of establishing working vocabularies specific to various choreographers and performing artists. Documenting and annotating processes in performance creation enables the safeguarding of ephemeral and ineffable artistic contents in dance through time.

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What, who, where, how? Persistent Identifiers at the National Library of Luxembourg

Roxana Maurer

Roxana Maurer

Last updated on 3 November 2020

Roxana Popistasu is Digital Preservation Coordinator at Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg 


“In digital preservation, identification of digital content is essential”, say A. Dappert and A. Farquhar in their iPRES 2017 article Permanence of the Scholarly Record: Persistent Identification and Digital Preservation – A Roadmap. The same idea appeared in the introduction of Robert E. Kahn’s keynote at iPRES 2016:

Pop 3

https://twitter.com/RoxPoNinja/status/782850754059132929

At the National Library of Luxembourg (BnL), we agree unequivocally: we cannot preserve and provide access to our national heritage without taking into account the reliable and sustainable identification of our digital resources. But how do we do that? What is the “best” persistent identifier (PID) system? Are there best practices when it comes to persistent identification? These are some of the questions we set out to answer at the start of our journey into finding the right PID system.

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The question of what can we do in this political climate… has, again, a relatively modest answer: small interventions with grand intention

Patricia Sleeman

Patricia Sleeman

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Patricia Sleeman is Archivist (Electronic) at UNHCR in Geneva, Switzerland


Sleeman 1Tiffany Chung’s reconstructing an exodus history: boat trajectories in Asia, 2017

To be a digital archivist in UNHCR is interesting, challenging and inspiring all at once. To be part of an organization whose staff are often at the coalface of conflicts and operations which are concurrently taking place all over our world, witnessing the misery of displaced people is a unique experience. A privileged one. 

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Let’s be honest … a “honey we need to talk” with digital preservation

Michelle Lindlar

Michelle Lindlar

Last updated on 4 December 2018

Michelle Lindlar is Digital Preservation Team Leader at Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) in Germany


It seems that most of us are well into the commitment stage of our relationship with digital preservation – it’s no longer a task tucked away in exclusive projects which only few institutions can participate in, but has growing acceptance as an institution’s core function. Or, to put it in the words of William Kilbride himself in reflecting on last year’s WDPD: “we have learned that it’s not about delaying the digital dark age: it’s about coming good on the digital promise”.

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Music Treasures

Marjon van Schendel

Marjon van Schendel

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Background

Within the Netherlands there are several archives with sheetmusic. There is not a national organization which covers those archives. Due to financial problems in 2013, all these archives were closed for public and their collections were no longer available. The largest collection is at the Stichting Omroep Muziek ((SOM) Dutch Broadcast Music), which has about 650,000 titles, classical music as well as popular music, salon music and, the unique part, the music which was specifically composed or arranged for the national radio and television broadcasts from 1920 until 1980 (180,000 titles).

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Scotland, a leading Nation in Digital Preservation.

Fiona Hyslop

Fiona Hyslop

Last updated on 28 November 2018

Fiona Hyslop is Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs within the Scottish Government


On World Digital Preservation Day, I’d like to reflect on Scotland’s long tradition of preserving its documentary heritage and showcase how Scotland is helping to lead in the global challenge digital preservation.

This tradition dates back to 1286 to the first reference of a Scottish Government official William of Dumfries who had the responsibility of looking after records. This responsibility eventually evolved into the current role of Keeper of the Records of Scotland that we have today. To store our national archives General Register House was built in the 18th century, it is one of the oldest custom built archive buildings in the world still in use for its original purpose, and is home to National Records of Scotland which is responsible for Scotland’s national archive, as well as the registration of vital events and the taking of the 10 yearly national census.

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Good Morning World Digital Preservationists!

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 23 November 2018

A new day is dawning on this part of planet earth… but this day is like no other, this day is special, this day is all about digital preservation and this day is ours!

via GIPHY

Ok, that sounded a bit full on and slightly arch-baddy, but it’s actually ALL good. All of it!

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Supporting Digital Preservation Infrastructures

Maria Guercio

Maria Guercio

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Mariella Guercio is President of ANAI (Italian National Association of Archivists)


In the past few years, many initiatives have been developed to support or promote digital preservation infrastructures, specifically with reference to the quality of the repositories and to the definition of standards for interoperability. This might seem a promising opportunity for making concrete experiences and implementing technical solutions, but I think that the professionals in the preservation sector (mainly archivists and digital curators) should monitor very carefully these initiatives on digital preservation (for example, the ETSI draft for defining  policy and security requirements for trust service providers offering long-term preservation of digital signatures; and – even more -  the standard ISO 17068 “Information and documentation — Trusted third party repository for digital records,” with its narrow and limited definition of authenticity), for many reasons.

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It was 20 years ago today...

Marcel Ras

Marcel Ras

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Marcel Ras is Digital Preservation Manager for the Dutch Digital Heritage Network


It is almost 20 years ago that the pioneering publications on Digital Preservation were issued by initiative of the KB, the Dutch National Library. The NEDLIB papers described technical challenges and solutions for digital preservation. Preserving digital information was a very different job at the turn of the Century. The challenges with digital preservation were mainly framed in technical terms, as the NEDLIB papers showed us. With the turn of the century also came the millennium bug and the dooms of the “digital dark age”. Gloomy predictions adding some state of urgency and awareness to our work and the profession of digital preservation.

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Thoughts on obsolescence

Lourdes Fuentes-Hashimoto

Lourdes Fuentes-Hashimoto

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Lourdes Fuentes-Hashimoto is Archivist for Total in Paris, France


When you hear the word “obsolescence” what do you spontaneously think about? I asked the question to a dozen random coworkers, who are neither archivists nor digital preservation specialists. The majority immediately think of planned or built-in obsolescence, that is to say the fact of designing something with an artificially limited useful life so it become quickly unfunctional or unusable. They mentioned “my washing machine” or “my smartphone” as examples. Other colleagues’ quick-fire answer was “something being out of date” or “outmoded” and consequently useless.

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Keeping Blogs Alive

Kelly Merks

Kelly Merks

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Kelly Merks works at the Expatriate Archive Centre in the Hague, Netherlands


The Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) is an independent non-profit foundation. We aim to collect and preserve expatriate life stories, regardless of a person’s country of origin or where they moved to. Our focus is primarily on unique personal writings. Though much of our collection is tangible — including photographs, letters, diaries and other documents — in recent years we have begun to collect born-digital material.

