Added on 16 November 2023

The UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has won the NDSA Excellence Award for its project Reliable, Robust and Resilient Digital Infrastructure for Nuclear Decommissioning at the NDSA’s Digital Preservation 2023 conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

Established by the NDSA in 2012, the annual awards presentation celebrates innovation in the field of digital stewardship. This year, the 2023 NDSA Excellence Project Award recognizes activities whose goals or outcomes make a significant contribution to strategic or conceptual understanding necessary for successful digital preservation stewardship.

The UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority collaborated with the Digital Preservation Coalition to deliver the Reliable, Robust and Resilient Digital Infrastructure for Nuclear Decommissioning Project

Award winners the NDA are charged, on behalf of the UK government, with the mission to clean up the UK’s earliest nuclear sites safely, securely and cost effectively. This complicated task involves preservation of data, information, and knowledge for future generations.  During the initial phase of the Reliable, Robust and Resilient Digital Infrastructure project, the team worked to understand legacy systems and data, and the need to adapt current systems to ensure long-term viability.

In the course of this critical work, the project team not only considered the unique needs of the NDA, but also sought to make connections to the wider digital preservation community through a collaboration with the Digital Preservation Coalition. The result was that several new resources for digital preservation program assessment and technology watch guides were created and shared in conjunction with the project, for the benefit of the global digital preservation community.

Jessica Venlet from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries facilitated the Project category judging for the 2023 NDSA Excellence Awards Working Group, and was delighted with the result saying: “This project was exemplary in many ways, but the judges were especially impressed with the commitment to developing good practice across a wide range of digital preservation issues and the collaborative approach to the work undertaken, not to mention the sheer number of new, open resources that have been created and shared.”

Michelle Donoghue, NDA Information Governance Manager said, “we are honoured to receive this recognition and delighted the project has benefited not just the NDA but a wide range of other sectors and organisations who have the important role of preserving data for the future.”

Over four years, and two phases, the project investigated a wide range of topics resulting in numerous resources, publications, and events that were shared with the wider digital preservation community. These include the Rapid Assessment Model (RAM) which provides a holistic approach to modelling organizational maturity, the Digital Preservation Competency Audit Toolkit (CAT) which details the skills needed to carry out digital preservation activities and allows these to be measured against a RAM assessment, and the Core Requirements for Digital Preservation System which offers a strong foundation for those undertaking procurement of a repository system. The project also commissioned the production of a series of introductory Guidance Notes and Reports targeted at the preservation of specific common data types, ranging from documents, email, and spreadsheets, to 3D, CAD, and moving images.

Find out more about the Reliable, Robust and Resilient Digital Infrastructure for Nuclear Decommissioning Project

Read about all of the NDSA Excellence Award Winners in 2023  


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