Friday, December 07, 2007

Digital Preservation Matters - 07 December 2007

Ten years after. Priscilla Caplan. Library Hi Tech. Editorial. Vol. 25 N. 4 2007.

This editorial from Priscilla reflects on the progress made in digital preservation in the past 10 years. Digital preservation in no longer a little known concept, but a problem to be solved. It is part of the mainstream. Much has been accomplished, though there is still a lot of progress to be made. Europe has a different approach; it sees this as “part of a set of curation activities.” Their approach would “help reduce our apparent confusion between institutional repositories and preservation repositories.” Few institutions will have the resources to run a true preservation repository. “Digital curation may be departmental, and archiving institutional, but I believe preservation will have to be consortial.” The US approach has been to focus on short term projects rather than long term infrastructure. There are still some basic infrastructure needs: schema, conversion utilities, and registries. We also need to develop centers to promote and assist digital preservation. We need to provide more education for both data creators and data curators.

Standards Group Accepts PDF. Sumner Lemon. IDG News Service. December 05, 2007.

Adobe PDF 1.7 has been approved as an ISO standard. The ballot for approval of PDF 1.7 to become the ISO 32000 Standard was passed by a vote of

13-1. Specialized subsets of PDF (PDF/Archive etc) had been proposed or approved as standards by ISO. The approval of PDF 1.7 is now an "umbrella" standard to unify these different subsets. Adobe gives up some control over the development of future versions.

Project SPECTRa: JISC Final Report. March 2007.

The principal aim of the SPECTRa project (Submission, Preservation and Exposure of Chemistry Teaching and Research Data) was to provide the high-volume ingest and reuse of experimental data through institutional repositories. It used the DSpace platform because of existing infrastructure and previous experience. They developed Open Source software tools and customizations which could easily be incorporated within chemists' workflows. Metadata was based on Dublin Core. They felt that serious preservation work must be at the institutional, rather than departmental, level. The metadata, identifiers, and normalizing data in open formats would make long-term preservation more possible. Preservation of chemistry data file formats is a difficult area. Their approach was to capture essential metadata at submission or extract it automatically from the data files if possible. All files should be validated against specifications. Depositing files in an institutional repository should guarantee against the loss or corruption of the raw data, but this is insufficient to ensure future usability. A policy of format migration will be necessary for much of the data.

Other project's findings included:

• it has integrated the need for long-term management of experimental chemistry data with the maturing technology and organizational capability of digital repositories;

• scientific data repositories are more complex to build and maintain than are those designed primarily for text-based materials;

• the specific needs of individual scientific disciplines are best met by discipline-specific tools, though this is a resource-intensive process;

• institutional repository managers need to understand the working practices of researchers in order to develop repository services that meet their requirements;

• IPR issues relating to the ownership and reuse of scientific data are complex, and would benefit from authoritative guidance based on UK and EU law.

Google Plans Service to Store Users' Data. Kevin J. Delaney. Wall Street Journal. November 27, 2007.

Google is developing a service to let users store contents of their computers, such as word-processing documents, digital music, video clips and images. It would let users access their files via the Internet from different computers and share them online with friends. The service would face questions on issues such as data privacy, copyright, cost, and technical challenges of offering service without interruption.

Iron Mountain Acquires Xepa Digital, LLP. Press Release. November 19, 2007.

Iron Mountain acquired Xepa, a company that deals with converting analog and out of date digital audio and video to high resolution digital file formats. They will offer on-site digital conversion for the items being stored.

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