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Des cerises sur le gateau de la préservation digitale / Cherries on the cake of digital preservation

Jean-Yves Le Meur

Jean-Yves Le Meur

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Jen-Yves Le Meur is Digital Memory Project Leader at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland


Le projet de la Mémoire Numérique du CERN, commencé en 2016, se devait de s’attaquer en priorité à la sauvegarde des collections sonores, photographiques et audiovisuelles nées avec l’institut en 1954, et déjà menacées par l’obsolescence de ses supports. En charge de ce projet, je me suis lancé tête baissé dans les inventaires, classifications, regroupements, analyses des pratiques, spécifications, appels d’offre et recherches de fond sans me douter un instant des magnifiques surprises qui orneraient ce chemin.

Ce sont ces surprises que je veux partager ici, à l’occasion de cette journée mondiale de la préservation. Elles sont quelques cerises sur la gateau de notre héritage. Cerises qui donneront peut-être une motivation supplémentatire à tous les acteurs engagés dans des projets de ce type.

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Digital preservation at home……. and beyond

Joost van der Nat

Joost van der Nat

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Joost van der Nat is a researcher for the Dutch Digital Heritage Network. In 2016 he and his team won the DPC Digital Preservation Award for Research and Innovation.


A short, personal story of how Digital Preservation came into my life, and the way our household deals with it now. Some astounding figures on how the world is expanding its digital universe lead to a burning question…

n=1, or how digital non-preservation showed its ugly face to me

When I try to explain to Muggles (the major part of the population that is ignorant of the blessings of, and the need for Digital Preservation) what Digital Preservation is all about, I often give the example of the scenario that took place in 2004. A trip to New York with our then 11 year old son. I made a lot of video recordings, and spent 60+ hours in producing a home video of 30 minutes on a DVD. Menus and Gershwin’s music topped it off, a great success with family and friends. Then 3 years later the DVD wouldn’t play. Bit rot or low quality DVD? But no problem, of course I had a backup on a separate hard disk. And as you may guess, the hard disk didn’t function… A company called The Disk Doctor saved me, for the round sum of € 750. Lesson learned: store your stuff in the cloud (too).

n=2, or how our household deals with its (digital) objects

Over the years E (my better half) and I have collected significant amounts of recorded music. Vinyl to start with, and countless CDs as of the 1990-ies. Digitising LPs is fun, but time consuming. Fortunately the vinyl collection was not too big. Ripping 600+ CDs and finding and applying cover photos in the course of 15 years is achievable. The music, along with other stuff, is stored on a Synology NAS that is backed up to Amazon Glacier in Ireland for $ 2.34 per month (600 Gb). The point is however that nowadays Spotify has (almost) all of our music at a fingertip.

The same goes for DVDs. In the course of many years the collection of movies grew up to 150+ (modest, compared to some friends). At present Netflix is streaming a lot of this content straight into our home.

Old family photo albums are great. Altogether we have some 15, containing priceless pictures dating back to the early 1900’s. On the pictures one can look back in time, seeing familiar faces in their young versions, and historic views of modernized places. Digitising these albums is fun, Photoshop slowly reveals its secrets and the result is spectacular. The extended families love it. Minor details is the meta data. The date a picture was taken is often not available, and some of these faces must be family, but who is it again ? Too late to ask…

And then, as of the early 2000’s, the digital camera came into our lives. The number of pictures was not longer limited to the 24 or 36 one would have on an analogue camera. An influx of 100’s of pictures per year in the household was manageable. However, soon the camera became part of the smartphone (or is it the other way round ?), and things got worse. E. travels a lot, and loves to share places, moments, people, diners, outings, seminars, nature, odd pictures, and what not. The potential ingest of pictures of her phone is now well over 2.000 per year. As many of these pictures are instantaneously shared with WhatsApp (in various groups) the number of files is likely to be around 4.000. duplicates included. The family curator is in trouble…
Recently I heard of Gudak. This is an app for the smartphone that will let you make 24 pictures, no reviewing. You then wait 3 days before you can check the results. I am going to try to replace the camera function of E’s phone with this app.

All in all our household seems to have reached the maturity level of “backed up bit preservation”. Which is something…

n = zetta, or how the world develops its digital universe

Now only imagine what the above n=2 story turns into when you realise that the number of active mobile social users in the world in 2017 has come to well over 2.5 billion (a third of the world population, see We are Social and Hootsuite). In 2015 Bernard Marr gave some staggering figures in Forbes:

  • Facebook users send on average 31.25 million messages and view 2.77 million videos every minute.
  • We are seeing a massive growth in video and photo data, where every minute up to 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube alone.
  • In 2015, a staggering 1 trillion photos will be taken and billions of them will be shared online. By 2017, nearly 80% of photos will be taken on smart phones.
  • The data volumes are exploding, more data has been created in 2013 -2014 than in the entire previous history of the human race.
  • Data is growing faster than ever before and by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.

IDC forecasted in 2017 that by 2025 the global data sphere will grow to 163 zettabytes (a zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes [JvdN: A trillion seconds is 31,710 years, to give you an idea.]). That’s ten times the 16.1 Zb of data generated in 2016.

Now my conclusive question is: either the Digital Preservation Community comes up with some ideas on how to tackle this, or should we say “Digital Preservation, don’t try this at home !”?
I do not have the answer (yet ;-). Maybe the industry has, in the longer run?

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(Already) 10 years of LHC Data Preservation

Jamie Shiers

Jamie Shiers

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Jamie Shiers is Data Preservation in High Energy Physics Project Leader at CERN


From the early days of planning for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) it was known that it would generate an unprecedented amount of data. As we come to the end of the 2nd multi-year run (Run2) of the LHC, the CERN data archive has broken through the 300PB barrier. The LHC, including its planned upgrades, such as the High Luminosity LHC, will continue to take data for between one and two more decades when it restarts for Run3 in 2021 (so around 3 decades from start to finish).

All of this data – past, present and future – will need to be preserved for at least the data-taking period of the LHC, if not for an extended period thereafter.

