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?

Certification processes are a long way from being my favorite topic. I am a fan of format identification, validation, risk management, preservation planning and quality control; that’s what I consider to be “my Digital Preservation passion”. That’s what I am in for it. And not some cumbersome, sometimes redundant questionnaire that I am not always fit or allowed to answer all by myself, so I have to bug my workmates and bosses to help me, who just cry out “A certification question yet again?”.

Luckily, certification does get a lot easier if you are doing it for the second time. Or third time. Although questions and depths vary – the nestor Seal is surely much more thorough than the Data Seal of Approval – we can build on documentation and policies we already have published or at least developed internally. That’s why the Core Trust Seal so far is comparatively easy to do, as only one question seems to head in a direction we have not yet fully investigated (#8: Appraisal) for one of the other certification processes. But of course, we have to update our documentation and answer the questions for collections that we have begun to archive only since we have acquired the nestor Seal.

Because: in certification I believe.

It is not so much that I think trust would be scarce if we didn’t go after that shiny seal. Especially as we archive only what we do host as a library in the first place and do not do this as a service for other institutions.

However, I like the side effects. Our policies now are openly available and usually very up to date. (Link: https://www.zbw.eu/en/about-us/key-activities/digital-preservation/preservation-policy/)

We check our workflows and our documentation regularly and can update them for daily work, if they are not common practice any more. Certification answers are good for re-evaluating. There is no “This is as we have always done it” without knowing why we are doing it. We check if this still is the best way. We ask the workmates responsible for representations platform access (as we only have a Dark Digital Archive without access for outside users) the same questions every 1-2 years and are up to date to what is changing for them and our users. We are forced to adjust to and document changes in copyright law and privacy policies. Our IT-infrastructure for Digital Preservation is tested in terms of security and safety. We can compare ourselves to other institutions that have acquired certification and see where we can improve.

It’s a cumbersome process, if you do not have the right temper for it (I don’t, I am all for benchmarking tools and looking deep into defective files). But as I consider this important for our overall process, we will do it yet again.

We might take a break in 2019 again. A short one. Because: After the certification is before the certification.

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