Lee Hibberd

Lee Hibberd

Last updated on 3 November 2021

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

For many years the National Library of Scotland has talked about joining the great and the good and certifying our digital preservation and access activities against CoreTrustSeal (https://www.coretrustseal.org/). If you’re unfamiliar with Core Trust Seal it is a certification scheme for trustworthy data repositories. Sixteen core criteria are assessed and it's up to you to provide evidence of how your institution satisfies each of them.

Part 1 of this blog is an account of our positive experience up to the point of submitting our application for review in summer 2021. Part 2 will cover “what happened next” and some of the challenges we faced along the way. This will come shortly after gaining the seal. We’re not being presumptuous here – we are simply committed to undertaking any additional work we need to do to demonstrate our competence to the reviewers. The point of the application is not to gain a shiny badge but to improve what we do, and this sentiment is well shared in blogs by other DPC members (see box below with some links).

So let's move from the pulpit to the Romans in Monty Python and list some things that CoreTrustSeal has done for us.

  1. Accelerated the formation of a governing body for digital preservation that appropriately shares responsibility for the Library's core mandates to safeguard and provide access to its collections.

  2. Expanded the involvement of the preservation team, and by proxy, collection owners as key stakeholders for public access services.

  3. Made us think very hard about our designated communities, our commitments to them and the limits on understandability we can provide. As Leontien Talboom and David Underdown discuss in their blog (see box below), defining designated communities for a wide range of people for a wide range of content is particularly challenging.

  4. Created a number of missing pieces of documentation: A Data Integrity Policy; a Digital Preservation Risk Register; a workplan agreed by our digital preservation governors; and several others.

  5. Increased the public transparency of our work. We have taken the step to make all supporting evidence in our application available to the public online. If CoreTrustSeal request information of a more sensitive nature then we will treat it as a Freedom of Information request, redact as necessary and then make it publicly available.

  6. Increased the accessibility of our documentation. We have taken the opportunity to make our policies, procedures and other evidence more accessible by standardising font styles, ensuring they support screen-readers and moving the one or more bureaucratic pages commonly found at the start of policies to the back.

  7. Made documentation easier to maintain. All of the Library’s own documentation used as supporting evidence has been given a DOI persistent identifier. This is especially important for documents that reference other documents because if changes are made to the name or location of the documents this can be managed behind the scenes without having to republish all related documents. This has made us think about new and improved processes to manage our documentation across the Library not just within the digital preservation team.

  8. Committed the Library to completing some urgent work within the next couple of years. This includes full digital preservation and access plans for all of the content we preserve, and a scoping exercise to quantify the methods and resources to safeguard legacy media spread throughout the Library.

  9. Highlighted how helpful the CoreTrustSeal team is. We’ve had several discussions with them while preparing for our submission and have welcomed their willingness to listen to our ideas and provide us with guidance.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Keep an eye out for Part 2, keep your fingers crossed for us and have a read of some of the other certification experiences DPC members have had. And don't forget to thank the Romans for aqueducts, sanitation, roads, medicine, education………

Some related reads:

Scroll to top