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I’ve never met-a-data I didn’t like (or why metadata can help us learn about digital preservation)

Kristen Schuster

Kristen Schuster

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Kristen Schuster is Lecturer in Digital Curation for the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London


I lecture in digital curation and exploring the relationship between curation and preservation is one of my favorite topics of discussion. I find these discussions so interesting because as a librarian I often find that, on the surface, I have a different understanding of preservation than my students. And, as a result, my examples based in museums and archives are initially at odds with their work experiences and career goals -- many of my students want to work in news broadcast agencies. The idea of long-term preservation making media accessible and usable for decades often alludes them… the news moves forward, not backwards after all! I was quite intrigued by the disconnect between my well-intentioned explanation that we create content – analog or digital – because we want to use and re-use it, and that use, and re-use help us establish narratives and understandings of events, people, places and objects. My efforts to explain file types, compression ratios and the joys of file structures fell flat and, looking back, this shouldn’t have surprised me. After all, connecting the importance of file compression to the activities (cough curation) preservation support is elusive when put in abstract terms.  So now, instead of pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism to try and relate to my students’ interests, I discuss how preservation can save us the time, effort and the frustration of having to re-create valuable assets or regret the loss of content. Instead of directly discussing file types and file structures, I enthusiastically convince students that metadata and practical methods for organizing content makes it possible for everyone to participate in the curation and preservation activities.

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Everyone’s a winner?!

Kasandra O’Connell

Kasandra O’Connell

Last updated on 10 December 2018

Kasandra O’Connell is Head of the IFI Irish Film Archive


Last year I wrote a blog for World Digital Preservation Day contemplating the progress the Irish Film Institute (IFI) had made in the area of Digital Preservation; this year’s WDPD sees the IFI join the list of nominees for the DPC Digital Preservation awards in the Safeguarding the Digital Legacy category taking place in Amsterdam as part of the WDPD2018 celebrations.

The project we are nominated for, The Loopline Conservation Project, is one that we have been working on for nearly 2 years. It is our first end-to-end application of IFIscripts – our suite of open source digital preservation tools created to automate our own digital preservation activities but also adopted by a number of peer institutions internationally. Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland www.bai.ie. the project has focused on cataloguing and preserving the output of Loopline Films, one of Ireland’s most important independent production companies, run by filmmaker Se Merry Doyle. This collection provides an unparalleled record of key areas of Irish history and arts from the 1990s to the present day, documenting a transition in Irish society pre- Celtic tiger and post economic crash. In addition to material chronicling the rapid social and economic change in Ireland during the late 20th century it includes interviews with international cultural figures such as Margaret Atwood, Martin Scorsese & Maureen O’Hara. In 2017 Loopline closed its studios and transferred its holdings to the IFI Irish Film Archive.

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Digital Preservation: More than the bits, it’s the organisation.

Kalpana Shankar

Kalpana Shankar

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Kalpana Shankar is Head of the School of Information & Communication Studies at University College Dublin


How do you keep a data archive open and relevant for fifty years or more?

For the last four years, my colleague Professor Kristin Eschenfelder (School of Library and Information Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA), and I have been asking (and trying to answer) that question, along with many other questions, as part of a research project on the sustainability of data archives.  Thanks to the Digital Preservation Coalition for giving us the opportunity to talk about this project and why it matters on World Preservation Day.

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Can Digital Preservation become business-as-usual?

Jon Tilbury

Jon Tilbury

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Jonathan Tilbury is CTO and Founder of Preservica based in the UK


Digital Preservation has come a long way since the initial research activities resulted in cornerstone tools such as PRONOM, DROID, and JHOVE and the creation of the familiar OAIS reference model. The evolution of this change can be seen in the Digital Preservation Coalition itself, charting its creation, the growth in membership numbers, and the gradual move away from pure cultural heritage and academic organisations to the incorporation of different types of organisations. I’ve been there since these early days and am very excited about where the sector is headed.

Products have emerged to reflect this change. You can now choose between open source community tools and investment backed escrowed systems. These have a common core of functionality covering all the OAIS functions and growing sophistication to reflect their communities. They are supported by companies dotted around the world employing specialists in their sector. Choosing between these products depends on where your emphasis is, which functions you value most, the skill level of your team and a look at the total cost of ownership.

