Monday, February 22, 2010

Digital Preservation Matters - February 22, 2010

Appraisal Actions and Decisions. Chris Prom. Practical E-Records. February 15, 2010.

Most development work on digital repositories focuses on the requirements of the OAIS reference model. But OAIS doesn’t say how records should be selected for deposit. While each archive has a different focus, selecting records for inclusion in an archive is heavily debated. The appraisal process requires careful and intelligent decision making by a person. When appraising electronic records, several tools are needed:

  • examine, identify, compare, delete, rename, and reorganize records
  • manage information concerning records surveys/assessments.
  • manage submission agreements
  • ensure that appraisal actions are documented.

A set of tools is needed to examine, characterize, delete and possibly, reorder records quickly. This would make it easier to decide if the records are within the scope of the archives policy, then take appropriate actions concerning them.


E-Library Economics. Steve Kolowich. Inside Higher Ed. February 10, 2010.

Two studies from the Council on Library and Information Resources examine the implications of libraries changing to digital collections. Libraries seem to be headed in the direction of primarily digital infrastructures but the journey is slow going. Digital standards, such as those for eBooks, are still changing. “While they enjoy the searchability of electronic documents and databases, academics still prefer holding a book in their hands to read it.” The studies point to an average of $4.26 per book per year to keep the book on the shelf. The cost for digital is much less; the digital media repository Hathi Trust stores five million copies at between $0.15 and $0.40 per volume, per year. Books in high-density storage facilities cost only $0.86 per year to keep in usable condition. “The administrators who provide library budgets may be reluctant to fund new facilities to house print collections and may question large expenditures to support both print and electronic formats. Library directors must consider not only the immediate expectations of faculty, but also the long-term goals for the library.”


Studies Cite Argument for, Resistance to Increased Digital Library Collections. Library Journal. February 11, 2010.

A reaction to the E-Library Economics article. The keys to success are to communicate with and educate the students and faculty why the changes are important; to emphasize the preservation of resources, security, and the benefits; and to make the electronic resources available without barriers. One concern, the “move to electronic collections requires certainty about access to digital collections and their persistence. Also, removing books would not change the fixed costs of the building. The report authors also acknowledge “that the business model for ebooks remains unsettled and that print plays an important role for resources that don't yet work so well in digital format."


Using DROID for Appraisal. Chris Prom. Practical E-Records. February 17, 2010.

DROID is a tool to help archivists identify file formats. But it may be valuable in the appraisal process to help an archivist understand the components of a records series. By running DROID and analyzing the reports, it is possible to identify particular file formats outside of the proposed collection scope, especially useful if they are deep in a directory structure. Specific examples and processes used are outlined.


Film Institute launches first digital archive in Wales. BBC News. 9 February 2010.

The British Film Institute has launched its first "digital jukebox" in Wales, allowing people to access its archive. The Mediatheque is already available in England. The system allows people to watch films and TV programs, currently 1,500 titles, from the national archive free of charge; 85% of the titles had not been released on DVD or online.


Innovation: We can't look after our data – what can? Tom Simonite . New Scientist. 11 February 2010.

Anyone worried about the fragility of digital data and civilization’s chances to survive would do well to look to their own data stores first. “Most of us today are blithely heading for our own personal data disasters” because of benign neglect. Data is often lost more from disorganization than from a technological catastrophe, though that happens too. Two possible approaches are mentioned: the Self Archiving Legacy Toolkit (SALT); and the Pergamum project. We are in need of tools to help with diverse, disorganized digital archives which are becoming the norm.


Court Finds E-Mails Stored on Old Archiving System Reasonably Accessible; Costs Exaggerated. Kroll Ontrack. Recent ESI Court Decisions. February 2010.

A court case where the defendant argued that e-mails archived on the company's "cumbersome" old system were not reasonably accessible. “The court found that the plaintiff should not be disadvantaged since the defendant, a "sophisticated" company, chose not to migrate the e-mails to the now-functional archival system and thus determined that the e-mails were reasonably accessible.”

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