DPC Meeting on Preservation Metadata

The Digital Preservation Coalition has commissioned a series of Technology Watch reports on themes known to be of key interest to DPC members. The authors of the Technology Watch Report on Preservation Metadata (PDF 209KB) - Brian Lavoie, OCLC, and Richard Gartner, University of Oxford - agreed to lead an informal meeting of DPC members, many of whom have an active interest in this area..

Attendance was open to DPC members only and there was no charge. Numbers were limited to a maximum of thirty, to allow scope for interaction.

An overview of the meeting is provided by Michael Day's presentation (PDF 121KB)

Presentations in the meeting:

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DPC Briefing on OAIS

The DPC held a briefing day on the OAIS model on 4th April 2006 at the York Innovation Centre. The purpose of the day was to examine the model and provide an informal but in-depth look at the practical application of the Open Archival Information System [OAIS] model in various UK institutions. OAIS is a high-level reference model which describes the functions of a digital archive and has been used as a model for a number of digital archiving repositories. It is now a recognized and highly-prominent international standard.

There were four presentations in total, all of which presented interesting case-studies and examples of OAIS implementation in a variety of institutions, giving a valuable overview of how it has been interpreted and applied.

Najla Semple, Digital Preservation Coalition, began the day with an overview of OAIS and her experience of implementing the model at Edinburgh University Library in 2002 (Overview of OAIS PDF 1MB). She gave a summary of the pilot project and how she used the model to digitally archive the online University Calendar. Each of the six OAIS processes were examined and used as part of the archival workflow. She also gave an overview of the detailed OAIS metadata scheme that was implemented.

Jen Mitcham, Curatorial Officer at the Archaeology Data Service [ADS] presented next (Working with OAIS PDF 2.6MB). Her approach to OAIS was different from that of Edinburgh University Library as ADS already have a digital archive up and running. At ADS they have applied the model to their existing digital archive, which is both an interesting and practical way to approach the model. Her talk identified which areas of her organization the model could be applied to, and she clarified this by including photographs of the actual staff involved in each of the OAIS processes. The issue of registration and access to online archives was debated.

Andrew Wilson, Preservation Services and Projects Manager at AHDS spoke in the afternoon (Sherpa-DP and OAIS PDF 300KB) about the use of OAIS in the Sherpa DP project http://ahds.ac.uk/about/projects/sherpa-dp/. They are using a disaggregated model for implementing the model throughout the university-based institutional repositories and he indicated that they will share an AHDS preservation repository. He then initiated the question, 'What does OAIS compliance mean?', an interesting question with regard to institutions setting up their own archives. He touched on the OAIS audit process developed by RLG and what this will mean for future implementation of the model. A certification process might lead to the assumption that the model will have to be implemented in a certain prescriptive way and perhaps this goes against the 'open' spirit of OAIS. Some of the processes are 'deliberately vague' therefore they shouldn't be set in stone as to how one applies them. This issue initiated much lively debate amongst the delegates.

The final presentation of the day was a joint effort by Hilary Beedham of the UK Data Archive and Matt Palmer of the National Archives (Mapping to the OAIS PDF 500KB). They gave an interesting insight into two archives that are both assessing their existing organizational structure against the OAIS model. Interestingly, they both arrived at similar conclusions and found certain shortcomings with OAIS. A couple of areas that they struggled with were management of the Dissemination Information Package, as well as the metadata model which they thought could perhaps be made more detailed to include access controls and IPR concerns.

Matt also pointed out that it is fairly easy to be compliant with OAIS as most of the functions and processes are core to any digital archive. Both the TNA and UKDA Designated Communities are wide-ranging and they indicated that it might be the case that the model assumes a homogenous user community. However, this point was disputed by the audience as indeed the issue of the Designated Community is a very important feature of OAIS and establishing who you are preserving the information for is crucial. The Representation Information metadata field assumes that you will include an appropriate detailed technical description according to who will read the data in the future.

Hilary Beedham concentrated on their recently published report, 'Assessment of UKDA and TNA Compliance with OAIS and METS Standards' http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/oaismets.pdf. The JISC-funded report was written partly to assist regional county-councils apply the model and simplify it.

