DPC

You'll miss it when it's gone...

Rachel MacGregor

Rachel MacGregor

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Rachel 1

Three and a half inch floppy disk

When I first started out swimming in the deep waters of digital preservation and trying to understand what the risks were I lived with the fear that format obsolescence was our number one enemy and that we would need to spend all our time migrating content and upgrading and or else we would never be able to open those old Word Perfect files.  However even then there were wise words from the likes of David Rosenthal who as long ago as 2007 and he predicted not a cliff edge crash of format types that would remain beyond our reach but a slow drift which (hopefully) with increasingly sophisticated emulation (and migration) techniques we can keep abreast of.  My first steps in dealing with some of our legacy digital collections (all the way back from the 1990s) were imaging and capturing the contents of the floppy disks belonging to the distinguished historian Eric Hobsbawm which I wrote a bit about here.

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Creating SIPs without Breaking a Sweat: The Pre-ingest Tool and File Scraper

Heikki Helin

Heikki Helin

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Heikki Helin is Senior Technology Coordinator for Digital Preservation Services at CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd in Espoo, Finland


The Finnish national digital preservation service, based on the OAIS reference model, has been in production since 2015. Providing services for preserving the cultural heritage and research data sectors, it is a service funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland. Currently, we have more than 1.3 million Archival Information Packages (AIPs) in preservation amounting to more than 450 terabytes. We have defined common national preservation specifications, which describe in detail how digital assets must be prepared before ingesting them to the preservation service. This includes detailed requirements for metadata and file formats.

Detailed requirements on both file formats and metadata are necessary for a fully automated ingest process. However, preparing and ingesting digital assets in an appropriate format according to the requirements can be a demanding task, especially in cases in which the producer is not familiar with the various preservation standards and metadata formats. This process requires both know-how and can be very time-consuming. It is therefore a very costly process, highlighted in those organizations with insufficiently competent IT staff. The growing demand for making this process easier for our partner organizations is the reason we have developed tools to decrease the burden of creating valid submission information packages from scratch. We introduce two main tools in this blog post.

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Approaching digital preservation at scale - a pilot programme at University of Cape Town Libraries

Niklas Zimmer

Niklas Zimmer

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Niklas Zimmer is Manager of Digital Library Services at University of Cape Town Libraries in South Africa


In this brief overview, I hope to share with you some of our experiences, activities and challenges around digital preservation at the University of Cape Town, at the southern tip of Africa. Presently, expertise in digital preservation is growing only slowly in South Africa: relevant training opportunities remain rare because many institutions have yet to recognise the fundamental issues, and get started with sustainably resourcing solutions. While some of our needs may be about driving appropriately funded and structured projects forward, even more important to our capacity-building efforts will be to convene a local digital preservation community of practise that is vitally connected to global exchange of ways of knowing and describing the world.

In September this year, I was asked to speak about digital preservation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Special Collections Preservation Conservation Conference entitled ‘Disaster Prevention Preparedness, Response & Recovery of Collective Collections and E-collections,’ and while the slides from this talk are publicly accessible (see: https://doi.org/10.25375/uct.8982452), I thought it useful to also provide a brief narrative in the form of this blog post, to share more widely what digital preservation activities we are busy with at Digital Library Services in securing the University of Cape Town’s digital legacy.

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Sharing is caring: tell someone new about digital preservation today!

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Rise and shine digital preservationists of the western hemisphere! It’s World Digital Preservation Day, and all is well! There are things to see and do and celebrate – and people to tell about the wonders of digital preservation!

via GIPHY

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At-Risk Material in UCT Libraries’ Special Collections

Andrea Walker

Andrea Walker

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Andrea Walker works in Special Collections at the University of Cape Town Libraries, South Africa


At-Risk Material in UCT Libraries’ Special Collections

This year, the first that UCT Libraries is participating, the theme for World Digital Preservation Day is At-Risk Digital Materials. It’s as if it was tailor-made for us. Even though I work in the historic, beautifully restored Jagger Library, I spend most of my time these days down in the basement, 2 or 3 stories underground (it’s hard to measure that when you’re on the side of a mountain). Right at the bottom is our AV archive. I’m currently undertaking an audit, to determine not only what’s there, but also what the exact format is, and when the material was recorded, among other things. Why? Because these materials only have a limited lifespan. Some of them were kept in less than ideal conditions before being deposited with us, and it shows. Most of them are in formats that are no longer easily accessible.