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NULLA DIES SINE LINEA …DIGITAL: What is and what is not digital preservation? Or the need for a few mantras

Isabel Bordes Cabrera

Isabel Bordes Cabrera

Last updated on 17 December 2018

Isabel Bordes Cabrera es Jefe de Área de Biblioteca Digital, Biblioteca Digital Hispánica a la Biblioteca Nacional de Españaña  / Isabel Bordes Cabrera is Head of Area at the Hispanic Digital Library at the National Library of Spain


Because of the world digital preservation day (#WDPD2018) we’ve wanted to take a break so to think and explain what is digital preservation, what is not and why this need arrived to memory institutions.

In our personal lives we've all experienced ourselves losses of digital data: that CD or USB with pictures of our last summer that won’t ever open again, that computer that can’t read DVDs; that wordperfect file which we cannot longer open nor edit, that corrupted file that cannot be recovered, that videogame we can no longer enjoy because we no longer have that commodore 64 which delighted us on those rainy evenings…The challenges of digital preservation have knocked everyone’s door, and not even NASA is an exception. Furthermore, NASA was one of the first institutions to react when they realized that almost all data from Viking probes were lost. And this was true even when they thought they had solved the problem back in the 90’s when they transferred data from the original magnetic tapes to CDs. And why was that? Because formats were not readable and the original programmers were either dead or had already left NASA. These facts put the machine to move and digital preservation turned into an undeniable challenge to all of us.

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Preserving and providing access to digitally-born documentation

Frédéric Blin

Frédéric Blin

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Frédéric Blin is Director for Heritage Collections, Preservation and Digitisation at the National University Library in Strasbourg, France


If all libraries are faced with providing access to digitally-born documentation, not all of them have the responsibility to preserve this documentation for the longer term. This is mainly the task of national libraries, or libraries bearing legal deposit responsibilities. International programmes and consortia have been created between libraries and publishers to keep academic resources secure, or between national libraries for the preservation of Internet. Academic libraries have been active in the field of research data preservation, in collaboration with institutional or shared data storage services.

For an autonomous medium-sized library, having the responsibility to preserve the regional heritage including the one coming through legal deposit, while at the same time trying to serve research needs based more and more on access to and use of digitised material, digital preservation is a question that tends to be at the back of the professional’s minds, leading however to no clear solution.

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What we learned from Leren Preserveren

Frans Neggers

Frans Neggers

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Frans Neggers is Digital Archivist at Het Nieuwe Instituut, and Project Manager and Trainer for Leren Preserveren


What should teaching heritage professionals about digital preservation be about? Autumn 2016 we - the Dutch Digital Heritage Network (DDHN) and Het Nieuwe Instituut (Rotterdam) - started developing Leren Preserveren (Learning Digital Preservation). We commissioned a professional to make a educational design. Decided was that it should become a blended learning environment for online students and with a group training. The target group was defined as practitioners that maybe don’t know too much yet about digital preservation or don’t know how to apply their knowledge. So it does not serve the more experienced practitioners who already know ‘how to’, nor the ones who are looking for answers to specific problems. Then all things to be learned had to be brought within a logical learning process. This resulted in a three module setup (learning to speak the language of digital preservation, becoming able to consider digital preservation in your own situation and learning to take the first steps). Important part of the group training were the module assignments as well as the expert sessions and exercises.

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Digital Preservation and the Grand Gallery of IT Evolution

Eng Sengsavang

Eng Sengsavang

Last updated on 29 November 2018

Eng Sengsavang is Reference Archivist for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France


Last autumn, I moved to Paris to take on the role of Reference Archivist at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). My morning commute begins on a network of streets named after some of France and Europe’s prominent 18th-century naturalists. Rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire takes me past the Jardin des Plantes, site of the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN). The MNHN houses, among other displays, the Gallery of Evolution, an immense space exhibiting varieties of taxidermied animals. On the ground floor, an African elephant heads a procession forming the centerpiece of the ‘grand gallery,’ so-designated in French.

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What if … your smartphone movies were suddenly all erased?

Brecht DeClercq

Brecht DeClercq

Last updated on 29 November 2018

Brecht Declercq is Manager of Digitisation and Acquisition at VIAA, the Flemish Institute for Archiving in Belgium


There it is, lying next to you. Or maybe it is in your handbag or pocket. It may still be on your bedside table. Or your children are messing with it. Yesterday you used it to make some video clips. From your partner, your parents, your children, your BFF or just from the car before you. You probably didn’t think about it, but you documented your life in images and sounds. Some clips you erased quickly ... they better be not saved! Others are very valuable to you. Your 3-year-old granddaughter pressing a wet kiss on your camera lens. The champions celebration of the hockey team of a dear friend. Grandpa's voice at the birthday party ... three weeks before he died unexpectedly.

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BitList 2018: The Global List of Digitally Endangered Species

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 29 November 2018

BitListThe 2018 Revision of The BitList offers a chance to update and review progress since initial publication in 2017. It was always intended as an interim statement that identified major changes or trends but offering commentary rather than a comprehensive review. It designed around the commitment that the DPC makes to the Digital Preservation Awards in alternate years, recognizing that the capacity for a full review would be limited in Autumn 2018. However, the pace of change is also relatively slow so the appetite and impact of an annual revision would be limited.

 

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Authenticity of The Electronic Records: Presenting The Context

Özhan Saglik

Özhan Saglik

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Özhan Sağlık is Lecturer at Bursa Uludag University in Turkey


 This is my hard drive, and it only makes sense to put things in there that are useful. Really useful. Ordinary people fill their heads with all kinds of rubbish. That makes it hard to get at the stuff that matters. Do you see?" Sherlock Holmes, Season 1, Episode 3.

Archives are the banks of semantic capital (Floridi, 2018; Gollins, 2018) and we can ensure the intellectual control over this capital by context which is everything in digital archiving (Sheridan, 2018).

On the National Archives building of the United States it is written that “This building holds in trust the records of our national life and symbolizes our faith in the permanency of our national institutions” (National Archives and Records Administration, 2018). This sentence is valid for every country. Archives hold the trust for records whether they are physical or electronic.

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Staying on Target: Reflections of a Digital Preservation Business Analyst

Opher Kutner

Opher Kutner

Last updated on 21 November 2018

As Rosetta’s business analyst, I’ve always positioned myself on the receiving end of this blog. The ever-growing experience and different perspectives of digital preservation expressed in the stories shared here - and elsewhere - has significantly contributed to my ability to provide informed recommendations and decisions concerning the product’s roadmap and feature set. Therefore, when approached to contribute a post for this World Digital Preservation Day, I was ambivalent: My eagerness to contribute to this conversation seemed at odds with the product-oriented type of knowledge I can offer, which many would find uninteresting, if not inappropriate. After mulling over this for a while, I decided to share a recent dilemma I’ve been facing, with the hope that it will resonate well with the, er, designated community.