The discussion at the end of the day proved very fruitful, and overall conclusions were as follows:

  • That it was really useful to have some real-life examples and case-studies.  
  • OAIS vocabulary and terminology is now recognised as really useful across a range of institutions.  The value of having OAIS-compliant repositories will also enable a 'seamless transfer' of data between archives.
  • While the model may be vague in its prescription, it certainly indicates what to think about when setting about creating a digital archive.
  • One delegate suggested that the starting point should be to look at your own organization first, analyse the processes involved and apply OAIS processes accordingly.
  • A practical guide as to how to set up an OAIS repository would be very useful, especially one which indicated different communities and organizational-specific interpretations.  This guide could ideally take the form of 'OAIS-lite'.
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DPC Forum on Web Archiving

The DPC held a one-day web archiving forum at the British Library. The first DPC web archiving forum was held in 2002 to promote the need to archive websites given their increasing importance as information and cultural resources.

Four years on, this event again brought together key web archiving initiatives and provided a chance to review progress in the field. The day provided an in-depth picture of the UK Web Archiving project as well as European initiatives. Technical solutions and legal issues were examined and the presentations encouraged much debate and discussion around different strategies and methodologies. The event made clear that the field has moved on tremendously from four years ago. The debate has broadened and so have the tools and methodologies.

The first presentation was from Philip Beresford, Web Archiving Project manager at the British Library [BL]. He spoke about the BL's involvement with UKWAC, the tools the project had built, the challenges they have had with the PANDAS software and the overall constraints of web archiving, especially as it is such a technology dependent discipline. Philip also outlined the web curator tool developed with the National Library of New Zealand and the next version of PANDAS. UKWAC - the first two years [PDF 33 KB]

Adrian Brown, Head of digital preservation at the National Archives followed on from Philip's talk as he outlined the future of UKWAC and its recent evaluation report. Adrian outlined the collection methods at the National Archives as well as database preservation and transactional archiving. He touched on one rather overlooked aspect, that of the long term preservation of the actual content. Collecting and preserving web content [PDF 401KB]

John Tuck spoke in the second session about the legal BL's deposit bill. He touched on issues regarding collection, capture, preservation and access to non-print collections. Of interest is how the legal deposit bill translates into the e-environment and web archiving; should web archiving extend to UK-related sites, not just UK-domain sites and are national boundaries less relevant now? He outlined the BL's two different strategies - taking a twice yearly snapshot of the entire UK web and the second being a more selective approach of sites that are deemed to be of national and cultural interest. He also stressed the lengthy permissions process that gathering each web site entails. Collecting, selecting and legal deposit [PDF 42KB]

Andrew Charlesworth highlighted the complexity of the UK legal framework regarding web archiving. An emerging theme throughout the day was the debate about whether archives should ask for permission before or after they have collected websites. Andrew stressed the importance of understanding the regulatory framework. The field has moved on in that we know more today about the risks and benefits regarding web archiving than we did a few years ago. Any web archiving project probably needs to carry out risk analysis and to have insurance, in particular with regard the defamation law, ensure that they don't hold anything in their archive that could be used as legal evidence. Archiving of internet resources: the legal issues revisited [PDF 33KB]

Julien Masanes spoke about the European Web Archive [PDF 530KB] . He presented an interesting approach to web archiving - the information architecture of the web is such that its archiving should follow the natural structure of the web. Julien reminded the audience that web content is already digital and readily processable and that the web is cross-linkable and cross-compatible, a good foundation for an archive. He also stressed that web archiving requires functional collaboration. What is needed is a mutualisation of resources which combines competence and skills. Internet preservation: current situation and perspectives for the future [PDF 530KB]

Paul Bevan outlined the UKWAC project to archive the 2005 UK election sites. He described how three national libraries collaborated on this web archive. He touched on selection, collection remit for each library and frequence of snapshots. Did the general election classify as an event or as a known instance? Paul stressed the difficulties involved in obtaining permissions to archive electoral websites and the difficulties in identifying candidates websites. On a technical level the slowness of the gathering engine was also highlighted. Archiving the 2005 UK General Election [PDF 129KB]

