Blog

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

What’s in a name?

Amber Cushing

Amber Cushing

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Amber Cushing is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) for the School of Information & Communication Studies, University College Dublin


When it comes to digital curation in Ireland, a lot, actually.  In 2014, I was recruited by University College Dublin (UCD) to start an Msc in Digital Curation.  Digital curation has been concisely defined as “the management and preservation of digital material to ensure accessibility over the long term” (Abbott, 2008).  In essence, preservation is only part of the process, digital curation prescribes that sustaining long term access to digital material should be considered before the object is even created, but selecting optimal file formats, a preservation strategy, etc.  I thought my background, having been a PhD student at the UNC School of Information and Library Science, that launched one of the first degrees in digital curation had prepared me for this.  I knew the major issues in the field, as well as the key literature.  Just to be sure, I, along with UCD School of Information and Communications Head of School Professor Kalpana Shankar, decided to embark on a needs analysis of digital curation in Ireland.

Read More

This is not a part

Sean Barker

Sean Barker

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Sean Barker runs a Technical consultancy on Enterprise Integration and Information Sharing for Products


Barker 1Dear colleagues,

This photo shows my paperweight for the last 25 years. The suggestion is that it was a test part, used in a prototype for a flight control mechanism. You might think that it is the physical part that endures long after the design has been lost in an archive, but this piece of metal demonstrates the opposite - it is a part without provenance, so not an aircraft part at all.

Yes, we could measure and redraw it, but that would not be its design. The holes are set where they are because of the geometry of the mechanism, but which mechanism was it designed for? The flanges - the metal ridges round the edges that stand up from the base plate - are there to stiffen the plate. They will have been analysed through a finite element stress model, but without knowing the original mechanism, we don't know the forces the stress model tested. And even if we can find the most likely mechanism, it is likely that it went through several versions, and which version, which loads is this designed for?

Read More

Crossroads

Andrea Goethals

Andrea Goethals

Last updated on 30 November 2017

 Andrea Goethals works at the National Library of New Zealand


Recently I unexpectedly found myself with extra time on my hands, as I was preparing to take a new position halfway around the world. Like most of you, I’m assuming, I normally don’t get the time to go back and reread some of my favorite digital preservation papers, discover new favorites I missed previously, or to follow the sourced papers to see where it takes me. Because my interests lie in what it takes to build and grow effective digital preservation programs, I focused on preservation requirements, capability criteria, maturity models, self-assessments, risk assessments, audits and certifications.  Besides all the benefits that come from rereading these guidance documents, papers, and standards; several things struck me in the process that I’d like to share with you.

Read More

Welcome to the Digital Preservation Laundrette!

Matthew Addis

Matthew Addis

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Matthew Addis is Chief Technology Officer for Arkivum


This blog post is both a demonstration of how to extensively torture a metaphor if you try hard enough, which I'm certainly want to do from time to time, and a look at some of the serious issues of digital preservation at an industrial scale outside of memory institutions. 

The metaphor is washing machines, the industrial application is research data preservation, and the answer, perhaps paradoxically, is to choose to do less for more.

Addis 1aI've been involved for over 2 years now with the Jisc Research Data Shared Service (RDSS).  This has the ambitious and laudable goal of providing a national Shared Service for Research Data Management to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK, including the deposit, storage, publication and preservation of a wide range of digital research outputs. 

Read More

Bit Preservation is NOT a Question of Technology!

Eld Zierau

Eld Zierau

Last updated on 30 November 2017

Eld Zierau is Digital Preservation Specialist PhD at the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, Denmark


 And yes, it does involve technology, but technology is just a tool, in the same way as a word processing editor is a tool for a writer.

Today, there is a growing awareness of the need for bit preservation, but there are still a lot of talk about backup, hardware longevity, bit preservation as a technology solution etc. I will here focus on the technology contra non-technology parts, and I will therefore take the liberty to assume the following: It is common knowledge, that there needs to be copies of data in bit preservation, and that these copies of data are equally worthy (not backup copies of an original), and that the copies of data (replicas) are regularly checked and fixed for errors.

Zierau 1

Figure text: Bit preservation with coordinated independent replica units in different organisations, expressed in OAIS terms and images from digitalbevaring.dk

Read More

Digital Music Production MK I.

