iPRES 2015 in Chapel Hill

Afbeelding1Audit, CD-ROMS, Emulatie, Ingest, OAIS en Web, dat waren in alfabetische volgorde de meest besproken onderwerpen tijdens de jaarlijkse conferentie iPRES 2016, die vorige week plaatsvond in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Dit is mijn persoonlijke indruk, want natuurlijk kwamen in de lezingen, posters en workshops nog veel meer onderwerpen aan bod. Het is tenslotte een jaarlijkse reünie waarbij iedereen probeert zijn resultaten en toekomstplannen te presenteren. Lees verder

Let’s discuss OAIS!

Today our “gold standard” in preservation will have its own place on the Internet: the OAIS wiki


Since its first publication the OAIS standard has become a crucial guidance in our digital preservation community. It is in our own interest to keep this standard up to date and to monitor its connection with our daily practices. We are now better informed how to preserve our digital collections. But we need to be alert to keep the OAIS standard connected to our daily practices.

A wiki for OAIS
The idea to create a wiki for OAIS was raised last year at the 4C/DPC Conference and was realised in close cooperation by William Kilbride (DPC), Hervé L’Hours (UKDA), Paul Wheatley (DPC) en me (KB).

What are we heading for? A place to discuss OAIS and to share experiences. For everyone working in digital preservation, in our “community of practice”. Despite the advantage of using a shared OAIS terminology, translating the OAIS concepts into daily practice often raises questions. Implementing these concepts can lead to different interpretations of the standard and to confusion. Sharing examples and real life practices can help everyone in their situation. This wiki is intended to become a central place where everyone can start to discuss OAIS aspects. This way we can keep the OAIS standard relevant in our daily work.

ISO 5- year review in 2017
There is another reason to discuss the OAIS standard. In 2017 the ISO process will be started to review the standard, which happens every 5 years. This review will offer us a chance to propose changes to the standard. Changes we think are necessary to keep the standard relevant.

Therefore we put the integral text of the standard on-line with an opportunity to add your commentary and annotations and the possibility to discuss this. Based on this feedback we will draft an official proposal for the review. Apart from that we will investigate what will be the best way to take part in this official review process.

Join us and help to keep the OAIS standard relevant. Go to the OAIS wiki, register and contribute your bit!


Praat mee over OAIS!

Vandaag krijgt de duurzaamheidsstandaard OAIS ISO 14721) een eigen plek op internet: de OAIS wiki


De OAIS standaard  is in de loop der jaren een cruciale leidraad in onze “digital preservation community” geworden.  Het is in ons belang dat deze standaard blijft aansluiten bij onze dagelijkse praktijk. Inmiddels weten we steeds beter hoe we duurzame toegankelijkheid tot onze digitale collecties moeten organiseren. Sluit de OAIS standaard nog wel aan bij deze ontwikkelingen?

Een wiki voor OAIS
Het idee voor deze wiki ontstond vorig jaar op de 4C/DPC Conference en is verder uitgewerkt door William Kilbride (DPC), Hervé L’Hours (UKDA), Paul Wheatley (DPC) en mijzelf (KB). Wat staat ons voor ogen?
Een plek voor discussie over OAIS en voor het delen van ervaringen. Voor iedereen die bezig is met digitale duurzaamheid in onze “community of practice”. De OAIS standaard mag dan algemeen bekend zijn, de toepassing ervan roept nogal eens vragen op en interpretatieverschillen leiden soms tot verwarring. Het delen van visies kan helpen de praktische invulling te realiseren. Voorbeelden en oplossingen van collega’s kunnen inspirerend werken in de eigen omgeving. Deze wiki wil een centrale plek worden waar iedereen terecht kan om OAIS gerelateerde kwesties te bediscussiëren. Op deze manier kunnen we de OAIS standaard levend houden en blijvend laten aansluiten op onze dagelijkse werkzaamheden.

ISO 5-jaar review in 2017
Er is nog een reden om nu over de relevantie van de OAIS standaard te discussiëren. In 2017 start het proces van de reguliere 5-jaarlijkse ISO review van de OAIS standaard. Dit geeft ons de kans wijzigingen op de standaard voor te stellen. Daarom hebben we de volledige OAIS standaard tekst op de wiki gezet, met een mogelijkheid om commentaar te geven en hierover onderling te discussiëren.
Wij willen deze bijdragen gebruiken om goed beslagen ten ijs te komen voor deze review. Op basis van het commentaar op OAIS, zal een commissie voorstellen voor aanpassingen in de ISO standaard doen. Daarnaast zullen we goed uitzoeken welke officiële kanalen bewandeld moeten worden om deze voorstellen bij ISO in te brengen.

