DPC Webinar - 'Preservation Planning for Personal Digital Archives' with Paul Wilson

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In this session Paul Wilson, formerly of the Office Systems Division at The National Computing Centre,  explains how he arrived at a Preservation Planning process which suited his requirements for Personal Digital Archiving after a 35 year journey.

In an accompanying Case Note, Paul narrates his attempts to create a preservation plan for a small personal collection. In the fuller article (which can be downloaded as a PDF), he outlines his experiences to provide insights into the practical outcomes of using published guidelines and tools for preservation planning. Since he could find no preservation planning process appropriate to individuals, Paul obtained a slide set detailing a simple preservation workflow from the Digital Preservation Coalition, and used that as a foundation on which to establish an approach to the work.

This general approach and accompanying documentation was tested and refined on two of his personal digital collections (one of 800 mementos and the other of 17,000 photos).

“I recounted my PDF experiences not to alert others to specifics about PDF (about which I know very little) or the eCopy software (which I am generally very pleased with),” he explains, “but to illustrate how complicated and time-consuming work on file formats can be.”

The detailed account of his research and preliminary trials provides a set of guidance for any individual or institution looking to preserve their own small, digital collection. Paul has also provided the documents he created from scoping to maintaining his collection, along with blank template versions that can be easily used and adapted by others. All of the documents, as well as blank templates, are available to download as a Toolset.

This case note also appears in the DPC’s Technology Watch Report Personal Digital Archiving by Gabriela Redwine.

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Recording of 'Strong format obsolescence vs weak software obsolescence' webinar - now available online

Added on 24 June 2016

The recording of our latest DPC webinar session which took place at yesterday's 'Re:Format' event at the Guildhall in York is now available for members to view online. The session with Euan Cochrane of Yale, entitled 'Strong format obsolescence vs weak software obsolescence' talks us through the digital preservation challenges presented by file format obsolescence.

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Statement on collaboration and the European Union from the Digital Preservation Coalition

Added on 24 June 2016

The DPC is a not for profit operating on behalf of our members and of all to ensure our digital memory is accessible tomorrow. 

Reflecting on the outcome of the UK EU Referendum and on the excellent relationship we have enjoyed with our European members, partners, friends and funders since our foundation in 2002, we note that the challenges of digital preservation are global: larger than any organisation, sector or individual country. We note that the benefits of international collaboration are not simply financial: they add value and extend our reach. While the Coalition certainly has its roots in the UK and Ireland, our community is global and our membership has grown in recent years, enriched by organisations from across the world.

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A catalyst for action: New Handbook provides practical guidance in Digital Preservation

Added on 23 June 2016

A new edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook was officially launched at the Guildhall in York yesterday, updating the original version first published in 2001.

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Re:Format - What is file format obsolescence and does it really exist?

Digital preservation literature identifies file format obsolescence as one of the main threats, if not *the* threat, to the longevity of our digital data. Files must be migrated or emulated as they become obsolete, to ensure that they can still be rendered and used in the future. As Jeff Rothenberg famously put it at the end of the 1990s: "digital information lasts forever—or five years, whichever comes first". More recently however, the community has grown more sceptical. Luminaries such as Chris Rusbridge and and David Rosenthal have challenged the perception that common file formats have, or will become obsolete, pointing to the lack of mainstream examples. Around the fringes however, file format issues *have* emerged, although perhaps not in the image of the catastophic obsolescence scenario that was envisioned at the end of the last century. The community *has* grappled with file format issues, but are they more about diverging or poor software support for ambiguous file format standards than obsolescence per se? It's a complicated picture!

So what actually is a file format? Does file format obsolescence exist? And most importantly, what risks should organisations be addressing?

This briefing day will gatecrash the confusing world of file formats, it will separate the reality from the dogma, and it will focus our minds on the real digital preservation challenges we are facing.

Participants at the workshop will:

  • Gain an understanding of what a file format is, and what really defines it
  • Begin to unpick the complex picture of file format obsolescence
  • Better understand the risks faced by digital materials over the long term
  • Discuss where our energies would be best focused in addressing digital preservation issues


Watch the Recording of Euan Cochrane's webinar presentation (Registered members only)

Read the story

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'Connecting the Bits' - DPC Member's Unconference and Networking Event, 2016

The Chair of the Digital Preservation Coalition cordially invites members to send delegates to 'Connecting the Bits' in York on 22nd June.

Connecting the Bits is a day-long networking and planning event designed to help members keep in touch with each other and with the state of the art in digital preservation. This year we're taking over the historic Guildhall in York for an "unconference style" day of knowledge exchange on digital preservation challenges. The unconference format is like a conference except there is no pre-determined theme or programme: the agenda is generated by participants in the morning, then delivered in the afternoon. This format privileges debate and discussion, and it ensures that anyone with a burning issue or success story has a chance to share it. Because members set the agenda, it gives you a strong opportunity to steer the Coalition's programme for 2016 and 2017. Because it's closed to members, participants can speak candidly and openly about successes, failures, plans and threats. Last year's capacity event was a great success, with participants praising the relaxed but highly informative atmosphere. With the continuing momentum of a growing membership we've every reason to expect that 'Connecting the Bits' 2016 will be another great opportunity to build an ever-stronger platform for co-operation and collaboration between participants.