Thomas Bårdsen

Thomas Bårdsen

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Thomas Bårdsen is Audio Production Manager at the National Library of Norway


I guess the first digital thing that entered my house growing up, was music. A shiny disc of digital information, read out via laser technology. So futuristic, at the time I think it even changed my hairstyles in a more “pointy” direction.  Those discs were just an end product of a whole new direction in music production. The whole music production chain aimed digital. The discs were graded and stamped as if they were jewelry. DDD meaning digital technology were used from start to finish. Music productions have in some ways been born digital for over 35 years. It has also left some strange digital collections behind. In the very early eighties, going digital was a risky and costly piece of business.  The previous analog era in music technology, had at least tried to be compatible. The new approach from the industry was that of proprietary systems. Legendary record producer Richard Burgess called the approach of the early digital audio formats a winner takes all play, were larger companies hoped on maximizing profits by squeezing out all competition.

Read More

2017: A Watershed Year for Digital Preservation?

Ross Harvey

Ross Harvey

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Ross Harvey is Professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.


Preparing a new edition of Preserving Digital Materials with Jaye Weatherburn (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) has provided the opportunity to reflect on a large body of material about digital preservation. What I have observed suggests strongly that in the future, 2017 will be considered as a watershed year for digital preservation.

Sometimes the progress of digital preservation seems to resemble a tortoise inching along. Solid foundations are in place, and the need for action is better understood, but these only brush the surface of the many, varied, and evolving challenges. Four challenges seem particularly resistant to change: managing digital preservation, especially its lack of integration into mainstream practice; funding digital preservation – there’s never enough; peopling digital preservation, there being a lack of skilled people; and making digital preservation fit—lack of scalability of digital preservation activities.

Read More

The Future of Television Archives

Richard Wright

Richard Wright

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Richard Wright runs Preservation Guide, a consultancy on audiovisual preservation. Before retiring, Richard worked as a Technology Manager at BBC Information & Archives from 1994. 


Not everyone knows that there even are television archives. Europe is fortunate in having a tradition of public service broadcasters. They are publicly supported in various ways (licence fee, limited advertising, direct government funding) but all have a remit to provide high-quality information and entertainment. Broadcasting can be seen as ephemera, but yesterday's ephemera becomes today's heritage. Of particular interest in a time of fake and false news is the role of public service broadcasters in providing quality factual material: news and current affairs.

Public service broadcasters, particularly in Europe, have also led the way in maintaining archives of their productions. While drama and entertainment programmes are kept for repeats and for sale to other countries, factual content is heavily recycled to add depth and interest to current programmes. In the BBC, about 30 to 40 percent of 'the news' is actually archive material. Other uses include biographies; retrospectives on people, places and political situations; cultural history; and a wide range of factual content that needs archive footage for context and historical memory. Up to 2010, about 20% of the BBC television archive was accessed each year, and 95% of that use was internal: back into the BBC for adding depth to new programmes. The other 5% was commercial use. Broadcast archives had little or no public access. In the UK, public access to BBC Archives was via copies of tapes sent from the BBC to the British Film Institute.

Read More

If I had a time machine: Letter to past-DP-newbie-me

Michelle Lindlar

Michelle Lindlar

Last updated on 29 November 2017

Michelle Lindlar is Digital Preservation Team Leader at Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) in Germany.


Dear past self,

You left your IT job a couple of months ago to work in digital preservation. It seemed like a really exciting and good fit given your background and interests. I think you’re still trying to work out the culture shock of working in a public service environment and trying to figure out what digipres is ‘zactly. I thought a few pointers and words of encouragement from future-you-who-has-been-in-the-job-for-a-while would be good.

Read More

Stop, collaborate and listen! NSLA’s here with a successful vision

NSLA

NSLA

Last updated on 29 November 2017

National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) is a leading library sector collaboration of the National, State and Territory libraries of Australia and New Zealand. 


How Australasian libraries are working together on digital preservation

How often do you leave a conference, or a meeting, with the best intentions of “collaborating more”, only to see those intentions evaporate quicker than rain on bitumen on a hot summer’s day, as soon as you return to your desk and look at your email inbox? We don’t make these statements flippantly; most of us share a sincere commitment to work together, recognising that for us to move forward and progress our work, we need help from others. Sadly though, what happens next is that reality takes over. Business-as-usual kills the best intentions.

Despite this, the national libraries of Australia and New Zealand and state and territory libraries of Australia have found a model of collaboration that has proven to be extremely rewarding. National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) brings these ten libraries together under a shared vision of connecting library professionals to information, and to each other. The libraries have many differences – they range significantly in size; they have differing mandates, and differing priorities – and yet, NSLA is a success story.

One of the significant NSLA success stories is the Digital Preservation working group. Formed in 2012, the group brings together representatives from each of the ten member libraries to identify best practice for preserving digital content – practices that are best served by a collaborative approach.  

Read More

Subcategories


Scroll to top