Catherine Lupovici of the International Internet Preservation Consortium [IIPC] outlined the activities of the IIPC and outlined all the life-cycle tools that the team are working on such as ingest and access tools. She stressed the importance of collaboration in web archiving and it is clear that both UKWAC and IIPC do this successfully. IIPC activity: standards and tools for domain scale archiving [PDF 149KB]

The panel session was most productive. The panel leaders stressed that we are still in the early days of web archiving. We can never be fully sure that the techniques employed are correct, but we have to make a start. However, more research needs to be carried out into the preservation techniques of the actual content. Access issues are also critical; searching a digital web archive won't employ the same search and retrieval tools as a traditional archive would and crucial access tools need to be developed for successful use of web archives.

On a technical note, we need to be aware of issues of browser compatibility in the future; there was a debate about whether it was an acceptable solution to obtain the source code of browsers in order to assist rendering pages in the future. It was highlighted that we have to be aware of unknown plugins which could hinder the readability of web pages. The importance of the ingest stage was stressed and the transformation of the digital object that should occur at this point to ensure readability. There may be legal issues to consider here however in transforming from one format to another.

Web archiving is not an isolated activity - so many web formats are now available as well as different content delivery mechanisms e.g. blogs and chat rooms. These formats make archiving even more challenging.  There was a recognition that the community needs smarter tools to make web archiving scalable. There is definitely a need to semi automate quality assurance and selection. The question was raised whether or not we still need manual and selective archiving which is both time-consuming and costly compared to automatic sweeping of the web? The general consensus was that both methodologies should still be employed. The overall conclusion and recurring theme of the day is that collaboration is essential and no single organisation can carry out web archiving on its own. Projects such as UKWAC, IIPC and the European Web Archive demonstrate that much can be achieved in terms of solutions and methodologies.

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Joint DPC/DCC Forum - Policies for Digital Curation and Preservation

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and Digital Curation Centre (DCC) delivered a two-day workshop to explore the range of policies required to manage, preserve, and reuse the information held within digital repositories over time. This event was co-sponsored by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and held at Wolfson College at the University of Oxford on 3rd and 4th of July, 2006.

Developing and implementing a range of policies is vital for enabling the effective management, discovery, and re-usability of information held within digital repositories. This workshop provided concrete examples of the range and nature of the policies required and shared real-life experiences in implementing these policies through a series of case studies and panel discussions.

Monday July 3rd, 2006

Setting the Scene

Session One: This session explored issues including: roles and responsibilities in developing policies, relationships with other institutional policies, workflow issues, key themes of specific policies, problems encountered during development.

Tuesday July 4th, 2006

Session Two: Implementating Curation and Preservation Policies

Session Three: Evaluating and Reviewing Curation and Preservation Policies

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Policies for digital repositories: models and approaches

The DPC held a Briefing day on different implementations of digital repositories. This event was aimed at people who are in the process of planning digital repositories and who want to find out more about available tools and the benefits of each model. The day highlighted different approaches to and aspects of repository models and was useful for those who wish to take a more modular approach to repository building. The day was also useful to people who are starting to move from strategic planning to actual repository implementation.

Sayeed Choudhury emphasised that institutional repositories should provide both an institutional service and long-term custodianship of digital academic output. He also highlighted however how there was a definite lack of discussion on the digital preservation element within repositories; preservation is very hard indeed, and there need to be more case studies. An important theme was that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and institutions should focus on their needs rather than on their systems.
Sayeed Choudhury - Johns Hopkins University: Digital Repository Models (PDF 123KB)

Dave Thompson of Wellcome Trust outlined why they chose Fedora as a system. The outstanding reasons were that it was cheap and versatile. He outlined the implementation of the relationship builder and the metadata extraction tool. As a test bed Dave chose to archive an email spam collection and the methodologies for doing this provide a good case study. The overall message was that a good approach is to manage the information and metadata, not the technology.
Dave Thompson - Wellcome Trust: Fedora at the Wellcome Library, progress and work to date (PDF 150KB)