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10 Years of Digital Preservation Collaboration in Finland

Heikki Helin

Heikki Helin

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Heikki Helin is Senior Technology Coordinator for Digital Preservation Services at CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd in Espoo, Finland


Back in 2008, the National Digital Library of Finland (NDL) initiative was formed within the remit of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland. The initiative aimed at creating a nationally unified structure for contents and services ensuring the effective and high-quality management, dissemination, and especially digital preservation of cultural digital information resources. The basis for the NDL was formed by libraries, archives and museums (partner organisations).

In the early days of the NDL, it was decided that a centralized and shared digital preservation service should be created. It was estimated that common infrastructure and services reduces costs, increases system integration, strengthens cooperation, and brings the practices of partner organisations closer together. Besides technical solutions, the collaboration between partner organisations was an essential goal of the NDL.

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Preserving digital anthropology resources at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre

Wachiraporn Klungthanaboon

Wachiraporn Klungthanaboon

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Wachiraporn Klungthanaboon is Lecturer at Department of Library Science, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University and Sittisak Rungcharoensuksri is Researcher at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre


Learning the human behaviours and cultures in a particular community and time may not easily be done through the only lens of printed resources. The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (SAC), founded in 1991, is one of the most leading research centres in Thailand in the accountability of gathering and providing anthropological data to foster education and research in anthropology and archaeology in Thailand.

The SAC collaborates with local museums and communities across the country. The SAC has developed a digital platform for collecting, organizing, and disseminating gathered data and research output to the public with the aims of educating and preserving ritual practices, festivals, and other cultural expressions. 

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CIE TC8-15: Colour Imaging for Digital Preservation

Robert Buckley and Melitte Buchman

Robert Buckley and Melitte Buchman

Last updated on 27 November 2018

Robert Buckley and Melitte Buchman are members of CIE TC8-15 – Archival Colour Imaging Technical Committee where Melitte is the Chair.


CIE TC8-15 is the CIE Technical Committee on Archival Colour Imaging.  Overall the CIE is a technical, scientific and cultural non-profit organization in the field of light and lighting, encompassing fundamental subjects as vision, photometry and colorimetry. What does this have to do with the DPC and digital preservation? To the DPC, digital preservation refers to the series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary. Basic activities are the good capture of physical originals and keeping the digital data safe and secure. CIE TC8-15 exists in the zone where the two organizations overlap for the accurate capture (or digitisation) of colour originals.

The TC’s Terms of Reference are “to recommend a set of techniques for the accurate capture, encoding and long-term preservation of colour descriptions of digital images that are either born digital or the result of digitising 2D static physical objects including documents, maps, photographic materials and paintings.”

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A Case Study – WhatsApp Records Capture

Jingwen Yang

Jingwen Yang

Last updated on 27 November 2018

Jingwen Yang is Records Management Officer for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany


Digital technologies are radically transforming business practices in the workplace as organizations become more mobile and virtual. Led by the increased prevalence of smartphones and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in organizations, more and more employees are turning to consumer messaging apps to collaborate with their colleagues and customers. Although an organization can benefit from this adoption, this also generates a huge amount of unstructured data outside of the technical platform managed by the organization, creating new challenges in digital records management, information security and information privacy protection.

Among a diverse landscape of messaging apps, WhatsApp stands out as one of the most popular: in 2018, WhatsApp reported more than 450 million daily active users, and it has been downloaded and installed by over 1.2 billion people worldwide. WhatsApp provides fast, simple, and secure services at no cost, allowing users to send text messages, voice messages, pictures, documents and other files as well as place voice calls and video calls to other WhatsApp users, all for free. It is expected that the unstructured data generated by WhatsApp alone will double in volume within the next 4 years.

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Digital is an Illusion, but Film is a Reality?

Sanchai Chotirosseranee

Sanchai Chotirosseranee

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Sanchai Chotirosseranee is Deputy Director of the Film Archive (Public Organization) in Thailand


When it comes to the digital age, most people believed that there is no need to preserve original materials, once they are digitized. When we had a funding campaign for a film storage a decade ago, Dome Sukvong, the founder of the Thai Film Archive, used the motto inspired by a famous Thai saying that the “Digital is an Illusion, but Film is a Reality” to champion an awareness about the importance of preserving analogue prints in the digital world.

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A review of the Chinese Conference on Digital Preservation (CCDP) 2018

Zhenxin Wu

Zhenxin Wu

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Zhenxin Wu is Professor of the Information System Department and Deputy Director of the Digital Preservation Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences at the National Science Library in Beijing, China


回顾CCDP2018:汇聚多方力量,应对新型数字内容资源长期保存挑战

十月底在北京举办的2018年数字资源长期保存全国学术研讨会非常成功,获得了很好的反响。作为会议的组织者,很高兴看到数字资源长期保存在中国国内得到越来越多的关注,越来越多的人和机构开始从事研究与实践。我也希望通过世界数字保存日(World Digital Preservation Day),让更多人了解中国保存者所作的努力。

数字内容资源已成为科技、教育和文化传承的主流资源,它们的长期保存已经成为各国信息基础设施战略的重要部分。科技部已经启动国家数字科技文献资源长期保存系统建设,在中国本土自主长期保存重要的国内外科技期刊、会议、学位论文等文献数据库。与此同时,数字内容的形态和应用正在迅速变化,数字音视频、数字图像、科学数据、社交媒体、计算机辅助设计、数字艺术、数字人文资料、开放教育资源等迅速成为知识创作、传播和利用的常规形态,成为人类知识和文化的自然和重要的组成部分。

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Digital Preservation Song Challenge

Serena Coates and Rachel Merrick

Serena Coates and Rachel Merrick

Last updated on 28 November 2018

Serena Coates is Coordinator of Digital Preservation (Preservation Services) and Rachel Merrick is Metadata Specialist at State Library of Queensland


With more conferences being held south of the equator (iPres in 2014, IDCC in 2019) for the first time, and local communities of practice growing in numbers (Australasia Preserves, and the National and State Libraries of Australia DP CoP), the digital preservation community is Australasia is growing stronger by the minute.  So why not put this growing enthusiasm to music?

