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A Framework Enabling the Preservation of Government Electronic Records

Leslie Johnston & Elizabeth England

Leslie Johnston & Elizabeth England

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Leslie Johnston is the Director of Digital Preservation and Elizabeth England is a Digital Preservation Specialist at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.


NARA supports digital preservation in a comprehensive manner, including guidance for record creators and record transfers, tools for processing archivists, services for copying records from legacy media, preservation strategy and file format plans, and the cloud based ERA 2.0 processing and preservation repository. Most recently, a NARA cross-agency team developed an extensible Digital Preservation Framework, which was publicly released in 2020 for adaptation and use across the digital stewardship community. The Framework is available on GitHub at https://github.com/usnationalarchives/digital-preservation, including a machine readable version of the format plans.

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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 Social Media Archive – now bigger, more comprehensive and searchable

Claire Newing

Claire Newing

Last updated on 4 November 2020

Claire Newing is a Web Archivist at The National Archives, UK. 


I’m really excited to be writing about how The National Archives (UK) has improved our social media archive. Different types of social media content are listed as either ‘Endangered’ or ‘Critically Endangered’ on the DPC ‘Bit List’ of Digitally Endangered Species so it seems like an appropriate subject for World Digital Preservation Day 2020.

We originally launched our social media archive in 2014 following a project we worked on with our former technical supplier, Internet Memory Research (IMR), to develop a method of capturing YouTube and Twitter content. My colleague, Tom Storrar, wrote about the project in detail in this post on The National Archives Blog: https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archiving-social-media/.

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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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