Friday, November 30, 2007

Digital Preservation Matters - 30 November 2007

Council Conclusions on scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation. The Council Of The European Union. November 2007.

The Council of the European Union presents some conclusions regarding digital preservation and recommendations during the next few years:

  • access to and dissemination of scientific information is crucial and can help accelerate innovation;
  • effective digital preservation of scientific information is fundamental for current and future development of research
  • it is important to ensure the long term preservation of scientific information, publications and data, and include scientific information in preservation strategies;
  • monitor good practices for open access to scientific information and development new models
  • experiment with open access to scientific data and publications to understand contractual needs
  • encourage research and experiments into digital preservation on deploying scientific data as widely as possible for open access to and preservation of scientific information.


Shifting Gears: Gearing Up to Get Into the Flow. Ricky Erwayr. OCLC. October 2007.

Efforts to digital special collections mean we need to re-look at what we are doing. Do we digitize for access or preservation, or both. How do our selection criteria affect the digitizing efforts. Access is important. We should preserve the unique items to the best of our ability, but it doesn’t mean we only have once chance to do it right. We may want to re-digitize when the technology improves. Scan items as part of the initial accessioning process; create a single unified process. Metadata can be improved as needed; it can be an iterative approach. Move to a program approach, not just special projects. It should be part of the regular budget. To do a better job we need to “integrate digitization into all workflows and user services”.


Digital library surpasses initial goal of 1 million books. International Herald Tribune. November 27, 2007.

The Universal Library project has surpassed its latest target, having scanned more than 1.5 million books. At least half the books are out of copyright or scanned with the permission of copyright holders. The library's mission is to make information freely available and to preserve rare and decaying texts. It is the largest university-based digital library of free books and its purpose is noncommercial. The library has books published in 20 languages, including 970,000 in Chinese, 360,000 in English, 50,000 in the southern Indian language of Telugu and 40,000 in Arabic.


Presentations from iPRES - 2007 International Conference on Preservation of Digital Objects. National Science Library . November 2007.

This site contains many pdf files of the presentations given at the October iPres conference in China. These are interesting to review. Some that I found particularly useful include:

  • Exploring and Charting the Digital Preservation Research Landscape, Seamus Ross
  • Chinese Digital Archival Network of Foreign STM Material, Xiaolin Zhang
  • A Practical Approach to Digital Preservation: Update from PLANETS, Helen Hockx-Yu
  • Challenges of Digital Preservation: Early Lessons from the Portico Archive, Eileen Fenton
  • Developing a CAS E-Journal Archiving System, Zhixiong Zhang
  • Comparative Evaluation of Major IR Systems for Preservation, Ting Zeng
  • New Partnerships for Scientific Data Preservation and Publication Systems, Zhongming Zhu


Towards the Australian Data Commons: A proposal for an Australian National Data Service. The ANDS Technical Working Group. October 2007.

This paper, among other topics, discusses the reasons to focus on data management, the issues, and the programs to deliver the data. While the paper looks specifically at a national data service, there are aspects that are useful for local digital preservation. Here are some interesting notes from it.

  • Important activities include identifying and deploying policies and technologies to allow users to gain seamless access to data collected within multiple institutionally operated repositories.
  • The intent is to provide common services to support research to make it easier to discover, access, use, analyze, and combine digital resources as part of their activities. They should also support and advise researchers and research data managers about appropriate digital preservation strategies.
  • We are in a data deluge. It can only continue and grow in intensity as the number, frequency and resolution of data sources rises and as information becomes universally ‘born digital’.
  • Data is an increasingly important and expensive ingredient of research activities and needs increasing attention to be managed efficiently and effectively.
  • The sponsors of data capture and care should help determine the accessibility of the data
  • Not everyone can use the same solution, so there may need to be multiple responses.
  • There should be a registry of repositories with services offered
  • Provide assistance to others on adopting the plans and getting the service they need.
  • Collecting and managing the metadata is critical. Best to collect early and automatically.

The data service believes it can contribute most effectively by developing services and activities that enable stewardship within multiple federations of data management and data user communities.

In ten years time, it will be successful if:

  • A data commons exists in a network of research repositories and the data is discoverable;
  • Researchers and data managers perform well with well formed data management policies;
  • More research data is routinely deposited into stable, accessible and sustainable environments;
  • More people have relevant expertise in data management


Stewardship of digital resources involves both preservation and curation. Preservation entails standards-based, active management practices that guide data throughout the research life cycle, as well as ensure the long-term usability of these digital resources. Curation involves ways of organizing, displaying, and repurposing preserved data.


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