A recent thread on the Australasia Preserves web forum posed the question – “Does AusPreserves need a theme song?”.  A couple of DP themed songs already exist, but the creative juices got flowing, and ideas were thrown in to the mix – “If I Could Turn Back Time” (Cher), and “Born this Way” (Lady Gaga) were put up as two possible candidates.

On behalf of the NSLA community of practice, we took it one step further, and issued a song challenge – to create a parody of an existing song, or write an original song with the theme of digital preservation.  More ideas flowed - “Baby One More Time” (Britney Spears), and “[Files] Will Survive” (Gloria Gaynor). 

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A Greener Film Archive

Janice Chen

Janice Chen

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Janice Chen is Archive Officer at the Asian Film Archive in Singapore


Much has been written about the escalating carbon footprint arising from digital consumption and its resulting environmental impact. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that the world needs sweeping changes to energy, transportation and other systems to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.[i] The bleak future facing our world and the devastating natural disasters in 2018 that have hit Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and other parts of the world, inspired the thoughts of this piece.    

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The Maturing of Digital Preservation

Ross Harvey

Ross Harvey

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Ross Harvey is Professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia


I’ve been thinking lately about the maturing of digital preservation. Exactly when it was born is difficult to determine. Wikipedia’s ‘Timeline of Digital Preservation’[1] starts in 1972, and Peter Hirtle suggests ‘at least the 1960s’.[2] Other contenders include the establishment of data archives in the 1960s. But although its precise age is debatable, we can agree that digital preservation has been around long enough to have developed processes, standards, theories, and ways of thinking that the digital preservation community generally accepts. For example, that the OAIS Reference Model is the basis for digital preservation systems, or that we need geographically-distributed copies – although there is no consensus about how many.

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The importance of digital preservation

Richard Ovenden

Richard Ovenden

Last updated on 26 November 2018

Richard Ovenden is President of the Digital Preservation Coalition, and Bodley's Librarian at The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford


I am really pleased to be celebrating World Digital Preservation Day (#WDPD2018) in Amsterdam, with the Netwerk Digital Erfgoed at the Annual Digital Preservation Awards event at the Amsterdam Museum. #WDPD2018 succeeds International Digital Preservation Day and aims to celebrate the work that is done across the globe to protect information created in digital form, and to mark the efforts made by the communities of practice that work in this vitally important area.

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Automation in digital preservation

Richard Lehane

Richard Lehane

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Richard Lehane is an archives and recordkeeping consultant with Recordkeeping Innovation, Sydney, Australia. Next year he'll be joining the IAEA's Archives team in Vienna, Austria


When I find spare moments, I work on siegfried, a file format identification tool like DROID and fido. I've been tinkering on it now for over five years. Automation has been critical for me to sustain the project; otherwise I just wouldn’t be able to attend to all the things that need doing, besides improving the tool itself. So far I’ve automated:

  •  testing,
  •  building and publishing releases,
  •  updating signatures,
  •  profiling the codebase,
  •  and benchmarking.

Automating these processes isn’t just about relieving me of manual work and freeing up time, it is also about putting in safety nets so that I can dive in and make changes knowing that any serious errors or regressions will surface in the tests and benchmarks.

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TownsWeb Archiving celebrates World Digital Preservation Day with a WEEK of announcing digital access

Marshall Parr

Marshall Parr

Last updated on 28 November 2018

Marshall Parr works for TownsWeb Archiving


We have decided to celebrate World Digital Preservation Day with an entire week of announcing organisations who have made the leap to digitising their collections and providing access online. We have helped each of these organisations using our PastView System to manage and publish their collections online. Keep an eye on our Twitter page, as we celebrate new websites every day this week.

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Making Australia’s biodiversity literature openly accessible and discoverable online

Nicole Kearney

Nicole Kearney

Last updated on 10 December 2018

Nicole Kearney is Manager of Biodiversity Heritage Library Australia at Museums Victoria


The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is the world’s largest online repository of biodiversity literature and archival materials. I manage the Australian component of this global project and, to celebrate world digital preservation day, I’ve been asked to share what we do to make Australia’s biodiversity literature openly accessible and discoverable online.

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Digitising David

Michaela Hart

Michaela Hart

Last updated on 30 November 2018

Michaela Hart is Senior Archivist for the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, Australia


What better way to celebrate World Digital Preservation Day than tell a story about global superstar David Attenborough? I hope folks will let me know if I’ve drawn the bow too long.

This case study demonstrates some of the complexity of working with audio-visual material, and how this archivist was able to justify watching a 40-year-old documentary on a Friday afternoon. I am working on a project to digitise magnetic tapes that were acquired by our archives during the 1990s when most of the psychiatric intuitions were closing. Some of the tapes contain recordings with clients on them, but this particular accession contains educational material, recorded seminars, and talks.

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Digitising the Dorothy Hill collection at the University of Queensland Library

Kellie Ashley and Mandy Swingle

Kellie Ashley and Mandy Swingle

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Mandy Swingle and Kellie Ashley are Curators at the University of Queensland


 

In 2017, The University of Queensland Library unveiled an online exhibition about Professor Dorothy Hill (1907-1997), Australia’s first female professor. This exhibition is the result of an 18 month project that showcases the extensive collection of papers she donated to the Library and celebrates the scientific contribution of one of Australia’s leading academics. The exhibition features digitised content curated from the ninety boxes of her collection. Today, on World Digital Preservation Day, we are excited to share our story of how we aim to digitally preserve this wonderful collection.

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(What A) Wonderful World

Sharon McMeekin

Sharon McMeekin

Last updated on 27 November 2018

Back in February of this year I wrote a post for this blog describing work the DPC was embarking on to formalise our commitment to supporting inclusion and diversity in the digital preservation community. Then followed a lot of reading and research, discussions with people across the community, and numerous drafts and reviews of the document.

But, I am happy to report our Inclusion and Diversity Policy was published in June and launched at our yearly member’s unconference ‘Connecting the Bits’. There are a number of reasons why this is a topic that is important to me and I was honoured to have a chance to work on the policy. I must admit that it is perhaps the piece of work I am most proud of in my career to date.

