Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Digital Preservation Matters - February 8, 2010

Online Recordkeeping: It's All in a Name. Mimi Dionne. Internet Evolution. February 2, 2010.

The born-digital record lifecycle has five stages, in chronological order: creation; distribution and use; storage and maintenance; retention; and disposition or archival preservation. All five stages are important. One of the best practices for born-digital records is uniform file naming protocols, including location, to encourage strong content management. These should align with the records retention policies. Organizations are better off if they select the information they need to retain and destroy what they don’t need. “The benefits of implementing a records program that includes regular records destruction have far-reaching influence not only on compliance issues and maintenance of a company’s IT environment but also the health of its budget.”


SPIE to Preserve E-Books in Portico. Press Release. Portico. 2 February 2010.

Portico has agreed with SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics) to preserve its collection of e-books, currently 93 items. It already participates with Portico to preserve its e-journals. Portico now holds over 34,000 e-books and over 10,000 e-journals. The SPIE has also announced the launch of their digital library, which includes 120 SPIE Press titles from the Field Guides, Monographs, and Tutorial Texts series.


Long-Term Preservation Of Web Archives – Experimenting With Emulation And Migration Methodologies. Andrew Stawowczyk Long. IIPC. December 2009. [54 p. PDF]

The decision to emulate or migration are largely based on personal beliefs, rather than on any particular evidence. We do not know which of these is more useful in the long term. All objects change over time, so ensuring long-term, useful access to collections requires we first define the most important aspects of an object that needs to be preserved. The “Preservation Intent” may be useful for this, which is what the institution intends to preserve for any given digital object and for how long. Also needed is the creator’s intent, the contextual information and the technical information.

Two possible approaches for institutions may be:

  1. preserve digital objects over the next twenty years;
  2. find means of preserving objects for longer.

Or an approach may include both: preserve items for 20 years while the search for longer preservation mechanisms continues. “Significant properties” means the properties of a digital object that are essential to the representation of the intended meaning of that object.

The author does not recommend either emulation or migration as a perfect solution to the problem at this current time. Also, their findings and recommendations include:

  1. There are no tools suitable for long-term preservation of very large web archives
  2. All preservation actions need to be based on a clearly defined “Preservation Intent”
  3. Migration and emulation offer some time extensions to for short term access to digital objects.
  4. Emulation seems to present higher risks as a long-term preservation methodology.

It is not possible to preserve it all. Priorities need to be established for practical, long-term preservation solutions. The best hope for adequate long-term preservation, lies in continuous and systematic work, researching various preservation methodologies, and improving our understanding of the future use of web archives.


Is NAND flash about to hit a dead end? Lucas Mearian. Computerworld. February 4, 2010.

IM Flash Technologies has said that shrinking the technology much further may not be possible because of problems with bit errors and reliability. The number of electrons that can be stored in the memory cell decreases with each generation of flash memory, making it more difficult for the cells to reliably retain data.


CNRI Digital Object Repository™. Corporation for National Research Initiatives. 19 January 2010.

(CNRI) has developed a new version of its Digital Object Repository Software. It is open source, flexible, scalable, secure, and has a suite that provides a common interface for accessing all types of digital objects. Redundancy is supported by a mirroring system with software to ensure that replicated objects are kept in sync.

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