The Sweetshop iPRES 2014

tn_DSCF0687Quietly an important publication was put on the web: in December, just before Christmas, the proceedings of iPRES 2014 were published, almost 400 pages big. A sweetshop for the preservationist!

The proceedings offer a complete overview of the conference with not only all short and long papers and posters but also naming all people that contributed, summaries of the panels and tutorials and the text of the closing remarks by Andrew Treleor. All is put together in one big pdf, which makes it difficult to refer to one paper specifically, but on the other hand, offers the reader the chance for serendipity. Next time I would like to see some pictures of the beautiful venue (the State Library of Victoria) and the audience, but a very good job was done here!

Victoria State Library

Now for the content of the papers. Each contribution has the obligation to add keywords (not always present however). In total there were added around 250 keywords but there is hardly any system in it and they often only partially reflect the content. The contributions are much more interesting than the keywords suggests. May be next time authors can be steered a little bit more in choosing adequate keywords?

Reading these papers, you can see some trends. Self reflection being one of them. Although many papers show confidence in what we have achieved, several of us are wondering: are we doing the rights things, and are previous assumptions still valid?

Ranking file formats on preservation qualities for practical use, is one of them, as described  by Pennock (p. 141) and from a scientific point of view by Ryan (p. 179)  and Graf (p. 160). The challenge lies in bringing these two approaches together, as there is a danger that the two worlds will keep apart (a constant struggle in European projects).

Self certification is an upcoming topic with the growing attention for audit and certification, dealt with in a paper by Elstroem (p. 271). Others introduced the concept of maturity levels (in policies by Sierman p. 259 ) or by analysing the maturity levels of NSLA libraries (Slade, p. 284).

Are our standards still in line with the developments, as discussed in Zierau/McGovern ( p. 209). See my previous blog on this topic. Also questioned is our acceptance of imperfect tools during a panel discussion (p. 293) and a proposal for better PDF checking (Duff p. 39).

Collaboration in preservation is another trend, especially between organisations in one country, like Scotland (Mead p. 232) and Ireland (Webb p. 244).

But also very practical problems were discussed : legacy systems (MacDonald p. 279), the e-book work flows (Derrot p. 239), DRM (Steinke p. 228), archiving the Scholarly web (Treloar/vdSompel p. 194), emulation and costs (Cochrane p. 51, Grindley p.29) and finally the proposal for a technical registry ( McKinney p. 44).

As in a well-stocked sweetshop : there is something for everyone. Go, download and read!

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