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It’s not all technical, digital preservation at State Library NSW

Jo Fleming

Jo Fleming

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Joanna Fleming is Digital Curation Specialist for State Library of New South Wales


The State Library of New South Wales (the Library) is the oldest library in Australia, with a history dating back to 1826 and a collection of historical, cultural and informational significance documenting the heritage of Australia, New South Wales and Oceania.

The Library has a long history of collecting born-digital material and collection digitisation. However, systems, delivery, infrastructure, policy and practise required improvement to keep up with the demands of digital collecting and the expectations of readers. The Library also needed to be able to ensure the ongoing sustainability of digital collections. 

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Digital preservation as “communication with the future”? How really to do that?

José Borbinha

José Borbinha

Last updated on 28 November 2018

José Borbinha is Professor of Information Systems at IST / INESC-ID in Lisbon, Portugal


I am an engineer… as that, I’m “cursed” with the fundamental (lack of?) knowledge to understand the root causes of the digital preservation challenge… But let us not talk about that today! The crime was committed a long time ago, and the criminals have escaped for good… We have no option than to address it the best we can…

OK, so let us do all the necessary engineering for that! Let us move on!!! Let us analyse the problem, conceive the corresponding technological solutions, and… just do it! Correct? NO! WRONG!

It is wrong because even if it is true we need “engineering” to address the problem (good for me and my friends… we still have work… ;-), we also know it is not enough… Let us then restart…

My preferred definition for digital preservation is “communication with the future”. This was the slogan of the SHAMAN project (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/85468_en.html), but I’m sure we took it from someone else… unfortunately I could not trace it to its due source… my apologies!

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Developing a community code of conduct 

Jaye Weatherburn and Rachel Tropea

Jaye Weatherburn and Rachel Tropea

Last updated on 30 November 2018

Rachel Tropea is Senior Reseach Archivist and Jaye Weatherburn is Digital Preservation Officer at the University of Melbourne


Australasia Preserves is an active digital preservation community of practice for the Australasian region, established in February 2018 (http://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/digital-preservation-project/2018/03/06/australasia-preserves-establishing-a-digital-preservation-community-of-practice/). This community aims to nurture a community of learners, teachers, researchers, managers, and practitioners from a variety of professional and personal backgrounds and skill levels.  

A team from the University of Melbourne has committed time and resources during 2018 for organising online monthly meetups, featuring a variety of speakers and topics. The Twitter hashtag #AusPreserves is used to share information with the broader international digital preservation community.  

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No Time To Wait 3: Rough Consensus and Running Archives

Ashley Blewer

Ashley Blewer

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Ashley Blewer is AV Preservation Specialist for Artefactual Systems


 

Blewer 1

NTTW3 Group picture - Photo credit E. Verbruggen CC-BY

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Introducing ePADD

Glynn Edwards

Glynn Edwards

Last updated on 28 November 2018

Glynn Edwards, Josh Schneider and Peter Chan are part of the team at Stanford University Libraries


Email offers singular insight into and evidence of a person's self-expression, as well as records of collaboration, networks, and transactions. Email communications of prominent individuals, including politicians, writers, scholars, and the like, reveal not only their professional and personal actions, decisions, and creative output, but also relationships within society and communities. Thus, the appeal of email collections extends beyond historians to all manner of researchers, journalists, and the general public seeking to obtain insight into individuals and their lives.

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Community Cultivation and the Software Preservation Network

Jessica Meyerson

Jessica Meyerson

Last updated on 30 November 2018

Jessica Meyerson is Research Program Officer for Educopia Institute and coordinating member of the Software Preservation Network


Introduction

As the Software Preservation Network (SPN) makes its first attempt to transition from a grant-funded effort to a member and sponsor-supported community, we do so with an awareness that initiating a new collaborative effort looks very different, in terms of required skills and resources, from sustaining an existing collaborative effort. We are lucky to be informed by Educopia Institute’s Community Cultivation - A Field Guide (CCFG), which provides a comprehensive description of community growth both in terms of lifecycle stages (Formation, Validation, Acceleration, Transformation) and growth areas (Vision, Engagement, Infrastructure, Governance, and Finances & Human Resources).

I want to take this opportunity to map a subset of SPN’s activities using the CCFG with the goal of demonstrating SPN’s commitment to responsible development and to provide an example of how other digital preservation communities can use the field guide as a tool for assessment and development.

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The supermassive black hole in the middle of our current digital preservation strategies

Carl Grant

Carl Grant

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Carl Grant is Dean (Interim) for the University of Oklahoma Libraries


In July 2018, astronomers announced that they had located a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, our home galaxy. (Black holes are gravitational fields that have such intensity that when things enter, they disappear without a trace.)  Which reminded me of a concern I’ve been voicing about digital preservation for the last several years, i.e., the fact that we have no apparent organized strategy for preserving cloud-based services.

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PERSIST – UNESCO’s Commitment to Digital Heritage

David Fricker

David Fricker

Last updated on 20 November 2018

David Fricker is the Director-General National Archives of Australia and President of the International Council on Archives


For some time, UNESCO has recognised the transformative power of digital media as a creative engine of cultural heritage, and as a carrier through which culture is transmitted across populations and through time to future generations. Of particular concern, however, is the fragile nature of digital heritage and the risk that, as technology advances, so much of our digital heritage is lost through neglect or technological obsolescence. Back in 2003, in article 12 of its visionary Charter for the Preservation of the Digital Heritage, UNESCO defined its task ‘to serve as a reference point and a forum where Member States, intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector may join together in elaborating objectives, policies and projects in favour of the preservation of the digital heritage’.  More recently, in 2015, UNESCO adopted its Recommendation Concerning the Preservation and Access to Documentary Heritage, including in Digital Form, which calls upon member states to establish cooperation and dialogue between governments, social organisations, and the ICT industry, and to create practical solutions in the area of sustainable digital preservation.

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What Do We Need & What Can We Do Without for Digital Preservation Storage?

Andrea Goethals

Andrea Goethals

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Andrea Goethals is Digital Preservation Manager at the National Library of New Zealand


What We Learned by Playing Games at iPRES 2018

Over the last few years a group of us have been working on a list of criteria for storage that supports digital preservation (see version 3 at https://osf.io/sjc6u/). At the recent “Using the Digital Preservation Storage Criteria” iPRES 2018 workshop, we put the criteria to the test.