Doe mee en help de OAIS standaard blijvend actueel te houden. Wat let je nog? Ga naar de wiki, registreer je en draag je steentje bij!

New colleagues in DP?

Lately one of our newspapers De Correspondent published an article by Marian Cousijn  about people collecting art ‘that you cannot touch’ . Born digital art, like websites. They buy the website from the artist and put it on the web with their own URL (and name) so that everyone will know it  is their art collection and they are the owner of this piece of art. correspondentOne of them, the Swedisch artist is Hampus Lindwall, see for example his collection . What I found interesting, is that they are not only collecting, but also feel it as their responsibility to take care of the continuous accessibility of their collection. Not only paying the hosting costs, but Lindwall had his artwork adapted so that it can be shown on smartphones and tablets. Maintenance is not a problem in his view “a programmer from China will fix it for you for 50 dollars”. Uhh?

What a different point of view! Instinctively I would scream: What about authenticity? How about your original look and feel? But on the other hand: these are interesting developments in personal archiving. We can learn from these people. What do they think is important to preserve? And we can assist them with our knowledge. At least in the Netherlands, preservation of born digital art is in its infancy, as a recent report (sorry only in Dutch, but Google translate and Bing translator might help) shows, see http://ncdd.nl/site/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Born_Digital_erfgoed_is_bedreigd_erfgoed.pdf

By the way, the maintenance is not always correctly done. One piece of art gives the error message


And the collectors own website http://www.hampuslindwall.com/ is temporarily out of order…


Preparations for getting the certificate


In my last blog post I talked about the NCDD work package on Certification, a Dutch initiative in which 5 major memory institutions will get certified according to either DSA, or DIN (and in the future ISO 16363).  One of the organizations participating is the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.  The NISV is the production archive for the Dutch public broadcasters  (without a legal deposit law in The Netherlands this material is not collected in the National Library but  we have shared responsibilities for collecting our national heritage).

The NISV officially started the DSA certification procedure last June, but preparing the organization is an activity that already started a while ago. Read for example their white paper OAIS compliant Preservation Workflows in an AV Archive from 2013, in which they show how they plan to organize their workflows according to the OAIS model.

My colleague Annemieke de Jong , Preservation Officer at NISV, had an interesting interview in AV Insider about the efforts her team made to involve and to prepare the organization before they stepped into the process to get the Data Seal of Approval certification. The article describes for example their approach to guarantee authenticity and integrity and to make audit trails possible.  Valuable recommendations (from a practitioner!)  at the end of the article makes it a must read for everyone thinking about  getting certified.


It’s getting serious: audit and certification


Last May the 3rd PTAB training for repository managers and potential auditors was given at the KB in the Hague in the Netherlands. The event was organized in collaboration with the National Coalition for Digital Preservation (NCDD). Two trainers, David Giaretta and me, instructed an audience of around 15 people about the interpretation, finer details and consequences for organisations of the ISO 16363 standard Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories. Currently there are no official auditors to perform a certification process according to this standard. But the PTAB group is contacting National Standard Bodies in different countries to stimulate this to happen.

It will be a matter of time and now there are organizations thinking seriously to prepare themselves being audited. Representatives from 5 organisations in the Netherlands were invited to tell the course attendees about their plans. Them being the National Archive, DANS, 3TU, the KB National Library and the Institute for Sound and Vision. They are all participating in the Certification Work package of the NCDD, which aims a collaboration in the certification process, exchange of experiences and setting up training for other Dutch organisations. (Earlier I blogged about this nin Dutch however). The 5 organisations all represent a different stage in the European Framework of Certification.


European Framework of Certification Levels


The KB National Library, the National Archive and the Institute for Sound and Vision are preparing themselves for a DSA seal, but have different time schedules. DANS is preparing for the nestor/DIN certification this year and 3TU is renewing their DSA seal, which occurs every 3 years. The preparations for the auditing process will be different for every organisation. But there will be a lot that can be shared. And we will do so, as we are planning certification activities in the Network Cultural Heritage, starting after the summer. I’ll keep you posted!