Tea, coffee and lunch will be provided. That is part of the purpose. There will be a remarkable concentration of digital preservation expertise at 'Connecting the Bits' and we fully expect that a great deal of useful business will be conducted informally at lunchtime and over coffee breaks. There will be opportunities for small groups to assemble and evolve through the day. We expect that products will be reviewed and debunked; projects will be imagined and designed; professional relationships established and renewed; practical know-how will be shared; strategic alignment will be enabled: all informally and all by virtue of having the right people in the right place at the same time.

This year we are delighted to announce that we are launching the second edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook, one of the seminal texts in digital preservation at the Unconference. So participants at the 'Connecting the Bits' are duly invited to a drinks reception in the evening. Remember to let us know if you would like to join the reception when you register for 'Connecting the Bits'.

If that's not enough we will also be holding a member's briefing the next day in York with the title 'Re:Format: What is file format obsolescence and does it really exist?' for which there is a separate registration.

Who is the event for?

'Connecting the Bits' is designed to privilege operational staff working directly on digital preservation. We are particularly keen to hear from three groups: junior staff recently appointed and looking for opportunities to build their professional networks; new entrants to digital preservation seeking to apply professional know-how to this new field; and experienced practitioners who might not normally attend the DPC Board but have clear insights into the challenges of digital preservation in their own institutions and are well placed to steer the DPC's practical programme. Senior staff, researchers and students are also welcome, though it's the practical know how that will be most prominent.

  • Full members can register up to 3 delegates and are asked to prepare a 3 minute presentation on 3 key topics: 1 recent success story from their organisation, 1 key digital preservation challenge faced, and 1 notable example of upcoming work.
  • Associate Members can register one delegate for the event, adding others to a waiting list which will be allocated a week before.

Outline programme

  • 10.00 - Registration opens, followed by prompt 10.30 start
  • 10.30 - 3 minute speed date presentations per full member – ONE slide per minute, strict timings!
  • 11.30 - Coffee and networking
  • 12.00 - First Break out session
  • 13.00 - Lunch and networking
  • 14.00 - Second Break out session
  • 15.00 - Feedback from break out sessions and round up
  • 16.00 - Close and break
  • _______
  • 17.00 - Doors open for evening reception for Handbook Launch
  • 17.30 - Speakers
  • 18.00 - Canapes and Reception
  • 20.00 - Close

Feedback Report from 'Connecting the Bits' 2016

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DPC Offers Scholarships to Members for iPRES 2016

Added on 17 June 2016

*Closing Date Extended*

The Digital Preservation Coalition is pleased to offer three scholarships to its members to attend the 2016 iPRES conference to be held in Bern, Switzerland, 3rd-6th October 2016. These scholarships are aimed at early-career professionals who have passed beyond the need for introductory training but do not have ready access to further development opportunities. The scholarships include conference fees and a contribution towards travel and subsistence.

iPRES is the longest standing digital preservation conference and this important event brings together key theorists, researchers and practitioners to explore the latest trends, innovations, policies and practices in digital preservation. iPRES 2016 will attract participants from leading institutions, projects and initiatives from all around the world. The conference will provide a unique development opportunity that will allow scholarship recipients to engage with the leading edge of digital preservation research and practice whilst also making new contacts within the digital preservation community.

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Recording of 'Long time coming: trust, certification and digital preservation' webinar - now available online

Added on 16 June 2016

The recording of our latest DPC webinar session with William Kilbride and Kees Waterman, entitled 'Long time coming: trust, certification and digital preservation' is now available for members to view online.

This session is a re-run of the cancelled webinar from our 'Preserve Better' Briefing Day on 25th May and examines current certification and accreditation programmes for archives. William is joined by Kees Waterman who is currently working with the Data Seal of Approval in the Netherlands.

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‘Preserving Transactional Data’: new DPC Technology Watch Report now available

Added on 15 June 2016

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), UK Data Service and Charles Beagrie Ltd are delighted to release the latest DPC Technology Watch Report ‘Preserving Transactional Data’ by the DPC’s Sara Day Thomson. This report tackles the requirements for preserving transactional data and the accompanying challenges facing companies and institutions that aim to re-use these data for analysis or research, presenting the issues and strategies which emphasize preservation practices that facilitate re-use and reproducibility.

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DPC and NCDD Webinar - Long time coming: trust, certification and digital preservation with William Kilbride and Kees Waterman

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‘Digital preservation is an always-emerging challenge. As technology changes so the processes and tools of effective preservation need to adapt. Success is provisional: a commitment to constant improvement is a prerequisite. Never entirely certain what success looks like, the digital preservation community has over the years developed several proxies for success and maturity of service. The ideal of a Trusted Digital Repository has gained much traction in the literature since it was first posited in 1996, and it is now encapsulated and codified as a series of standards. The resulting requirements and checklists provide a framework for repository improvement; however, with too many demands, too little practical experience and too little transparency these standard can also be a barrier to participation. If best practice is a receding and unattainable horizon, then it can become the enemy of good practice. Practitioners and their managers simply want to know how they are doing and how they can do it better.

This joint webinar between DPC and NCDD reviews state of the art in the certification and accreditation of digital preservation. The relationships between various key standards will be delineated with a deep dive into practical implementation of the ‘Data Seal of Approval’. The utility of audit methodologies will be reviewed; the role of maturity models presented; an emerging approaches in the UK and the Netherlands will be discussed.

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