20 Years of preservation have brought us valuable insights, useful tools and a large quantity of digital material that is now taking care of.
For the general public, used to their tablets and phones where everything is stored for them somewhere in the cloud and new updates are almost always compatible with older versions, the issue of preservation is invisible. This is very convenient for them, but not for us trying to get political attention and sustainable funding for our invisible activities.
Most people however value their digital stuff. This “digital capital” should be in our story to convince funders when asking for budgets to preserve the digital materials. Preservation should not be a problem but a commodity. Something that helps you to take care of your stuff in a way you were not aware of. Like water that comes out of the tap: reliable, clean and always available (at least in part of the world). Only a few will know about the organisation behind this clean water. Although often taken for granted, in fact the running water is a present, resulting from a wide range of carefully planned actions. Similarly the preservation community could mirror this water model. Lees verder
How do you depict digital preservation? I gave it a try with this .png file. It is free for everyone to use under Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND! Just in time for the International Digital Preservation Day on 30 november 2017!
A new version of the ENUMERATE survey results was just published with a separate report on the Dutch results. The ENUMERATE survey monitors the digitization activities in memory institutions in Europe, whereby memory institutions are defined as “ institutions having collections that need to be preserved for future generations”. It is always risky to interpret survey results without the raw data. My knowledge of the context of the participating organisations will also colour the results. As will the knowledge of the persons who supplied the survey answers. But some interesting outcomes in relation to digital preservation are worth pondering about. Around 1000 cultural heritage institutions in Europe replied to the 37 survey questions: libraries, archives, museums etc. .A lot of institutions have not supplied answer to all questions, making interpretation even more difficult. Lees verder
There is a new organization in the certification world for digital repositories: CoreTrustSeal.The new organization is replacing the original Data Seal of Approval community (consisting of a General Assembly, peer reviewers of the applicants and a Board). The merge between the DSA and World Data System in 2016 led to a name change ( DSA-WDS Core Trustworthy Data Repositories Requirements ), a slightly changed set of 16 requirements, where in some cases the influence of the WDS is visible and now finally to a new organization. In the Netherlands we made a translation into Dutch of these requirements, as various organizations in our country are currently preparing themselves for this seal. Lees verder
The Open Archival Information System (OAIS) values the (future) user of the digital archive very much. This “Designated Community” of the archive need to be served by extra information about the archived material in order to be able to make “information” of the preserved bits in the content data object. The understandability of the content of the digital archive can be improved by contextual information about the archive. In a recent article in Alexandria, my colleague Kees Teszelszky and I describe our vision on how to present this contextual information about one special digital collection: the web collection.
The Nikhef website in 1992, the first in the Netherlands and the third worldwide.
Under the umbrella of the Network Digital Heritage (NDE), a Dutch working group focused on certification. I reported earlier on their results. Following the European Framework of Certification (the website is not updated since a while ago, but apart from that, the different levels of certification still make sense) the first level of certification is acquiring the Data Seal of Approval. Currently around 50 organisations are rewarded with this seal, in various disciplines. As NDE project group we expected we could learn from their experiences. We were particularly looking for some practical information so that our Dutch colleagues could be better prepared for the certification process. Things like time investment, the people that were involved and the benefits the certificate offered the organisations. Lees verder
What was called the “basic certification” in the pyramid of standards for certifying your digital repository, will now be called “Core Certification”. This is not the only outcome of merging the Data Seal of Approval criteria with the World Data Systems guidelines. Resulting in the new standard Core Trustworty Data Repositories Requirements.
The new standard contains the same topics like ISO 16363 (on top of the pyramid) with Organizational Infrastructure, Digital Object Management and Technology. Still there are 16 requirements to follow, although some new ones are added like “Security” and “Expert Guidance”, and others must have been removed, but this is not easy to discover. There is no document with a comparison between the old and the new. The reference to the Open Archival Information System OAIS) , prominent in the former DSA Guidelines, is now changed in a requirement for “repositories with a preservation remit” and focuses only on “archival storage”. I personally regret this limitation, as in practice every digital repository could/should use the guidance of OAIS. Lees verder
The Beggar (Rijksmuseum)
Based on the 4C Cost Model for Digital Preservation, a dedicated working group in the Network Digital Heritage created and validated an extension to the 4C Cost Model for Digital Preservation. This model will offer better insight into the costs of digital preservation, by detailed information based on activities and processes. Link this information to the institutional and preservation policies and this will offer a better insight in the costs and a better steering mechanism.
The Network Digital Heritage was initiated by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, with a focus on exploring more the Dutch digital cultural heritage, by making our digital collections more visible, more connected with each other and more sustainable. This working group is one of the activities in the Program Sustainable acces.
Inspired by the European Project 4C
The financial experts from BMC Research used the results from the European project 4C (Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation). In this project a cost model was delivered (amongst other valuable results) and a tool, the CCEx module, which enables on an international scale to benchmark the costs related to digital preservation.
How do you build a bridge between thorough domain knowledge of a digital archivist and the sophisticated technical skills of an Information Technology expert, in order to achieve mutual goals and develop a “culture of collaboration”? The recently published OCLC report “Demystifying IT: A Framework for Shared Understanding between Archivists” by Seth Shaw, Richard C. Adler, and Jackie Dooley sketches the outlines of building this bridge.
This week we launched a Dutch translation of the Catalogue of Policy Elements as Duurzaamheidsbeleid , a wiki on the website of the National Coalition for Digital Preservation (NCDD).
The original Catalogue was created in the European project SCAPE (2010-2014) and is hosted on the website of the Open Preservation Foundation and one of their popular hits. The Dutch translation was initiated by the Network Digital Heritage, a national initiative to improve the accessibility, usability and sustainability of the Dutch cultural and scientific heritage.
The original catalogue is based on the SCAPE policy framework of three levels: the Guidance Policies on strategic level, the Preservation Procedure Policies on tactic level and the Control Policies on a detailed operational level. In the translation we followed the framework and the template but added Dutch policy examples from the archival and audio-visual domains. It is planned to extend this with examples from digital art collections, research data centres etc.
During the SCAPE project we found it hard to phrase preservation policies on the lowest level, the Control Policies. Control Policies require a thorough technical knowledge in order to formulate policies that are not only human readable (after all more people need to understand the requirements and policy decisions) but also computer actionable for automated workflows. Hence we decided to leave out this category in the Dutch translation.
But some new developments might help us. In the European project Preforma three suppliers are working on developing tools for conformance checking of file formats:
The work done on the conformance checkers generated a wealth of knowledge about the features of these file formats and one can use this information for the Control level policies. “Feature extraction” is one of the facilities that will be offered to the users of the tools. But the tools will also offer the possibility to indicate policy rules, based on these features. And this is exactly what we were hoping for when we were designing the SCAPE policy framework! This way it will be possible to create a consistent set of policies, whereby the lowest levels can refer to higher level decisions. It requires some file format knowledge to make a well-founded decision but the tools will assist the user. See for example the recent webinar about the VeraPDF policy checking of the Open Preservation Foundation.