Paul Bevan continued on the Fedora theme and how they have used it at the National Library of Wales for their digital asset management system. Their interesting project has mapped OAIS elements into the archive. Paul emphasised the importance of cross-organisation buy-in, and the technical challenges of moving digital objects into a managed environment.
Paul Bevan - National Library of Wales: Implementing an Integrated Digital Asset Management System: FEDORA and OAIS in Context (PDF 1.1MB)

Steve Hitchcock outlined the history of institutional repositories and how they have gradually developed out of the open archival initiative. The highlighted the results of a survey of repositories; for example, how only one out of the eighteen surveyed even have a preservation policy for their repository, which is a cause for concern.
Steve Hitchcock - Southampton University: Repository models and policies for preservation (PDF 581KB)

Andrew Wilson's talk outlined the SherpaDP project which investigates a distributed preservation model. This comprehensive work flow is to be the basis of a business model, not a free service; almost an exemplar for outsourced preservation services. The project will also create a handbook. He emphasised that there is a need for 'object mobility' within the model, and how each of the detailed workflow modules map to the OAIS model.
Andrew Wilson - AHDS: SHERPA-DP: Distributed Repositories/Distributed Preservation (PDF 153KB)

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Joint Digital Curation Centre / Digital Preservation Coalition Workshop for OAIS 5 Year Review

OAIS Five-year review Recommendations for update

This workshop will prepare a joint comment, on behalf of members of the Digital Curation Centre Associates Network and members of the Digital Preservation Coalition, for submission to the OAIS (Open Archival Information Systems Reference Model) 5 year review. The workshop is open to members of both organisations who are familiar with details of the standard and actively implementing or preparing to implement an OAIS.

In compliance with, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) procedures, the Open Archival Information Systems Reference Model (OAIS): ISO 14721:2003 must be reviewed every five years and a determination made to reaffirm, modify, or withdraw the existing standard. The comment process for this review is now open with recommendations for updates that will reduce ambiguities or improve missing or weak concepts sought by 30 October 2006.

9.30 - 10.00

Registration and coffee

10.00 - 10.30

Introductions - Sheila Anderson, AHDS
Summary of OAIS: Lyn Lewis Dafis, National Library of Wales

10.30 - 11.10

Discussion on Chapter 1: facilitated by Chris Rusbridge, Digital Curation Centre

11.10 - 11.50

Discussion on Chapters 2 and 3: facilitated by Michael Day, UKOLN

11.50 - 12.45

Discussion on Chapter 4.1 facilitated by Lyn Lewis Dafis, National Library of Wales

12.45 - 14.15

Buffet lunch: DCC Offices, Appleton Tower

14.15 - 15.00

Discussion on Chapter 4.2 and 4.3 facilitated by Derek Sargeant, University of Leeds

15.00 - 15.30

Discussion on Chapter 5

15.30 - 16.00

Discussion on Chapter 6: facilitated by Steve Bordwell, National Archives of Scotland

16.00 - 16.30

Round-up discussion and close

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Digital rights and asset management: access and preservation forum

DCC_logo cilips 
This one day forum was jointly organised by CILIP in Scotland and the Digital Preservation Coalition and was aimed at library and information professionals who work with digital resources.  The forum explored whether content is being locked away  behind technical protection measures and asked how we can make content accessible while upholding the rights of intellectual property owners. The forum also highlighted digital preservation issues in order to ensure long term accessibility of digital resources.


