Friday, March 13, 2009

Digital Preservation Matters - 13 March 2009

Update from the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access. Sayeed Choudhury. Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG). November 19, 2008. [11p. pdf]

This is a presentation about the task force. The next item is the report from the task force.

There is a focus in the task force on the economic dimensions of digital preservation. Some notes from the update: “Definition of Economic Sustainability: The set of business, social, technological, and policy mechanisms that encourage the gathering of important information assets into digital preservation systems, and support the indefinite persistence of digital preservation systems, enabling access to and use of the information assets into the long-term future.”

Economically sustainable digital preservation requires:

  • Recognition of the benefits of preservation
  • A process for selecting long term digital materials
  • Ongoing, efficient allocation of resources to digital preservation activities;
  • Organization and governance of digital preservation activities

The task force website:

Blue Ribbon Task Force Interim Report: Sustaining the Digital Investment: Issues and Challenges of Economically Sustainable Digital Preservation. December 2008. [78p. pdf]

Digital information is fundamental to modern society but there is no agreement on who is responsible or who should pay for access to and preservation of the information. Creating sustainable economic models for digital access and preservation is a focus of this group. They are looking at the current and best practices and to find or create useful models. This is an urgent task. Access to data in the future requires actions today. “Institutional, enterprise, and community decision makers must be part of the access and preservation solution.” Preserving data now is an investment in the future. Digital information has value far into the future. Sometimes we make best guesses or a hedge against the future. Decisions not made now often cost far more in the future. Without ongoing maintenance digital assets will fall into disrepair. Maintaining the assets is a problem with many sides: technical, legal, financial, and policy. This crosses all industries. There is also an opportunity cost.

Preservation is not a one-time cost; it is an ongoing commitment to a series of costs, requiring ongoing and sustaining resource allocations. Economic sustainability requires

  • Recognition of the benefits of preservation on the part of key decision-makers;
  • Incentives for decision-makers to act in the public interest;
  • A process for selecting digital materials for long-term retention;
  • Mechanisms to secure an ongoing, efficient allocation of resources
  • Appropriate organization and governance of digital preservation activities.

Decision-makers need to be aware of the value-creating opportunities from preservation. Understanding the scope of digital preservation is important. It examines the various economic models now being used; also shows a graph of Types of Information Retained the Longest. It is difficult to separate digital preservation costs from other costs. There is no substitute for a flexible, committed organization dedicated to preserving a collection of digital material. The Final Report of the task force is to be published at the end of 2009.

“Too often, digital preservation is perceived as an activity that is separable from the interests of today’s stakeholders, aimed instead at the needs of future generations. But in practice, digital preservation is very much part of the day-today process of managing digital assets in responsible ways; it is much more about ensuring that valuable digital assets can be handed off in good condition to the next succession of managers or stewards five, ten, or fifteen years down the road than it is about taking actions to benefit generations of users a hundred years hence.”

Fusion-io unveils SSD drives with 1.5GB throughput, 1.2TB capacity. Lucas Mearian. Computerworld. March 13, 2009.

Fusion-io, a Salt Lake based company, has announced a server-based solid-state drive with 1.5GB/sec. throughput. “Currently, the cards come in 160GB, 320GB and 640GB capacities. A 1.28TB card is expected out in the second half of this year.”

Preservation as a Process of a Repository. Tarrant, D. and Hitchcock, S. Sun Preservation and Archiving Special Interest Group. 18 - 21 November 2008. [pdf, ppt, pptx]

The presentation begins with different definitions of repository and Institutional Repository. Lynch defines IR as a set of services and processes, and a commitment to the digital materials created by an organization and its members. Diagrams of processes and OAIS / DCC and other models. Analysis of the preservation process. EPrints and digital preservation and repositories.

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