This blog contains information related to digital preservation, long term access, digital archiving, digital curation, institutional repositories, and digital or electronic records management. These are my notes on what I have read or been working on. Please note: this does not reflect the views of my employer or anyone else.
This is an overview of digital imaging over the past 10 years. It has moved beyond the experimental stage, though in many institutions is still isn’t a mainstream program. There is a growing understanding of the significant investment required for digital initiatives, particularly in the infrastructure, standards, metadata, and managing them long term. The more we learn, the more there is to learn. Some feel we are carrying the flawed earlier ‘preservation reformatting’ such as microfilm into the digital areas. Technology is never “THE answer” to our problems. The goal is to use the tools wisely, not just to have the technology. Often digital preservation was an extension of microfilming brittle books. But users are asking more than what microfilm could provide. We are still asking many of the same questions we were asking 10 years ago. We have accepted digitization, but it is not “completely synonymous with preservation”, though we are moving forward. Every project may have different digitization and preservation needs.
There has been progress in digital preservation since the first recommendations were published in 1996. Some elements include: OAIS; Trusted Digital Repositories; a preservation metadata data dictionary; or the options of digital repositories. There is a conference devoted just for digital preservation (iPres) and more literature on the topic. There is an increase in the number of standards now. The three components of a digital preservation approach presented at the Cornell workshop are organizational, technological, and resources. The organizational is the “what”, the technological is the “how” and the resources is the “how much” is needed to produce the outcomes. A challenge is to balance time and resources of developing a repository internally against the external environment. ‘There is currently no “one stop shopping” for keeping up with digital preservation research and development. Keeping up takes effort, but it is worthwhile.’
Open access and self-archiving repositories enhance access to current research but do not necessarily provide long term preservation of the contents. Libraries cannot rely on those repositories for at least two reasons.
The repositories lack the technical, organization and financial support needed to preserve materials.
The deposit agreements do not necessarily convey the preservation rights needed.
“Digital preservation, by its very nature, must impinge upon the rights of the copyright owner” since they need to be copied and recopied. Copyright law does not does not give a general exemption for preservation. Typical deposit agreements do not include the preservation rights. Deposits without the right to preserve may put the repository at risk, though it is difficult to say how much. Only the “journals that are part of formal third party journal archiving programs can be said to be effectively preserved. In sum, libraries cannot yet rely upon open archives for long-term access to the journal literature.”