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Digital Preservation Milestones at the University of Sheffield

Chris Loftus

Chris Loftus

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Chris Loftus is Digital Preservation Manager at the University of Sheffield Western Bank Library in the UK


The first International Digital Preservation day allows us an opportunity to reflect on some of the milestones and significant events so far in the implementation of the University of Sheffield’s Digital Preservation programme. The Library became one of the early adopters of Rosetta, a Digital Preservation solution provided by ExLibris, in 2015. Following installation Rosetta was given the Sheffield brand name ArchiveUS and initial priority focussed on developing ingest routes for our valuable digital material; born digital and digitised collections from Special Collections and the National Fairground and Circus Archive.

In September 2016 the University's Festival of the Mind event gave the Library the opportunity to highlight the thinking behind Digital Preservation through a collaboration with local artist Paul Carruthers. ‘Memories in the digital age’ is a triptych film that featured difficult to access footage from the library’s collections. The piece, which was exhibited at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery, explored some of the ideas underpinning Digital Preservation; such as the generation and use of digital information and its relationship to memory.

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To deposit, or not to deposit (or whether it is a question at all)

Kuldar Aas

Kuldar Aas

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Kuldar Aas is Deputy Director of Digital Archives at the National Archives of Estonia


Prologue

October 2006. A workshop discussing digital information management. A known and respected IT visionary comes up and delivers a statement about file format obsolescence: “It is really not an issue to worry about. In ten years we will certainly have artificial intelligence which is able to render any bitstream there is”.

Aas 1

Pixabay, CC0, https://pixabay.com/en/artificial-intelligence-robot-ai-ki-2167835/

The digital society and the digital archivist

“Dear community! My name is Kuldar and I’m a digital archivist in Estonia.”

The particular thing to note about this confession is the country as such – just Google for it and you are guaranteed to get a fair number of hits which describe how in e-Estonia you can set up companies in 18 minutes, declare taxes in 3 minutes, or tell you that 99% of public services are available online. Digging a bit further you will find out how Estonia has implemented nice things like ‘once-only’, ‘digital by default’, and ‘no legacy’ – principles which, when spoken out aloud, will lead any reasonable archivist straight to a mental institution along with inflicting a serious heart condition.

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A day at the digital archives of the National Archives of Denmark

Anders Bo Neilsen

Anders Bo Neilsen

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Anders Bo Neilsen is the Senior Adviser on Digital Preservation at the Danish National Archives


Thursday was yet another busy and versatile day here at the section of Digital Preservation of the Danish National Archives. As usual there were the daily audit reports and the results of the quality assurance of the ingested SIPs which once again were spit out (pun intended) by our QA system. The producers of the SIPs were notified and given a new deadline for resubmitting SIPs which we can ingest and digest. Almost all of the rejected SIPs were produced by national authorities, but one or two were actually produced by a colleague. A taste of one's own medicine can be bitter and hard to stomach. The errors were the typical ones: lack of context documentation, missing explanation of code values, broken referential integrity and poor conversions to TIFF.

Having dealt with the ingest problems we turned our focus on the next item in the process, the packaging and storage of the AIPs. We are in the process of storing five AIPs from five similar authorities ranging in size from two to eight TB. At first we could not understand the huge size of these AIPs produced from ordinary digital case and document management systems. It seems that many incoming documents are an order of magnitude larger than the outgoing. Apparently, quite a few citizens seem to reply to these authorities by printing out the documents they receive, adding handwritten comments on them, taking pictures of all the pages using their smart phone, and emailing them to the authorities. That is how an outgoing black and white document is transformed into an incoming document in full colour - and full size.

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Name that item in…?

Kirsty Chatwin-Lee

Kirsty Chatwin-Lee

Last updated on 5 January 2018

Kirsty Lee is Digital Archivist for the Division of Library and University Collections at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.


I’d like to start International Digital Preservation Day, by putting a conundrum out to the community. My colleague, Lorraine McLaughlin, here at the Centre for Research Collections in the University of Edinburgh, and myself are currently appraising a hybrid collection that documents the history of computing at Edinburgh University from the inception of the Edinburgh Regional Computing Centre (ERCC) in 1966, to its later incarnation the Edinburgh University Computing Service in the 1980s.

The ERCC was to have a considerable impact on computing services as we know them today. Following the Flowers Report in 1966 there was to be regional computing centres set up in London, Manchester and Edinburgh tasked with providing computing services for local university users, research council establishments and other universities.

