Blog

Unless otherwise stated, content is shared under CC-BY-NC Licence

Cinderella's Stick - A Fairy Tale for Digital Preservation

Yannis Tzitzikas and Yannis Marketakis

Yannis Tzitzikas and Yannis Marketakis

Last updated on 10 January 2019

Yannis Tzitzikas is Associate Professor of Information Systems in the Computer Science Department of the University of Crete and Affiliated Researcher in the Information Systems Lab at FORTH-ICS, Greece and Yannis Marketakis works as an R&D Engineer in the Information System Laboratory at FORTH-ICS.

They are authors of Cinderella's Stick: A Fairytale for Digital Preservation


cinderella stick

Once upon a time, a life changing opportunity is offered to Daphne (our modern-day Cinderella). An outstanding but lowly undergraduate student at the University of Crete, she applies to become CEO of a worldwide computer company. But time is short, and in her hurry to complete her task, Daphne leaves her USB stick and digital files behind…

Ok, so it might not be the version of Cinderella that you recognize – but it has all the component parts. The unlikely rise from rags to riches, a lost item and a frantic search for its owner, with all of the trials and tribulations one might expect to encounter when accessing content on an old and overworked USB stick (or shoe!)

As well as telling a good old story, we wanted to employ an unconventional approach to describing the main issues generated by the obsolescence of the digital material and its surroundings, whilst laying out methods and actions for digital preservation.

Read More

Laurels and how not to rest upon them

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 11 January 2019

Let me offer a belated but sincere ‘Happy New Year’.  The Christmas decorations are down but despite our titanic efforts (and burgeoning waistlines) the cupboard is still groaning with leftover cake. As I write, a whole slab of stollen is luring me away from my laptop and back to the kitchen.  But I must resist, at least till this week’s story is told. 

It’s not so much the story of a week as a whole year: the DPC’s most successful year (so far), 2017-18. That was the pleasing assertion I was able to make at our Annual General Meeting in December, so I thought it would be worth sharing more generally.  On a more formal level, some of you will know that a few years ago the DPC set aside its old managerial ‘Key Performance Indicators’ in favour of a ‘Continuous Quality Improvement’ framework.  That means it’s not sufficient for the DPC to meet targets, but that we should be striving constantly to improve on delivery.  That doesn’t absolve us from the necessary work or reporting our facts and figures: so perhaps unusually this blog will contain some real data. 

Read More

Putting the pieces together: Transforming Digital Preservation Operations

Faye Lemay

Faye Lemay

Last updated on 4 January 2019

Faye Lemay is Digital Preservation Manager at Library and Archives Canada


This is part 4 of a 4-part series on Digital Preservation at Library and Archives Canada. Part 1 addressed “Building the Momentum for Change”, Part 2 talked about “Learning from our past”, Part 3 dealt with the “Current state of digital preservation at Library and Archives Canada.”


Given the challenges we faced with obtaining organizational alignment of digital preservation as a core business line, we had to ask ourselves some tough questions about what was not working and why we kept hitting the same brick wall.  Experience taught us that technology was not the panacea, but constituted only one of several building blocks.      

The key questions we faced: 

  1. How could we get the organization to recognize digital preservation as an operational imperative?
  2. How could we generate the conditions to foster the development of digital preservation as a core business function?
Read More

Digital Preservation in an ever-changing world! A response to the DPC’s Web & Social Media Archiving briefing day

Francielle Carpenedo

Francielle Carpenedo

Last updated on 19 December 2018

Francielle Carpenedo is a PhD student at the Institute of Modern Languages Research/School of Advanced Study; affiliated with the AHRC’s OWRI ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’ project.


I am a PhD student with a thing for communication. One of the things I am often intrigued about is how people communicate in connection to the contextual cues that shape the different ways language is used to get things done in their everyday lives. That goes from sending letters, talking on the phone, sending emails, recording voice messages on WhatsApp to using social media. I often find it fascinating how humans adapt and make use of the different tools available to them to communicate with each other. On that note, it is interesting to think about the transformations that take place within social media communication. As a student of digital communication, social media presents a rich environment to make sense of these processes, and of how different communities are making use of these tools in our society.

Read More

Creating an evidence base for Digital Preservation Risk

Sonia Ranade and Alec Mulinder

Sonia Ranade and Alec Mulinder

Last updated on 20 December 2018

Sonia Ranade and Alec Mulinder work for the UK National Archives


Thanks to your posts on this blog over the last two years, we have a really good understanding of what digital preservation is: we’re on a mission to send messages to the future. And we want those messages to be faithfully transmitted, to retain their meaning and to be useful for generations to come.

