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.

Although there have been many issues which have arisen in the delivery of these aims, I am going to focus on those relating to trust and security. The system would only be implemented by ARCW partners if it were demonstrably trustworthy and secure. These partners, which include local authority archive services, higher education institutions and national bodies, have differing governance and security provisions.  In order to answer their varied requirements, a survey was undertaken to discover the security conditions expected for data transfer and storage.  Responses indicated that any solution would have to satisfy the demands of Public Services Network, NCSC cloud Security Principles and Cyber Essentials Plus. The system has been designed to satisfy these requirements, so that the decision makers can be assured that the data will be maintained in alignment with  their standards.

The security of the system depends upon keeping up to date with changing technology, but this presented a significant challenge.  The workflow developed for the partners links Archivematica to Fedora, the NLW’s digital asset management system. The partners content is uploaded and ingested into Archivematica, managed by Fedora and stored in the NLW digital archive.  Due to security concerns, as well as the ability to increase interoperability and scalability, it was decided to upgrade Fedora  from version 3.8 to version 5.  As all the system linkages had been configured for Archivematica to version 3.8, the upgrade required considerable work to enable the systems to continue to integrate.

The use of the system by the partners revealed another aspect of security to be addressed. The partners required the facility to upload both open access and restricted content. Although it was relatively straightforward to manage uploads which had the same status, uploads which included both closed and open data presented more of a challenge, but a solution was developed and it is now possible for mixed status content to be managed.      

The work of the ARCW Digital Preservation Group in supporting trust and security through developing  a policy framework, supported by a technical infrastructure to ensure access to, and the preservation of, authentic, trustworthy and secure data, was recognised by being shortlisted for the Paperless Awards, 2019 under the Data and Information Security Category.

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