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113 1 0 ORGANIZING DIGITAL PRESERVATION Barbara Sierman How to preserve? The National Library of the Netherlands (KB) holds a small manuscript with the intriguing title ‘How to preserve books for eternity’, written centuries ago, more precisely in 1527 (Porck 2007). The booklet is bound as an introduction together with a larger manuscript. Books were of course valuable treasures in those days, and monasteries appointed a person with the special task of taking care of the books. In eight rules the requirements for taking care of the books is described. As the manuscript has survived through the centuries, it seems that these eight rules worked well in this case! How we would like to have such a well defined and clear overview of a limited set of rules to preserve digital material for the long term! But, alas, the digital world is complex and constantly changing. Research into long-term digital preservation and its consequences started only 20 years ago. Although nowadays there are many initiatives and promising developments worldwide, much needs to be done before we will be able to conquer all the challenges relating to long-term digital preservation. The Digital Library concept requires us to protect the digital material which enables us to realize our core business: to give access to our collection. What is digital preservation? There are many definitions of digital preservation (or digital curation). One of them quite often cited is from the ‘Handbook of digital preservation’ (Handbook 2008) as a ‘series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary’. Digital preservation is not only about storing digital objects for the long term, but also about keeping this information accessible for future users. The phrase “a series of managed activities” implies that there is an organization in place which is capable of doing this. Digital preservation often starts within a pilot project, carried out by some specialists in the library, to explore the playing field and gain experience. But after the project(s), digital preservation requires permanent organization and processes, with a clear mission, policies, staff, a business plan and an IT infrastructure. Libraries are very experienced in these areas in the analogue world, and this will help staff in understanding the changes that are needed to adapt the existing business to the digital world. Collection management, preservation, access methods, metadata and so on are all still as valid in the digital world as in the analogue, but practices, terminology and certainly scope of operation may differ greatly. Since 2003 the Open Archival Information System standard (CCSDS, 2002), (OAIS) has been the leading model for digital preservation. To have a basic understanding of BPDG_opmaak_12072010.indd 113 13/07/10 11:51 Barbara Sierman 114 this model is a prerequisite for librarians involved in digital preservation. This conceptual model describes the functional entities related to long-term preservation and explains the tasks and responsibilities of a long-term archive. The word ‘ archive’ is used here in a broad sense, as an archive “consisting of an organization of people and systems, that has accepted the responsibility to preserve information and make it available for a designated community”. The standard is applicable in a variety of organizations, from archives to institutional repositories and from space agencies to libraries. Many initiatives have been undertaken to translate this model into practical implementations of digital archives, as each organization needs to adapt this generic guidance for its own environment. Basic processes The long-term preservation of digital material involves a series of steps: –  The acquisition of digital material, by creation or by purchasing –  Pre-ingest: checking the received material (for viruses, completeness, etc.) and preparing it for ingest, by conversion into SIPs (Submission Information Packages) –  Ingest: importing the SIPs, controlling quality and generating AIPs (Archival Information Packages) –  Data management: applying appropriate preservation strategy and metadata –  Archival storage of the material: importing AIPs into permanent storage –  Giving access to the digital material to users, –  Monitoring the digital material and its environment and planning necessary preservation actions, like refreshment, migration etc. as necessary Organizational aspects Long-term preservation of digital material involves different time frames; some speak of five to ten years, others of fifty years and more. Libraries have traditionally thought in terms of centuries and may see no reason to depart from that ideal. During this period continuous curation of the digital material is necessary, as the technology on which access to the digital material is dependent will keep changing. Unlike in...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9789461660015
Related ISBN
9789058678379
MARC Record
OCLC
715171689
Pages
250
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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