IDCC 2018 in Barcelona


The FAIR principles in its broadest sense were at the heart of the conference of the Digital Curation Centre, this time held in Barcelona. The FAIR principles about data being Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable have seen a massive take up in the research community, but translating these principles into practice is another matter. This was the topic of the conference : “from principles to practice to global join up”.

There were a lot of interesting presentations, but in this blog post I will focus on the reproducibility of the data, as I see this as an important link to digital preservation.

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Preservation as a present

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.IDPD17_Logo_Dutch1 Lees verder

ENUMERATE 2017 and digital preservation


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

Certification changes: basic becomes core in the CoreTrustSeal

CoreTrustSeal-logoThere 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

OAIS and the KB Web Collection history

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.

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The benefits of certification

surveyUnder 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

A new Board for the Core Certification now established

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.

DSA-WDSThe 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 Dutch extension to the 4C Cost Model for Digital Preservation


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.

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A broken bridge between archivists and IT?

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.

Harmen ter Borch: De Gebroken Brug, 1655, Rijksmuseum Lees verder