Chair: William Kilbride, Glasgow City Council Museums


Registration and coffee


Welcome and introduction


An overview of digital preservation issues (PDF 924KB) (Najla Semple, DPC)


Digital asset management in the National Library of Scotland (PDF 1MB) (S. Bains, National Library of Scotland)


Intellectual property rights and digital preservation (PDF 254KB) (Mags McGinley, Digital Curation Centre)




Digital rights management (PDF 929KB) (Alan Rae, Dundee College)


Digital rights, digital preservation and libraries (PDF 269KB) (Barbara Stratton, CILIP)


Question and Answer Panel Forum


Summary and close

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E-Journal Archiving and Preservation Workshop

jisc-logo bl-logo


Article on Overview of E-journal Archiving and Preservation Workshop, UKSG, Serials 20 (3) November 2007

Overview and Presentations

The DPC, The British Library and JISC held a 1 day workshop looking at the issue of e-journal archiving and preservation. The workshop brought together international stakeholders from the information world, including publishers, librarians and representatives from archiving solution providers. The day was chaired by Hazel Woodward of Cranfield University and provided an opportunity to review what initiatives are currently in place and what more developments are needed.

To open PDFs you will need Adobe Reader

The first morning session saw Anne Kenney (PDF 519KB) of Cornell University provide an overview of the e-journal archiving landscape, drawing on work that was done in 2006 to pull together the opinions of library directors and also provide a detailed review of 12 archiving solutions. This was followed by presentations from 4 different providers of archiving and preservation services. Victoria Reich (PDF 13MB) , Director of the LOCKSS program, gave an overview of LOCKSS and CLOCKSS and emphasised that the more archived copies of an item the safer it is. Eileen Fenton (PDF 593KB), Executive Director of Portico, described the service provided by Portico which archives peer review scholarly journals and to date has more than 5,800 journals from 30 publishers. Erik Oltmans (PDF 377KB), Head of Acquisitions and Cataloguing at the National Library of Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) spoke of the e-deport service which from a starting point in 1995 is now ingesting 50,000 items a day. The UK national library perspective was given by Richard Boulderstone (PDF 418KB), Director of e-Strategy at The British Library, who showed that the traditional scholarly communication process is changing and this requires new processes and durable technical architecture to ensure that archiving solutions are able to satisfy requirements now and in the future.

The afternoon session saw presentations from the publisher and university library perspectives. Steven Hall (PDF 156KB), Commerical Director at Wiley-Blackwell, demonstrated that publishers take the issue of archiving seriously but there needs to be more clarification when it comes to access. Preservation is not the same as access and access is not the same as open access. Paul Ayris (PDF 440KB), Director of Library Services at UCL, said that UCL were moving towards the e-only delivery of journals and therefore were reviewing what solutions need to be in place to ensure continued access. Paul also highlighted the potential costs of archiving.

The workshop finished with a question and answer session which enabled delegates to pose questions to the expert panel and Hazel Woodward brought the day to an end by summarising the themes of the day.

Morning session: The E-Journal Preservation Landscape
Chair: Hazel Woodward


Arrival, registration and coffee


Welcome and introduction
Hazel Woodward – JISC Journals Working Group


Keynote "Surveying the e-Journal Preservation Landscape" (PDF 519KB)
Anne R. Kenney, Cornell University Library
(followed by Q+A)


Victoria Reich - Director, LOCKSS Programme


Portico (PDF 593KB)
Eileen Fenton, Executive Director; Portico


Break and coffee


The KB Approach (PDF 377KB)
Erik Oltmans, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Netherlands


The British Library Ejournal Digital Archive (PDF 418KB)
Richard Boulderstone, Director of eIS, British Library




Buffet lunch

Afternoon session: High-level Principles of E-journal Archiving and Preservation Services
Chair: Hazel Woodward


The Publishers perspectives (PDF 156KB)
Steven Hall, Blackwell Publishing


The Research Libraries' perspectives (PDF 440KB)
Paul Ayris, director of UCL Library Services


Break and Coffee


Panel Discussion: High-level Principles of e-journal Archiving and Preservation Services
Ronald Milne (chair)
Vicky Reich, Eileen Fenton, Richard Boulderstone, Paul Ayris, Terry Bucknell - Electronic Resources Manager, University of Liverpool Library, Ian Russell - Chief Executive, ALPSP (the Association of the Learned and Professional Society Publishers), Graham Taylor, Director of Educational, Academic & Professional Publishing, The Publishers Association.


Closing remarks
Hazel Woodward

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