International collaboration in the IIPC Preservation Working Group

323px-Dou,_Gerard_-_Astronomer_by_Candlelight_-_c._1665Web archiving is often about collecting the web. But part of the work is also related to preserving the web. One of the working groups in the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) is focused on this aspect. Recently we published an article in the D-Lib magazine, called Facing the Challenge of Web Archives Preservation Collaboratively: The Role and Work of the IIPC Preservation Working Group. The article was written by Andrea Goethals, Clément Oury, David Pearson, Tobias Steinke and me. In this article we inform you about our goals, activities and results in the Preservation Working Group. We also report the findings of a survey we did amongst the (around 50) members of the IIPC in 2013 and their approaches to preserving the web. And we want to point you to a set of databases we are maintaining, with crucial information for web archiving, like the Environments Database and the Risks Database. Happy reading!

Dutch digital developments

Some interesting developments are taking place in the Netherlands with regard to (preservation of) the digital heritage. Initiated by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science the Network Digital Heritage (NDE) was set up. The participants in this network are national organizations with large digital collections, like the National Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) , the Institute of Sound and Vision, the Cultural Heritage Agency, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Archives, together with other partners like for example the knowledge center DEN.


This Network organized the Week of Cultural Heritage ( 9-12 March 2015) and presented the National Strategy for digital Heritage as well as a short animation . Sadly this is all in Dutch, hence this update.

The national strategy plans to streamline and intensify initiatives with regard to the digital heritage in the Netherlands . The strategy is focused on collaboration between all “cultural heritage organizations’ in the Netherlands. This phrase is perhaps a bit too limited, as for example the scientific community does not feel represented under the term “cultural heritage”, but they are included as well (via the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences).

This national collaboration should take place in two ways: vertically, within certain domains (archives and museums for example) where the big organisations in the domain could offer services and assist their colleagues from smaller organisations. And horizontally, by tearing down the traditional barriers between the domains and to look for shared initiatives to make a variety of collected material more visible to the public.


Three working groups are initiated to realize this in 2015-2016. Their goals are summarized in the slogan “Zichtbaar, Bruikbaar, Houdbaar”, translated as:

  1. Making digital heritage visible (Zichtbaar) This working group will identify what “the public” expects from digital heritage and how they want to use it, how to promote the visibility of the range of digital collections and how to support organisations to make their collections visible.
  2. Making digital heritage usable (Bruikbaar) This working group will deal with connections in all sorts: to aggregate and contextualize collections, to improve findability by making better use of existing thesauri and to work together with researchers to improve search facilities
  3. Preserve digital heritage for the long term (Houdbaar). For a preservationist this is the interesting part, although highly connected with the other working groups! In this working group the infrastructure in the Netherlands for digital preservation need to be developed. Thereby making use of already existing experience and facilities.

One could wonder, how is this related to the already existing National Coalition for Digital Preservation, the NCDD? Well, the NCDD plays a big role in knowledge dissemination about all aspects of digital preservation. This work will be continued, but the NCDD will also be leading working group 3.

These are interesting developments and it looks like many initiatives and plans are finally coming together and will hopefully lead to (a start of) an integrated approach for access to and preservation of our digital heritage. A memorisable moment for me was last February. For the first time it happened in the Netherlands that over 80 Dutch preservationists (and some Belgian colleagues) came together and discussed the national plans, sharing approaches, plans and doubts. Let’s see what we can achieve together!

Oops! Article preserved, references gone


Journal des Scavans

The first scientific journal (Paris, 1665)

Recently an article was published by Klein, Van de Sompel e.a. in PLOS1 (see under), drawing attention to the problem of “reference rot”. Reference rot is a combination of link rot (a reference to a link on the web results in an error message 404) and content drift (the page can be found but the content has been changed.) References in academic publications have a purpose: they underpin the argument. References can point to other scholarly publications but a growing amount of references in scholarly publications refer to sources on the Web. And especially these sources are prone to reference rot (the referenced “publications” having – at least theoretically – a bigger chance of being preserved by national libraries or organisations like CLOCKSS and Portico).

Based on a large set of data, the study shows the impact of reference rot, as well as giving evidence of the fact that many web pages change frequently, not seldom a few days after first being published.

These outcomes will affect a.o. the collections of national libraries and institutional repositories. The authors are worried and conclude that “Our research found that reference rot in scholarly communication is a significant problem that begs for the introduction of a robust solution”. While national libraries preserve academic e-journals and e-books, there is a risk that the references in these publications are no longer there for investigative users. The (future) user might be unable to verify the arguments and conclusions in the publication.

This is a threat to the value of collections. Value consists of several elements. At the KB we used a method called Significance to value our collections. One of the elements is “information value”. This “information value” of the publication is diminishing when verification of the source is no longer possible. Why is it that this risk is not higher on the agenda?