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Keynote Address at 'RecordDNA: developing a research agenda for the future digital evidence base...', Westminster

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP is co-Chair of the All-Party Group on Archives and History for UK Parliament.

This blog post is the text for a speech delivered by Nick Thomas-Symonds MP on 30 November 2017 at a RecordDNA event at Westminster.

 


As Co-Chair of the All Parliamentary Archives Group I am delighted to open this event, which is being held on International Digital Preservation Day. Delighted also to welcome such an impressive range of speakers. Let me start by thanking Elizabeth Lomas of UCL and Julie McLeod of Northumbria University, for organising and implementing such an impressive programme. Thanks also to all of you for coming. You are a critical part of this partnership.


Records matter. We all depend on them. Members of Parliament rely on them to inform debate, make better laws and hold the executive to account. Everyone will at some point need records, whether investigators into injustice, members of the public researching their family history or needing access to their health history, or scholars needing an evidence base for their research.

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How can Digital Preservation move beyond those in the know to those with the need

Jon Tilbury

Jon Tilbury

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Jon Tilbury is Chief Technology Officer for Preservica, based in the UK


Digital Preservation has come a long way since the early research projects. The earliest practitioners were academics and specialists who set this field in the right direction and contributed hugely to defining what Digital Preservation is, creating the language of SIPs and DIPs, ingest and dissemination and preservation planning that we all use today. This journey will be complete when information is preserved without the need to understand how and long-term retention and use is just another tick box in your day-to-day IT platform. How far are we away from creating this preserved future?

The early Digital Preservation research projects started in the late 1990s and reached their peak with large numbers of EC funded projects in the first 15 years of the millennium. I become involved in the early PRONOM days and enjoyed many trips around Europe on four different research projects as practitioners exchanged ideas and built prototypes that encapsulated these ideas. We used the OAIS reference model to create a common language that we all now use to describe our systems.

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And the answer is…

Roxana Maurer-Popistașu

Roxana Maurer-Popistașu

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Roxana Maurer-Popistașu is Digital Preservation Co-ordinator at the National Library of Luxembourg


National Library of Luxembourg’s Digital Preservation challenges

As a national heritage library, the National Library of Luxembourg (BnL) has as a mission to collect, catalogue, enrich, and preserve the national heritage, both in print and in digital form. Since 2002, the BnL has been digitizing documents to not only ensure the optimal preservation of the originals weakened by their age and / or frequent use, but also to promote the published cultural and intellectual heritage, facilitate access to it and support new research methods. The digitized collection includes historical newspapers, books, manuscripts, postcards, and posters from the Luxemburgensia fund (publications from Luxembourg – legal deposit – or issued abroad by Luxembourg residents or in connection with Luxembourg).

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Welcome to International Digital Preservation Day

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Although the sun has barely risen over the DPC offices, International Digital Preservation Day (#IDPD17) has been in full swing for at least the last 12 hours thanks to our colleagues in Asia and Australasia who have been doing a great job of celebrating on behalf of the whole community!

International Digital Preservation Day is fundamentally about this large but dispersed community around the world and the opportunities for access and re-use which are made possible when digital assets are preserved. Supported by digital preservation networks around the world – old friends and new - IDPD17 is open to participation from anyone and everyone interested in securing our digital legacy.

While we’ve been asleep a whole pile of blog posts have been published, and we can see through the twitter and instagram feeds that colleagues in New Zealand and Australia are clearing up after important and well-attended events.

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Web preservation demands access

Daniel Gomes

Daniel Gomes

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Daniel Gomes is Arquivo.pt Service Manager for the Foundation for Science and Technology in Portugal.


"Collect the web to preserve it?! I don't envy that job."

That is a direct quote from my first "real-world" meeting.

I was 23 years old, I had just graduated from the University and that was my first job. We were in the year 2000.

One year later, we had developed a running prototype to perform selective collection of online publications. It was the first effort to preserve the Portuguese web, resulting from a collaboration between the National Library of Portugal and the University of Lisbon.

Even in those early-days of the Web, it became clear that acquiring and storing information from the Web before it quickly vanished was a challenge. But a rather simple one, in comparison to ensuring the accessibility of the stored web data across time.  

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Preservation as a present

Barbara Sierman

Barbara Sierman

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Barbara Sierman is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Open Preservation Foundation (OPF) and Digital Preservation Manager in the Research Department of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands).


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.

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