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PERSIST – UNESCO’s Commitment to Digital Heritage

David Fricker

David Fricker

Last updated on 20 November 2018

David Fricker is the Director-General National Archives of Australia and President of the International Council on Archives


For some time, UNESCO has recognised the transformative power of digital media as a creative engine of cultural heritage, and as a carrier through which culture is transmitted across populations and through time to future generations. Of particular concern, however, is the fragile nature of digital heritage and the risk that, as technology advances, so much of our digital heritage is lost through neglect or technological obsolescence. Back in 2003, in article 12 of its visionary Charter for the Preservation of the Digital Heritage, UNESCO defined its task ‘to serve as a reference point and a forum where Member States, intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector may join together in elaborating objectives, policies and projects in favour of the preservation of the digital heritage’.  More recently, in 2015, UNESCO adopted its Recommendation Concerning the Preservation and Access to Documentary Heritage, including in Digital Form, which calls upon member states to establish cooperation and dialogue between governments, social organisations, and the ICT industry, and to create practical solutions in the area of sustainable digital preservation.

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What Do We Need & What Can We Do Without for Digital Preservation Storage?

Andrea Goethals

Andrea Goethals

Last updated on 20 November 2018

Andrea Goethals is Digital Preservation Manager at the National Library of New Zealand


What We Learned by Playing Games at iPRES 2018

Over the last few years a group of us have been working on a list of criteria for storage that supports digital preservation (see version 3 at https://osf.io/sjc6u/). At the recent “Using the Digital Preservation Storage Criteria” iPRES 2018 workshop, we put the criteria to the test.

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Once Around the Sun: World Digital Preservation Day 2018

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 29 November 2018

At the point this blog is published, the calendars in Fiji and Auckland and Wellington will already have clicked over to 29th November.  As the sun sets over my hotel in Amsterdam it will have risen already on World Digital Preservation Day, so I have the privilege and pleasure of welcoming you all to World Digital Preservation Day 2018.    

Happy World Digital Preservation Day

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Minimum Viable Preservation

Matthew Addis

Matthew Addis

Last updated on 12 November 2018

A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a common term in the tech sector to describe something that has just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.   A similar term 'Minimal Viable Preservation' came up in discussion at iPRES this year during the apres-ipres unconference that followed.  Many organisations have a large volume of digital material that needs some form of basic treatment to 'stabilise it' from a preservation point of view pending more detailed action to be taken in the future (when budgets and resources permit!).  This is just like a product MVP - just enough to satisfy initial preservation needs and giving an understanding of what's needed in the future.  In many cases I suspect this 'basic treatment' might be all the attention that some content will get.  The best laid intentions today of 'further action' in the future can often become lost in the deluge of new content and new challenges that institutions face when that future arrives.  That's why some form of Minimal Viable Preservation done today can be so important - especially when automated and made cost-effective at scale so it can be applied as a matter of routine - and we all know that if something isn't routine then there's the very real chance that it won't get done at all!

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Expecting the Unexpected... World Digital Preservation Day

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 30 October 2018

You never quite know how some things are going to pan out, and that was certainly true for our first World Digital Preservation Day (formerly International Digital Preservation Day) in 2017. For those of you who weren’t involved in last year’s inaugural extravaganza, honestly it was one of my favorite DPC days ever - and for those who were, I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

In the hope that I can encourage even more people to join in the fun on 29th November, I shall endeavour to try and sum up why World Digital Preservation Day was SO great last year.

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Doing Digital Preservation

Adam Harwood

Adam Harwood

Last updated on 22 October 2018

Adam Harwood is Research Data and Digital Preservation Technologist at the University of Sussex


For two and a half years we have been talking about doing digital preservation here in Special Collections at the University of Sussex.  We've also been convincing various people that we should be doing digital preservation.  We've been holding meetings, giving presentations, obtaining resources, evaluating products, reading blogs, figuring out integrations, working through possible workflows, attending conferences and workshops, collaborating with researchers and trying to figure out a forensics process.  And learning - we've been doing a hell of a lot of learning.  Two and a half years of being a digital preservation professional and I've not done a single bit of any actual digital preservation.  Sure, I've played with a few pieces of software, calculated checksums, generated METS files and BagIt folders, but only in the name of learning.

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Taking Stock after 15 years Panel at iPres 2018

Colin Armstrong

Colin Armstrong

Last updated on 19 October 2018

Colin Armstrong is a Disc Imaging Technician at the British Library and attended iPRES 2018 with support from the DPC's Leadership Programme which is generously funded by DPC Supporters


One of the later sessions I attended at iPRES 2018 was the ‘Taking Stock after 15 years at iPres 2018’ panel session. The speakers on the Panel were Barbara Sierman (Digital Preservation Manager in the Research Department at the National Library of the Netherlands), Sheila Morrissey (Senior Researcher at Portico), and Maureen Pennock (Head of Digital Preservation at the British Library), with the general theme being what has worked and what hasn’t worked in the preservation of digital artefacts, and what to expect in the coming years.

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Learning from our past: Recent digital preservation initiatives at LAC

Faye Lemay

Faye Lemay

Last updated on 4 January 2019

Faye Lemay is Digital Preservation Manager at Library and Archives Canada


This is part 2 of a 4-part series on Digital Preservation at Library and Archives Canada. Part 1 is posted here:  https://www.dpconline.org/blog/building-momentum-for-change


In part 2 of this series, we describe the recent initiatives at LAC leading up to the creation of the Strategy for a Digital Preservation Program.

In the early 2010’s, the Digital Preservation business unit was a fledgling team. There were multiple internal and external pressures on LAC to beef up its digital preservation capacity, such as an accelerating volume of digital materials that needed to be preserved for the long-term.  In 2014, the Auditor General of Canada had issued a report raising questions about the readiness of LAC to handle digital records as the format of choice by 2017. It stated that LAC “must articulate these plans in its vision, mission and objectives.  It must put in place strategies, policies and procedures that will allow the transfer and preservation of digital information so that it is accessible to current and future generations”. The audit report highlighted “the need for an electronic archival system such as a trusted digital repository to acquire, preserve and facilitate access to the digital collection”.

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Web Preservation at iPRES 2018

Colin Armstrong

Colin Armstrong

Last updated on 19 October 2018

Colin Armstrong is a Disc Imaging Technician at the British Library and attended iPRES 2018 with support from the DPC's Leadership Programme which is generously funded by DPC Supporters


It is important to state fae the off that web preservation and internet archiving is not something I am particularly familiar with; so I was pleased to attend the morning paper presentations on web preservation and get tae grips with the terminology, learn about some practical theories in identifying and measuring web page similarity, understand how different web archive collections are created, and learn about some of the tools used to detect when collections go off-topic.

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Researching malware at the British Library

Evanthia Samaras

Evanthia Samaras

Last updated on 4 October 2018

I have recently travelled from Melbourne, Australia to work on a three-month research project with the Digital Preservation Team at the British Library. This project will explore the role of virus checking in long-term collection management and digital preservation.

Computer viruses are a form of malware—an umbrella term which refers to various types of ‘malicious software,’ including viruses, spyware, ransomware, worms and Trojan horses (Symantec Corporation n.d.). Viruses are programs that can be disruptive and destructive to computer environments by displaying unwanted messages, deleting files or removing the BIOS (basic input/output system) so that the computer can no longer start up.

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