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Winning a Digital Preservation Award in 2016

James Mortlock

James Mortlock

Last updated on 26 November 2018

James Mortlock is Digital Archives Manager at HSBC in London, UK


HSBC’s digital archive journey began back in 2011 when we first sat down to develop a set of requirements for a system that would manage and preserve our growing born digital and digitised collections. This process developed into an exciting digital preservation project that was supported by senior management. After many years of hard work and collaboration by the archives team, our internal IT colleagues and external vendors we were able to launch the HSBC Global Digital Archive system (GDA) in 2015, just in time to support HSBC’s 150th anniversary celebrations. The following year, in November 2016, the success of the project was recognised when it received the Digital Preservation Award for Most Outstanding Digital Preservation Initiative in Commerce, Industry and the Third sector.

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Improving Digital Curation Teaching through International Collaboration: The Ibadan/Liverpool Curriculum Benchmarking Project

James Lowry

James Lowry

Last updated on 21 November 2018

James Lowry is a lecturer in the Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies


A three hour drive from Lagos is the expansive campus of the University of Ibadan, home to the oldest archival education programme in Nigeria. It was here in 2017 that the Ibadan/Liverpool Digital Curation Curriculum Review team finalised their benchmarking exercise, which had started earlier that year when Dr Abiola Abioye visited the Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies (LUCAS). Funded by the International Council on Archives, this collaboration was the latest in a long history of collaboration between the archives programmes at Ibadan and Liverpool dating back to the work of Professor Gabriel Alegbeleye and Dr Michael Cook in the 1990s.

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Developing a Digital Preservation Programme at the British Geological Survey

Jaana Pinnick

Jaana Pinnick

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Jaana Pinnick is Research Data and Digital Preservation Manager for British Geological Survey


We started to develop digital preservation capabilities at BGS in 2016 by exploring the initial requirements and writing a preservation policy to guide the future work. This blog describes the progress we have made so far.

Background

BGS is an approved Place of Deposit under the Public Records Act and committed to looking after certain geoscience data in its care “in perpetuity”. Its National Geoscience Data Centre (NGDC) makes most of its data openly available under the Open Government Licence. BGS also has legal obligations to manage some types of data. The UKRI Data Policy requires data with acknowledged long-term value to be preserved and made available for future research; however, the NGDC considers the retention of most of its geoscience data to be longer than the ten years stipulated in the policy.

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Spreading the Digital Preservation Word

Adam Harwood

Adam Harwood

Last updated on 29 November 2018

Digital Preservation day offers our community a chance to shout from the rooftops that what we do is important for everyone.  This day has given me recourse to consider my role in rooftop shouting and to reflect on how successful I have been in spreading the message about digital preservation.

My role at the University of Sussex is in both research data and digital preservation and I have a lot of opportunities to talk about digital preservation in both spheres.  So I list here everything that I can remember over the past year where I've managed to talk about digital preservation with someone who hasn't been familiar with it before.  What has been my reach this year?  Here is my highly scientific presentation of my findings.

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Normalising digital preservation

Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan

Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan

Last updated on 21 November 2018

Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan is the Chair of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme UK


EOC 1As any government minister will tell you from bitter experience,  it is very hard to effect change and get things done.  It requires a balance of different factors to come together to overcome obstacles, convince people of the need for change and encourage them to act to enable that change.  Digital preservation is no different.  As Kenney and McGovern neatly described in their ‘three-legged stool’ model, effective digital preservation requires three components – the provision of technology, resources and organisation.  Organisation is important because it is about providing the managerial cultural and policy environment within which digital preservation is accepted as necessary and the working norm.  UNESCO’s 2015 Recommendation on Documentary Heritage is one step in that process of normalisation.

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Preserving Poems. New challenges to archives and the digital creative process

Chris Loftus

Chris Loftus

Last updated on 29 November 2018

Although the shift from paper to digital has been a major issue in the world of archives for several years, the delay in some disciplines between record creation and archive deposit has meant that, for many repositories, the challenge of processing born-digital archival material is a relatively new one. And although this development has prompted the creation of new practices, tools and methods of working, one constant has been the commitment that archives make to donors; to care for, preserve and where possible make available their valued content. Whether a filmmaker is handing over boxes full of 8mm film or hard drives worth of MP4 files an archivist must be able to confidently state that the material will be safe in their institution’s custody and that every effort will be made to afford access to researchers and the public as required. In the University Library the recent development of some of our research strengths within Special Collections has been prompted by the acquisition of collections which have enabled us to consider some of the unique questions surrounding digital archives, and to challenge ourselves to maintain these commitments as an archive.

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