That’s a tall order, but fortunately, the digital preservation community is here to help. Our models give us a common frame of reference. The DPC handbook provides a knowledge base distilled from our collective experience. We have standards and certification schemes to help us benchmark our progress. So, we’re good to go, right?

Read More

World Digital Preservation Day - that was fun!

Jenny Mitcham

Jenny Mitcham

Last updated on 14 December 2018

Last year on International Digital Preservation Day (as it was then called) I asked the question “What shall I do for International Digital Preservation Day?” In that blog post I talked about the blogging and tweeting I’d been doing at the Borthwick Institute and ended with “...and of course I now have a whole year to plan for International Digital Preservation Day 2018 so perhaps I'll be able to do something bigger and better?!”

A year passes very quickly and any ideas I had for World Digital Preservation Day 2018 had to be shelved when I accepted an exciting new role of Head of Good Practice and Standards at the Digital Preservation Coalition.

After a hectic few months winding down, tidying up and handing over at the Borthwick Institute for Archives I finally arrived at the DPC on the 20th November.

What a time to start!

Read More

How does it feel? The psychology of digital preservation

Charles Miller

Charles Miller

Last updated on 12 December 2018

Charles Miller is a former BBC documentary producer, currently working for a tech startup in London and studying for a Masters in History. Anchoring will be his second book.


In all discussions about digital preservation, there’s an impossible question to answer: how much should I keep? While institutions are limited by budgets and staff time, for individuals, it’s more personal. Decisions about deleting, and the very process of organising and preserving, bring out complicated emotions about family, nostalgia and sometimes grief.

It’s one of the issues I’m looking at in a book I’m writing about how the digital world has changed ideas about what we want to hang on to and how we can best do it.

Read More

Afterclap: WDPD for everyone, for ever

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 30 November 2018

Afterclap (n) – the last person who claps after everyone else has stopped.

It’s Friday, so it must be Schiphol Airport Amsterdam. Here’s me at the departure gate for the flight home after a day that has lasted almost 48 hours and has crammed in a year’s worth of digital preservation news. 

An airport lounge seems an appropriate place to reflect on World Digital Preservation Day.  It’s practically home: my work involves so many airport lounges that, rather being an honorary lecturer at Glasgow University, I should really be an honorary air-traffic controller at Glasgow Airport.  Schipol offers so many connections: in every one of them an emergent digital preservation need is arising, and in many an incipient digital preservation community is forming.  There’s also a lot of time dependencies at airports too, a lot of verification of identities and checking of manifests: a lot of strong metaphors for our daily work.  These challenge us to connect but remind us that if we hang about too long then our digital preservation work is going to become a lot harder and a lot more expensive.  As with aeroplanes, if you want digital preservation to be difficult and costly just ignore the repeated calls to get on board.

Read More

Current State of Digital Preservation at Library and Archives Canada

Faye Lemay

Faye Lemay

Last updated on 4 January 2019

Faye Lemay is Digital Preservation Manager at Library and Archives Canada


This is part 3 of a 4-part series on Digital Preservation at Library and Archives Canada. Part 1 addressed “Building the Momentum for Change” and Part 2 talked about “Learning from our past”.


Although our recent efforts have been focussed on program development, the DP team has also sought to stabilize and grow its digital preservation infrastructure: specifically the LAC Digital Archive, which serves as the repository of preservation masters.

Read More

Thinking Creatively to Understand Complexity: A Workshop for the UK Legal Deposit Libraries’ Emerging Formats Project

Caylin Smith

Caylin Smith

Last updated on 28 November 2018

Caylin Smith is the Legal Deposit Libraries Senior Project Manager for the British Library


Earlier this month, the British Library hosted a workshop for the Legal Deposit Libraries’ Emerging Formats project. The purpose of the workshop was to engage stakeholders and look at some new approaches to address challenges the project has identified.

In this post, Caylin Smith, project manager for the Legal Deposit Libraries and a researcher on the Emerging Formats project, outlines the importance of Non-Print Legal Deposit in the UK, provides background information on the Emerging Formats project and in-scope content, as well as introduces the workshop.

Sara Day Thomson of the DPC then describes her experience of the workshop and how the Emerging Formats project reflects broader trends in digital preservation.

Read More

Scroll to top