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:
- PDF-A for documents in the VeraDF Consortium,
- TIFF by EasyInnova and
- audiovisual formats FFV1, Matroska and LPCM by MediaConch
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.