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Once Around the Sun: World Digital Preservation Day 2018

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 29 November 2018

At the point this blog is published, the calendars in Fiji and Auckland and Wellington will already have clicked over to 29th November.  As the sun sets over my hotel in Amsterdam it will have risen already on World Digital Preservation Day, so I have the privilege and pleasure of welcoming you all to World Digital Preservation Day 2018.    

Happy World Digital Preservation Day

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Expecting the Unexpected... World Digital Preservation Day

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 30 October 2018

You never quite know how some things are going to pan out, and that was certainly true for our first World Digital Preservation Day (formerly International Digital Preservation Day) in 2017. For those of you who weren’t involved in last year’s inaugural extravaganza, honestly it was one of my favorite DPC days ever - and for those who were, I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

In the hope that I can encourage even more people to join in the fun on 29th November, I shall endeavour to try and sum up why World Digital Preservation Day was SO great last year.

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Here comes the sun: IDPD17+1

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 1 December 2017

The sun has set now on International Digital Preservation Day (IDPD17) around the world, so, at the very last tick of the clocks on the most westerly reaches of the setting sun, we’d like to conclude by offering our thanks to colleagues in all time zones.

We have been astonished, delighted and massively energized by the numbers that participated, by the number of blogs, tweets, emails, messages on every media platform imaginable. There has been a significant effort of disk-imaging, file-migrating, and archive-describing. I never knew that ‘digital preservation cake’ was a thing but there’s been an awful lot of it in show; I didn’t know that a working ‘day’ could last for 39 hours; and I could scarcely have imagined the word ‘cryo-flux-a-thon’.  There has been enthusiasm and generosity, insight and commitment, and a wonderful sense of celebration at the gathering of our dynamic, diverse and dispersed community.

I think it is safe to say that our first International Digital Preservation Day has been a success. 

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Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group in Mexico City, 2019

Natalie M. Baur

Natalie M. Baur

Last updated on 1 December 2017

Natalie Baur is Preservation Librarian at Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas, El Colegio de México in Mexico City.


 The Biblioteca Daniel Cosío Villegas at the Colegio de México in Mexico City is thrilled to announce that we will be the hosts for the next Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group meeting! This exciting conference will be held at the Colegio de México’s installations from February 12-14, 2019, so save the date now! You will not want to miss this unique opportunity to talk digital preservation with colleagues from around the world. PASIG 2019 will be unique in that this is the very first time that the meeting will be held in a Latin American country. Mexico City is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that will afford lots of excellent discussion on digital preservation advances locally in Mexico and throughout the Caribbean and Latin American region. We plan to have many attendees from across the region present at the meeting and this new infusion of perspectives and experiences will undoubtedly reinvigorate discussions happening in the international digital preservation community.

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Creating a Linked Data version of PREMIS

Evelyn McLellan

Evelyn McLellan

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Evelyn McLellan is President of Artefactual Systems and member of the PREMIS Editorial Committee.


It has been a busy couple of years for the PREMIS Editorial Committee. Since June 2015, when we released version 3.0 of the PREMIS Data Dictionary, we have been revising and releasing supporting documentation such as revised Guidelines for using PREMIS with METS and Understanding PREMIS, and updating and enhancing the preservation vocabularies, particularly the eventType vocabulary.

Perhaps the biggest undertaking, however, has been the preparation of a new OWL ontology by a working group that includes some members of the Editorial Committee plus external Linked Data experts and preservation practitioners. This is a work in progress and we are hoping to release a draft soon for a period of public review and feedback.

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Losing the Battle to Archive the Web

David S. H. Rosenthal

David S. H. Rosenthal

Last updated on 7 December 2017

David S. H. Rosenthal is a retired Chief Scientist for the LOCKSS Program at Stanford Libraries. 


Nearly one-third of a trillion Web pages at the Internet Archive is impressive, but in 2014 I reviewed the research into how much of the Web was then being collected and concluded:

Somewhat less than half ... Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why this simplistic assessment is wildly optimistic.

Costa et al ran surveys in 2010 and 2014 and concluded in 2016:

during the last years there was a significant growth in initiatives and countries hosting these initiatives, volume of data and number of contents preserved. While this indicates that the web archiving community is dedicating a growing effort on preserving digital information, other results presented throughout the paper raise concerns such as the small amount of archived data in comparison with the amount of data that is being published online.
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Digitization Is Not Digital Preservation

Peter Zhou

Peter Zhou

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Peter Zhou is Director and Assistant University Librarian at University of California, Berkeley


Over the past decade, I have spoken frequently at conferences on both sides of the Pacific, on digital information management and digital preservation, and I have just as frequently encountered academic leaders, librarians, and information specialists working under the misconception that digitization somehow equals digital preservation.

To many, converting print or analog content to a digital format and transferring the converted content to a disk, server, or other storage devices is an exercise in digital preservation. I usually point out that digital conversion makes content digital, but it cannot and will not guarantee that the digitized content can or will be preserved for an unspecified period to come, since the new format may become old, obsolete, or unusable in a matter of a few years—and then there are the problems of format reconciliation, checksum, error correction, data storage, and data migration, all of which are critical components of a robust digital preservation operation, whereas by simply storing the digital content and doing nothing else, one will miss all those vital steps.

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Digital Preservation 2007-2017

Art Pasquinelli

Art Pasquinelli

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Art Pasquinelli is LOCKSS Partnerships Manager at Stanford University Libraries in Palo Alto, California USA


Pasquinelli 2

I wanted to take the opportunity of the International Digital Preservation Day to do a retrospective on how we have evolved with regards to Preservation and permanent access over the last decade. So, I looked at two agenda snapshots; one from one of the earliest Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group's (PASIG) meetings in May 2008 and the other the latest meeting in Oxford in September 2017. The initial meeting can be seen at http://www.preservationandarchivingsig.org/index.html and the latest one can be viewed at https://pasig.figshare.com/pasigoxford. After looking at the content of the two Preservation meetings I came away with a very positive impression. Here are a few reasons why I feel so upbeat. 

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It’s difficult to solve a problem if you don’t know what’s wrong

Shira Peltzman

Shira Peltzman

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Shira Peltzman is Digital Archivist for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Library Special Collections


Buried in the recently published findings from the 2017 NDSA Staffing Survey is evidence of a growing discontent among practitioners with regard to their organization’s approach to digital preservation. The survey asks respondents whether or not they agreed with the following statement: “The way our digital preservation function is currently organized (staffing levels, expertise, where they are placed within the larger organization) works well.” Of the 133 people who took the survey, 61 of them, or roughly 46%, either disagreed or strongly disagreed with that statement.

