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Archivists, automation, data & content: scoping imaginative archiving at BBC Scotland

Charlie McCann

Charlie McCann

Last updated on 2 August 2018

Charlie McCann is Archive Manager for BBC Scotland


Here at the cultural and current affairs coalface of BBC Scotland’s archives we’re getting used to a new position under the corporation’s Scottish commissioning wing and taking the opportunity to shift our gaze a little and do some more work to focus on the fruit of all our data preservation labours: our collections’ content. To be perfectly honest, it feels a little as if we’ve been neglecting “the content” of late, focussing so much as we do on “the data”- cleaning it, giving it a machine-readable makeover, digitising it into new formats and storage, figuring out new ways of sending it zooming around the globe at fantastical speeds and even building it a digital library to live in- generally working terribly hard to take very good care of all those zeros and ones. All of this has doubtlessly created new methods and means of security, stability and accessibility, but it has also raised a great many new questions and challenges for archivists. For example, has the tumultuous environment of the tech-driven approach to archiving caused us to lose something of our metaphysical understanding of our collections and in turn let our users and stakeholders down?

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Designing a Program for Digital Preservation: Building the Momentum for Change

Faye Lemay

Faye Lemay

Last updated on 4 January 2019

Faye Lemay is Digital Preservation Manager at Library and Archives Canada


The team at Library and Archives Canada have written a 4-part series for the blog. This is the first installment...


In the past three years, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has intensified its efforts to improve its capabilities to preserve Canada’s documentary heritage. In a bid to step up its mandate to preserve and protect Canada’s digital holdings, the Digital Preservation (DP) team has forged a new path, converting what was once a series of short-term projects aimed at stabilizing the current infrastructure into building a strong foundation for an enduring and sustainable program. The main driver accelerating the momentum toward program development has been organizational support from the most senior levels of management at LAC, providing the impetus to set new directions for change.

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Four Capabilities sought in Digital Archiving

Phil Clegg

Phil Clegg

Last updated on 25 July 2018

Phil Clegg is Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of MirrorWeb


We were recently invited to join the first episode of the Digital Preservation Futures webinar series by the DPC.

The webinar provided a valuable opportunity for us to learn more about the digital archiving community. We were also able to share what we have learned from projects we’ve worked on across the public and private sectors, as well as what our customers look for in a digital archiving and preservation solution.

In our experience, there are four key capabilities our customers seek from a digital archiving solution. In collaboration with our partners at TNA, we developed a set of procedures we call C.A.P.S:

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On Hearing the Learn'd Astronomer

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 24 July 2018

The last DPC staff meeting ended somewhat surprisingly with a number of late night poetry recitals.  In honour of that unexpected turn I am going to start this post in the company of Walt Whitman:

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The challenge of complex digital files

David Heelas

David Heelas

Last updated on 18 July 2018

Dave Heelas is the Archivist and Records Manager for Unilever Art, Archives & Records Management


I have been in my role as an Archivist and Records Manager here at Unilever Art, Archives & Records Management (UAARM) for three months now, the focus of my role is to lead on the Digital and Audio Visual collections. We are taking stock of our current digital preservation practices and in order to determine what challenges we may encounter in the future and how we can develop our current approach to digital preservation.

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A new era in collaboration in digital preservation research

Jon Tilbury

Jon Tilbury

Last updated on 29 June 2018

Jon Tilbury is the Founder and CTO of Preservica


You may have seen the announcement this week about a joint project funded by Jisc and combing the research efforts of Arkivum, Archivematica, Preservica and the Open Preservation Foundation to share information on digital preservation best practice. As part of this new team I am happy to share my thoughts on how it came about and where it could lead to. This could be the start of a new era in collaborative research between all the innovators in digital preservation and could deliver two very important benefits – to make digital preservation better and to make it easier.

Having worked in Digital Preservation for approaching 20 years it is one of my personal frustrations that many islands of best practice are isolated from each other and shared only through local groups, at conferences and within certain product communities. Many never get further than the originating institution despite the creativity and detailed research that has gone into them. This is ironic as the community is largely non-competitive and is happy to learn from each other but lacks an efficient mechanism to do so. At several PASIG talks I urged for more collaboration between all the players in this field.

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Notes from Connecting the Bits

Last updated on 20 June 2018

Rachel MacGregor is the Digital Archivist at Lancaster University


We are members of the Digital Preservation Coalition which is a members organisation which exists to secure our digital legacy. Members include businesses, HE institutions, funding bodies, national heritage and cultural organisations and are drawn from every continent.

Last week all members were invited to the annual un-conference where we come together not only to share experiences and network but also to help set the Digital Preservation Coalition’s training and development agenda for the year ahead. The ideas is that members have the opportunity to raise the issues which really matter to them and then discuss how the DPC can take action to move forward on these issues.

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At Your Service?!

Hervé L'Hours

Hervé L'Hours

Last updated on 11 June 2018

So… many of us are offering services around repositories and archives and the data they contain. But the different uses of the term ‘service’ can muddy the water. The UK Data Archive name implies a traditional OAIS-style preservation repository but we’ve always provide additional ‘services’ and through the UK Data Service we belong to a partnership whose name puts a ‘service’ at the heart of the brand. For us these include the archival services of deposit, curation and data publishing, but also extensive support and training.

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(Remotely) Connecting the Bits

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 4 June 2018

Connecting the Bits and Digital Preservation Futures are the two most important events on the calendar* which allow our members to let us know about the challenges they are facing, the support they need over the next year and any views they have on the way we do things. Plus, they are good fun and a great excuse to catch up with people we haven't managed to see over the previous 12 months...

*If any members are reading this and are planning on attending, but haven’t signed up yet, registration will close tomorrow!

Register for both events now.

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The EC Vision of our Access and Preservation Mission

Hervé L'Hours

Hervé L'Hours

Last updated on 25 May 2018

On the 25th of April this year (2018) the European Commission released its Recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific information Brussels, 25.4.2018 C(2018) 2375 final (author resists temptation of side-rant on ISO standard date formats). This work by Mariya Gabriel and Carlos Moedas replaces that by Neelie Kroes (then Commission Vice-President) back in 2012. This revision ”recognises that big data and high-performance computing are changing the way research is performed and knowledge is shared, as part of a transition towards a more efficient and responsive open science". This is particularly timely as the UK Data Service is working with international colleagues on the SERISS project to consider the legal, ethical, quality and archival practice implications of  'new and novel' forms of  big data. 

The paper is not long and it's pretty comprehensible, so you may wish to skip these whimsical musings and got straight to the real thing.

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