Kickstart Cymru includes several strands of work which have contributed to the overall aim of increasing digital preservation capacity in Wales.


CC_Vital_records.jpgAddressing a specific issue: Welsh Vital Digital Information Project (WVIP)

In June 2020, funding was awarded to a partnership of six archive services under the Welsh Government’s Local Government Digital Transformation Fund. The aim of the fund was to support local government collaboration to solve shared problems. The issue identified was the need to provide long term access and to preserve records on business systems with operational lifespans less than the need to preserve the records. Research was commissioned by a partnership of 6 archive services and the tender was awarded to Kevinjbolton Ltd who undertook the research for the discovery phase, reporting to a Project Steering Group managed by the Glamorgan Archivist/Cardiff City Council. The discovery phase aimed to:

  • Understand the barriers or issues, strategic, organizational and technological, involved with providing long term access to Council records.

  • Develop a proposed solution to the problem, and help to develop the next phase of any work required to move this process on.

A comprehensive report was generated by the consultants which provided a roadmap. Following the report, a tender was published to evaluate the technical solutions for managing long term access to council records, particularly those that are sensitive and have to be preserved for a long period. Preservica won the contract and have been working with local authorities across Wales to test solutions and developing a report which provides options to continue the work.


Building skills: Saving the Bits Programme

This programme, which was delivered on Teams from June-December 2021, aimed to build skills through knowledge exchange and practical demonstrations to assist with developing workflows and processes. The six sessions were delivered by NLW staff with varied strategic and practical knowledge. Over 100 people attended the sessions, including those from Archives and Records Council Wales (ARCW), the library, museum, academic and other public sectors. Although ARCW members were aware of Archivematica, which is the open source solution developed by the NLW for managing and preserving digital content, the audience included those who were not using Archivematica. Therefore digital preservation workflows and processes were demonstrated using Archivematica, with its built in tools and also through a manual workflow based on a Windows 10 operating system, installed with tools with user-friendly GUIs, such as AVG, Antivirus, Teracopy, AVP Fixity, Droid and Jhove. As well as providing alternative methods of undertaking the same preservation actions, unforeseen issues were also identified through the process, such as the Iffy Tiffy, an account of which was published on the DPC blog:

During the sessions, the chat function was used to raise issues and ask questions, which were addressed by the team. Issues raised included digital accessioning, the use of a separate Wifi network for transfer and storage media. The feedback was positive and the recordings of the sessions, together with the training material and supporting documentation, are available on the Archives Wales site (


Practical preservation: Start Up Kits

The training programme identified the elements required for robust digital acquisition, including the need to ensure the integrity of externally generated data before it is ingested into central IT systems.

The need for a stand alone system was identified, together with hardware and software to manage digital content, which could then be stored within the organizational infrastructure or transferred to Archivematica and NLW system. An application to the Welsh Government was submitted to procure 14 Start Up Kits for local authorities across Wales. These bundles included all the software and hardware needed to establish a stand alone workstation and workflow for preserving digital content.


Documention co-creation

The National Library of Wales’s new strategy: A Library for Wales and the World places a focus on contemporary collection and digital skills. Although the Library has a well developed preservation workflow for digitized content, more emphasis had been placed on supporting born digital workflows for ARCW than for content transferred to the Library itself. The new strategy supported the creation of a new team which had skills in archive management, systems and storage. One of the first tasks was to refine the digital acquisition process to ensure that digital content which was transferred by external sources was authentic, reliable and preservable over time. This involved the necessary documentation and transfer mechanism to be developed. A digital access form and guidelines for digital transfer were developed, which required input from donors.

In order to ascertain if the transfer method would work for external users, an interactive session was undertaken with Aberystwyth University students who were asked to follow the guidelines, complete the form and metadata template and transfer content to the Library through WeTransfer. The exercise provided information which was then incorporated into the processes, including the use of screenshots to assist the guidelines, dating protocols and the importance of using lower case in file names!

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