Database preservation using the Database Preservation Toolkit and SIARD : A Practical Workshop


Database preservation is a challenge to many in the digital preservation community. Databases typically contain information of great value to institutions and companies and often the content must be preserved for strategic, legal or heritage reasons for the long term. Many institutions are facing challenges with preserving the content of databases as the software becomes obsolete, the production systems become bloated with legacy records or the lifecycle of the stored information reaches the point of archiving. 

This online workshop with KEEP Solutions will allow participants to understand and explore a freely available open source toolkit for preserving databases. The two-day workshop will use a mixture of presentations, demos and case studies in the morning sessions, with each afternoon set aside for participants to work on a set of database preservation challenges on their own using the Database Preservation Toolkit (DBPTK). Support will be available remotely from the workshop facilitators during these practical sessions and questions, feedback and discussion will be encouraged.. 

  • The Database Preservation Toolkit refers to a set of tools for archiving relational databases in a long-term preservation format (SIARD), and for accessing, transforming, publishing and exporting preserved information. It enables the access, search and export of data saved in the SIARD file format on a Web or Desktop app, and the export to common formats that can be read in other applications.

  • SIARD (Software Independent Archiving of Relational Databases) was originally developed by the Swiss Federal Archives and later updated (version 2) in the EARK project by several European national archives and other institutions and companies. The SIARD format was designed to archive databases independently of vendors of database systems. It is based on the ZIP file, XML and the SQL:2008 standard. The SIARD specification is currently a Swiss standard (eCH-0165) and also a European guideline (see eArchiving standards).

  • The Database Preservation Toolkit supports the following Database Management Systems: MySQL/MariaDB, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Progress OpenEdge, Sybase ASA, and other databases (using JDBC)

The workshop will help attendees:

  • Understand the SIARD standard for relational database archiving

  • Understand the significant properties of databases that can be archived using the DBPTK and the ones that aren't currently supported

  • Understand and use the DBPTK set of tools

  • Perform advanced transformations using the DBPTK Desktop

  • Understand how to apply the tools to their own use cases

Who should come?

This workshop will interest DPC Members who are digital preservation practitioners, database administrators or information managers. Please also note the prerequisites listed below.

In particular we would like to encourage Members to attend who have database preservation challenges that they would like to tackle right now. This workshop is intended to be a practical session and we are keen to see Members taking the learnings from the two days and trying them out on real world challenges after the event. A limited amount of follow up support from KEEP Solutions will be available to a selection of attendees who would like to use the toolkit on a real world database preservation challenge and share their experiences with us and the wider Membership.

As we only have a small number of places available on this workshop we would encourage you to sign up only if you feel you can attend the whole workshop and engage with the practical exercises. If you are not in a position to do so, there will be other ways to engage (see ‘if you can’t come…’ below).


It is expected that participants of this course have:

  • A basic knowledge of what a relational database is and how the information is organized

  • An understanding of what a database connection and credentials are

Some technical considerations for you to be aware of before you sign up for this event.

The event will be a mixture of presentations, demos and workshop sessions where you will be asked to work on database preservation exercises yourself using a sample database hosted by the facilitators. As you will be required to carry out the exercises on your own computer we ask that you ensure that you...

If you can’t come…

If you are not able to attend this two day workshop due to timings, other commitments, technical considerations please watch this space for the course materials and workshop recordings that will be made available to DPC Members after the event. We would encourage you to watch back the recordings at a time to suit you and try out the tools when you are able.

Provisional programme

Day one - 29th July

09.40 - Workshop opens for informal chat and networking

10:00 - Welcome and introductions

10.10 - Database preservation archival workflows

10:40 - Introduction to the SIARD format

11.10 - Break

11:30 - Tools for database preservation

12:00 - Database preservation case study 1 - NARA

12:30 - Questions and discussion

13:00 - Lunch

14:00 - Introduction to the practical session

14:30 - Participants to work on exercises on their own with support available when needed

16:30 - Demonstration of exercises and feedback

17:00 - Close

Day two - 30th July

09.40 - Workshop opens for informal chat and networking

10:00 - Welcome

10.05 - Presentation of advanced features

10:35 - Demonstration of advanced features

11:05 - Real world use cases

11.25 - Break

11:45 - Database preservation case study: Implementing database archiving at the National Archives of Estonia - Kuldar Aas

12:15 - Questions and discussion

12:45 - Lunch

13:45 - Introduction to the practical session (advanced)

14:15 - Participants to work on exercises on their own with support available when needed

16:00 - Demonstration of exercises and feedback

16:30 - Discussion and next steps

17:00 - Close


Luís Faria

Luís Faria, Research and Innovation Director at KEEP SOLUTIONS, has worked for the last 15 years in research and development of solutions for digital preservation and information management. He has a PhD in Computer Science with specialization in Digital Preservation from the University of Minho and has a degree in Computer Science at the same University in 2005. He has participated in several research and development projects in the area of digital preservation, such as SCAPE, E-ARK, 4C and VeraPDF. He is co-author of preservation formats specifications SIARD 2 and EARK IP, and is manager of the open-source project RODA and Database Preservation Toolkit (DBPTK).

Miguel Guimarães 

Miguel Guimarães, Computer analyst at KEEP SOLUTIONS, has worked the last year on the development of solutions for digital preservation and information management. He has an MSc in Informatics Engineering from the University of Minho, and completed a degree in Computer Science at the same University in 2012. He has been working under the supervision of Luís Faria on the open-source Database Preservation Toolkit (DBPTK).


Places are strictly limited and should be booked in advance. Registration will close at 12:00 GMT on 17th July 2020 and early booking is recommended as we expect this event will be popular. Registration is free for DPC Members.

DPC members can claim their free place by entering the promotional code DPCMEMBER. Cancellations will be accepted until 12:00 GMT on 17th July 2020, a 'no show' fee of £150 will be charged for those who cancel after this time.

If you have any questions about registration please contact John McMillan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


DPC Inclusion and Diversity Policy

The DPC Community is guided by the values set out in our Strategic Plan and aims to be respectful, welcoming, inclusive and transparent. It encourages diversity in all its forms and is committed to being accessible to everyone who wishes to engage with the topic of digital preservation. The DPC asks all those who are part of this community and/or attending a DPC event be positive, accepting, and sensitive to the needs and feelings of others in alignment with our DPC Inclusion & Diversity Policy .


This event is being hosted in conjunction with The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). 


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