The above mentioned article is restricted to scholarly publications, but with the growing features in e-publications, we might expect this to happen on a larger scale. It is inherent to web-at-large references and will affect a variety of publications, however also in cases the loss of references is less important.

A “robust solution” is not there yet, although this article initiated a creative approach to the link rot problem by my colleague Rene Voorburg (see robustify.js , a website add-on that redirects broken links to archived pages using Memento). David Rosenthal in his excellent blog on this topic doubts whether there will ever be one. He thinks the problem is inherent of the way publishing on the web works. “This is the root of the problem. In the paper world in order to monetize their content the copyright owner had to maximize the number of copies of it. In the Web world, in order to monetize their content the copyright owner has to minimize the number of copies.” Implicitly suggesting that lots of copies should keep the stuff safe!

The reference rot problem is a kind of reality check and shows that even preserved material is incomplete without proper preservation of its context. Content holders should be more aware of this.

You can find the article at:

Klein M, Van de Sompel H, Sanderson R, Shankar H, Balakireva L, et al.(2014) Scholarly Context Not Found: One in Five Articles Suffers from Reference Rot. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115253.http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0115253

More on this problem at http://robustlinks.mementoweb.org

Crystal clear digital preservation: a management issue

Digital Preservation of Libraries.final.final.inddRaising awareness for digital preservation was a frequently used phrase when I started in this field ten years ago (never regretted it, hurray!). We preservationists have made progress. But the story is still not explaining itself. So I like reading how others persuade and convince people. Recently I found a book that really does the job. In crystal clear language, without beating about the bush and based on extensive up to date (until 2014) literature, digital preservation is explained and almost every aspect of it is touched upon. Edward M. Corrado and Heather Lea Moulaison have done a great job with their Digital Preservation for Libraries, Archives and Museums , Rowman and Littlefield, 2014. ISBN 978-0-8108-8712-1 (pbk.) — ISBN 978-0-8108-8713-8 (ebook)

In fact, I should start this blog post with “Dear manager, I have found a book that tells you all you need to know about digital preservation. Spare some time and read the chapter that is dedicated to you (part II) , the sooner the better” [preservationist, please forward this to your manager, they might even read the rest of the book!]

The book starts by explaining what digital preservation is not ( like “backup and recovery”, access, “an afterthought”). Followed almost immediately by the (positively phrased) starting point, that guides the whole book:

“ensuring ongoing access to digital content over time requires careful reflection and planning. In terms of technology, digital preservation is possible today. It might be difficult and require extensive, institution-wide planning, but digital preservation is an achievable goal given the proper resources. In short, digital preservation is in many ways primarily a management issue”.

The red line/ metaphor in the book is the authors “Digital Preservation Triad”. The triad is a new variety of the Three legged stool of Nancy McGovern and is symbolized by a Celtic knot. The knot is used in order to better symbolize the interrelated activities.


These activities are divided into :

  • Management-related activities,
  • Technological activities and
  • Content-centred activities.

Each set of activities is further explained in a dedicated chapter. The chapter about Management activities immediately starts to explain the basics of the OAIS model. Clearly showing that this is the essence of digital preservation. Knowledge of OAIS should be present on management level of an organisation. Only then management can deal properly with aspects like human resources (skills and training), and sustainable digital preservation (costs etc).

The Technology part is more concerned with metadata and file formats and the technical infrastructure or repository, which is closely related to mechanisms of trust (audit and certification).

The last part of the book discusses aspects related to the Content, like collection development.

The text is based on a large literature list in which many recently published conference papers, (EU) project results and reports are used. The authors are well informed about what is going on and do not restrict themselves to the US.

What I liked in this book is the very practical approach and the unvarnished description of digital preservation (‘not easy but doable’). The authors stress that preservationists should convince over and over again management “that digital preservation is important to the overall mission of the organization”, and not just “an experimental technology project” and “communicate the multiple ways in which digital preservation brings value to the organization.”

One of the barriers in this process, at least in my experience, it that people often try to connect their experience in analogue preservation with that of digital preservation. Sometimes this leads to monstrous analogies. This book does not try to map the two worlds, but clearly states:

“The digital item created and made accessible as part of a digital preservation system is fundamentally different from an analogue item. Period.”

Unavoidably some recent developments are missing, like the Cost model work that was done in the 4C project and the work on Preservation Planning and Policies in SCAPE.

But if you still need to convince your management, point them to this book – also available as an epub!