Friday, November 07, 2008

Digital Preservation Matters - 07 November 2008

Digital Preservation Policies Study. Neil Beagrie, et al. JISC. 30 October 2008. [pdf]

This study will become part of the foundation documents for digital preservation. It provides a model for digital preservation policies and looks at the role of digital preservation in supporting and delivering strategies for educational institutions. The study also includes 1) a model/framework for digital preservation policies; 2) a series of mappings of digital preservation to other key institutional strategies in universities, libraries, and Records Management. This is intended to help institutions develop appropriate digital preservation policies. Some notes:

Long-term access relies heavily on digital preservation strategies being in place and we should focus on making sure they are in place. Developing a preservation policy will only be worthwhile if it is linked to core institutional strategies: it cannot be effective in isolation. One section outlines well steps that must be taken to implement a digital preservation solution. Policies should outline what is preserved and what is excluded. Digital preservation is a means, not an end in itself. Any digital preservation policy must be seen in terms of the strategies of the institution. An appendix has created a summary of the strategy aims and objectives for certain institutions and the implications for digital preservation activities within the organization. Definitely worth studying the approximately 120 pages.

Predicting the Longevity of DVDR Media by Periodic Analysis of Parity, Jitter, and ECC Performance Parameters. Daniel Wells. BYU Thesis. July 14, 2008.

The summarizing statement for me was: “there is currently extreme reluctance to use DVD-R’s for future digital archives as well as justifiable concern that existing DVD archives are at risk.” We have certainly found this in our own experience, having very high failure rates with some collections.

The abstract: For the last ten years, DVD-R media have played an important role in the storage of large amounts of digital data throughout the world. During this time it was assumed that the DVD-R was as long-lasting and stable as its predecessor, the CD-R. Several reports have surfaced over the last few years questioning the DVD-R's ability to maintain many of its claims regarding archival quality life spans. These reports have shown a wide range of longevity between the different brands. While some DVD-Rs may last a while, others may result in an early and unexpected failure. Compounding this problem is the lack of information available for consumers to know the quality of the media they own. While the industry works on devising a standard for labeling the quality of future media, it is currently up to the consumer to pay close attention to their own DVD-R archives and work diligently to prevent data loss. This research shows that through accelerated aging and the use of logistic regression analysis on data collected through periodic monitoring of disc read-back errors it is possible to accurately predict unrecoverable failures in the test discs. This study analyzed various measurements of PIE errors, PIE8 Sum errors, POF errors and jitter data from three areas of the disc: the whole disc, the region of the disc where it first failed as well as the last half of the disc. From this data five unique predictive equations were produced, each with the ability to predict disc failure. In conclusion, the relative value of these equations for end-of-life predictions is discussed.

DCC Curation Lifecycle Model. Chris Rusbridge. Digital Curation Centre Blog. 8 October 2008.

The model they have put together is available in graphical form. Like all models it is of course a compromise between succinctness and completeness. They plan it to use it to structure information on standards and as an entry point to the DCC web site and it is explained in an article in the International Journal of Digital Curation. The model is a high level overview of the stages required for successful curation, and complements OAIS and other standards. The actions for Digital Objects or Databases are:

  • Full Lifecycle Actions: Description and Representation Information; Preservation Planning; Community Watch and Participation Curate and Preserve
  • Sequential Actions: Conceptualise; Create or Receive; Appraise and Select; Ingest; Preservation Action; Store; Access, Use and Reuse; Transform
  • Occasional Actions: Dispose; Reappraise; Migrate

The model is part of a larger plan to take a detailed look at processes, costs, governance and implementation.

WVU Libraries Selected for Digital Pilot Project. September 15, 2008.

The West Virginia University Libraries are among 14 institutions picked to participate in a book digitization pilot project led by PALINET. Each institution will submit five to ten books to be digitized during a pilot project. After that, the initial target will be to digitize 60,000 books and put them in the Internet Archive. “Another benefit of the project is preservation.” The Rare Books Curator, said a dilemma is allowing access and yet providing for the maximum amount of preservation. “These books are old and they’re fragile, and there is always the difficulty of preserving a book that is used a lot. Maintaining that balance is essential. It’s a fine line that we’re always on. Book digitization is a way of providing access and assuring preservation of the original.”

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