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The UNESCO/DPC Executive Guide on Digital Preservation

Rob Buckley

Rob Buckley

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Robert Buckley is the Chair of the PERSIST Policy Working Group and a Technical Adviser at the National Archives of the UAE.


UNESCO and the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) have collaborated to produce the Executive Guide on Digital Preservation, an online resource for raising awareness of the importance of digital preservation in archives, libraries and commercial enterprises—any organization that has digital assets to preserve and access. While many of us are often immersed in the technical aspects of digital preservation—in my case color image digitization and compression, it is generally realized that a successful and sustainable implementation of digital preservation requires support and commitment across an institution and beyond in the prevailing political, legislative and fiscal environment.

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Towards Making Palestinian Research Preserved and Accessible

Rawia Awadallah

Rawia Awadallah

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Rawia Awadallah is Manager of the ROMOR Project in Palestine


The Research Output Management through Open Access Institutional Repositories in Palestinian Higher Education (ROMOR) project aimed to build capacity in research output management in four leading Palestinian State (PS) Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) through establishing Open Access Institutional Repositories (OAIRs) to store and share research outputs and increasing support staff capacity to implement and promote repository related policies and services. The Project was led by the Islamic University of Gaza and brought together three other PS partners (Birzeit University, Al Quds Open University, and Palestine Technical University) with four European HEIs (the Technical University of Vienna, Austria; the University of Parma, Italy; the University of Brighton, UK; and the University of Glasgow, UK).

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When digital preservation is turned into a municipality organisation

Karin Bredenberg

Karin Bredenberg

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Karin Bredenberg is Metadata Strategist at Sydarkivera in Sweden


In 2015 the municipality organisation Sydarkivera was founded in southern Sweden with the goal of supporting members with digital preservation. Since then, with the growing number of members, the goal has also come to include analogue archiving. Today the number of members is 27 and in two years’ time an additional 10 will have joined Sydarkivera.

Sydarkivera originated from the need for municipalities to archive their digital information, as in Sweden, municipalities are required by law to have their own archives and act as their own archival institution. Digital information has been around for a long time so the arrival of the need for archiving digital material made the municipalities see the need to join forces and share their competences. In Sweden, municipalities can join in a municipality organisation which in turn functions like its own municipality. I know it’s not easy to really explain briefly but we are working together and have a shared archival organisation! What started in southern Sweden is quickly growing north towards central Sweden… There’s a wide interest in joining the organisation and becoming a Sydarkivera member!

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From “research output” to “research data” - a willingness to move forward?

Wachiraporn Klungthanaboon

Wachiraporn Klungthanaboon

Last updated on 7 November 2019

Wachiraporn Klungthanaboon is Lecturer at the Department of Library Science at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand


About 10 years ago, the idea of collocating and providing digital research outputs through an institutional repository or a subject repository for online access was introduced to Thailand. For example, the Library at Chulalongkorn University had built its institutional repository named “CUIR - Chulalongkorn University Intellectual Repositories”. The CUIR has been developed gradually through time in order to serve our users’ information behavior in terms of the increasing number of research outputs, extended collection coverage, and more open access.

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A Reflection: Outreach about digital preservation

Matthew Yang Jiefeng

Matthew Yang Jiefeng

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Matthew Yang Jiefeng is Archive Officer at the Asian Film Archive in Singapore 


The Asian Film Archive (AFA) reflects on its recent engagement with film students during an outreach session. The interaction with the students revealed that complacency is a major plague amongst content producers, posing a risk to the films that are under their care. Furthermore, many of them have misconceptions of digital data and how to care for them. This blog post shares some of the underlying assumptions AFA encountered during its interactions with the film community and its plans to address these challenges.

As we celebrate World Digital Preservation Day with colleagues around the world, we at the Asian Film Archive (AFA) are  reflecting on a recent engagement with a group of film students in a film school in Singapore. We were speaking to them as part of the AFA’s engagement with the filmmaking community on preserving and caring for their works, to encourage good practices and to create awareness on common misconceptions about preservation practices.

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