Peltzman 1

“Q16 - The way our digital preservation function is currently organized (staffing levels,  expertise, where they are placed within the larger organization) works well. [133 respondents]”] Taken from “Staffing for Effective Digital Preservation 2017 An NDSA Report”: http://ndsa.org/documents/Report_2017DigitalPreservationStaffingSurvey.pdf

To say that those numbers aren’t great would be an understatement. To make matters even worse, they represent an increase from the 2012 iteration of the survey, in which 34% of participants reported that they were unsatisfied with how things were organized.

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Lossy Accelerant: Surfeit and Fragment in Digital Collections Archives

Jefferson Bailey

Jefferson Bailey

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Jefferson Bailey is Director of Web Archiving Programs for The Internet Archive in the USA


Archival collections have always been incomplete. Being homogenous, selective groups of records preserved through time, they support attestation and evidentiary consideration only through their longitudinal availability. Multiple appraisal, selection, and processing strategies have developed over the history of the archival endeavor to address the ways in which the archival collection is, by nature, a partial or symbolic representation. From documentation strategy to the study of “archival silences,” both archivists and users alike have grappled with the challenges of incompleteness inherent in the archive. The emergence of born-digital records, and the ease of their creation, alteration, and publication, has compounded these challenges by introducing a documentary environment that is at once more rich and more easily  preserved, but also more dynamic, more ephemeral, and more partial. Furthermore, digital records have introduced their own characteristics of incompleteness: bit corruption, format migration, rendering and technological dependence, and other vulnerabilities that can impede recreation or interpretation.

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What we’ve done well, and some things we still need to figure out

David Minor

David Minor

Last updated on 1 December 2017

David Minor is Director of the Research Data Curation Program at the University of San Diego Library and formerly the Chronopolis Program Manager


I’ve worked in the Digital Preservation field for about a dozen years, and have had the good fortune to see a number of generations pass. I’d like to offer some thoughts on what we’ve done well, and some things we still need to figure out.

What we’ve done well:

  • Technology. In many ways, we’ve “solved” many of the digital preservation technology issues. Can we preserve bits for years and years? Yes. Can we move these bits around multiple locations and service backends and guarantee their persistence? Yes. Can we migrate data through various data types and outputs? Yes. (If we need to. Still an open question.) In many ways, the digital preservation community has made enormous strides in infrastructure that would have stymied us in the recent past. Can we do better? Of course. Will there be new technologies that come along and cause us to rethink everything we’ve done up to now? Hopefully. But if not, well, we can do our jobs, and we can do them well.
  • Variety of options. A striking facet of our community is the range of non/not-for profit options that 100% compete with commercial fare. We don’t celebrate this enough. Other significant segments of the digital library landscape have struggled with this for decades with little success. Today an organization that wants to contract with a preservation service can choose from at least a half dozen community-driven efforts, that are at least as good (if not better) than expensive commercial offerings. This is completely beyond awesome. It shows both the need for digital preservation across wide swaths of organizations and enterprises, as well as the dedication of large groups of people to solve thorny issues.
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Where is the real risk?

Carl Grant

Carl Grant

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Carl Grant is Associate Dean/Chief Technology Officer at University of Oklahoma Libraries


It’s always one of my goals in my role, to watch emerging technologies and to try and identify those that, per the model Geoffrey Moore established, will “cross the chasm” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Chasm ) and have an impact in research and pedagogy.  This is always a risky move.  You can be totally wrong, spend a fair amount of money and have little to show at the end.  Or you can be right and be a leader in helping deploy that technology in addition to being well positioned to capture the historical record surrounding it.  

Too many librarians are extremely risk adverse, due to typically working in a publicly funded institution. I understand why that makes so many hesitant to take a risky approach. But I wonder if they’re weighing the right risk? In my mind, I want the library to be seen as a place to come and try out new technology, a place where people can get help evaluating the pluses and minuses of that technology and help in using it to pursue their pedagogical and research goals.  I want them to see the library as a place of engagement, exploration, innovation and synthesis.  We can’t do sitting on the sidelines. Especially, in a world where technology is advancing as rapidly as it is today.  Doing so is to risk being seen as obsolete, a problem I hear all too many colleagues moaning about being the perception of their library on their campuses. 

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Digital Preservation Opportunities at ICPSR

Jared Lyle

Jared Lyle

Last updated on 1 December 2017

Jared Lyle is Archivist and Director for ICPSR Curation Services and the DDI Alliance in Michigin, USA


The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), a social and behavioral science data archive based within the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, is happy to celebrate the first ever International Digital Preservation Day.  ICPSR curates, preserves and shares 10,000+ data collections.  We also provide educational opportunities, including our Summer Program in Quantitative Methods and Social Research, and conduct data stewardship research projects

ICPSR has been preserving data collections for over 50 years.  Over the decades, we’ve archived data from punched cards and floppy disks and other media, as well as data in a wide range of formats, including now-decommissioned OSIRIS dictionaries written in EBCDIC.  We still do the occasional legacy conversion, such as rescuing data from a pioneering 1950s study of retirement, although the majority of data we acquire today arrive in more modern formats, such as SAS, SPSS, Stata, and R.  Regardless of the age, type, or shape of the data, preservation opportunities and challenges abound.

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Networked Approach to Preserving Software

Jessica Meyerson

Jessica Meyerson

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Jessica Meyerson is Research Program Officer for Educopia Institute in Austin, Texas, United States


One of key characteristic of information infrastructure outlined by Star & Ruhleder (1996) is that is ‘becomes visible on breakdown.’[1] While software does in fact breakdown, requiring patches or upgrades, as digital materials move from active use to the reuse context of cultural memory organizations, software breakdown can be understood as the inability to support meaningful access to digital information (ie, scientific or social scientific data, born-digital manuscript materials, complex models of the built environment) due to software dependencies and their associated challenges. This breakdown not only shines light on software (as cultural heritage itself and a tool for accessing existing digital cultural heritage), it makes visible the social structures and practices in which software is embedded – is a comprehensive breakdown of social structures to support information access including communication, legal systems and markets. By thinking about software as infrastructure we gain insight into ways in which software preservation fits into broader digital preservation practice as well as approaches that may prove to be the most effective in addressing the challenges of software preservation.

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