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.

The CoreTrustSeal Data Repository certification requirements address several staple digital preservation issues, including funding, integrity, authenticity, metadata, and storage.  All of these are important and meaty issues.  But "R10. The repository assumes responsibility for long-term preservation and manages this function in a planned and documented way" stuck out to me. To perform any of the subsequent preservation actions on deposited data, a repository first must ensure a documented transfer of custody, with the repository given permission "to copy, transform, and store the items, as well as provide access to them?"  ICPSR's own deposit agreement uses very similar language, with the depositor granting ICPSR permission "To store, translate, copy or re-format the Data Collection in any way to ensure its future preservation and accessibility."

Sometimes, preservation actions consist of simple but significant words added to legal agreements.

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