Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Digital curation and quality standards for memory institutions: PREFORMA research project

Digital curation and quality standards for memory institutions: PREFORMA research project. Antonella Fresa, Börje Justrell, Claudio Prandoni. Archival Science. 25 Mar 2015.  [PDF]
Memory institutions are facing increasing content for long-term preservation. The intention of PREFORMA project (PREservation FORMAts for culture information/e-archives) is to establish a long-term sustainable ecosystem around a range of practical tools with the stakeholders. According to the recent European Cultural Heritages study, 
  • 3 % of institutions studied have a written digital preservation strategy (from 44 % for national libraries to 12–25 % for museums)
  • About a third of the institutions are included in a national preservation strategy
  • 40 % of national libraries say there is no national digital preservation strategy
  • 30 % of institutions are included in a national digital preservation infrastructure
There are barriers for digitization and curation, such as: 
  • cost of digitization
  • high costs of digital preservation, due to the use of separate solutions implemented by each memory institution
  • cultural content is complex
Digital preservation is defined by the Digital Preservation Europe project as ‘‘a set of activities required to make sure digital objects can be located, rendered, used and understood in the future’’. To be used meaningfully in the future, digital objects should be preserved in a context that makes them usable and understandable for future users. The  preservation  of  digital  information  is  an  ongoing  action,  to  be periodically revised, in order to update data sets and metadata formats.

In the area of creation and appraisal of digital objects, there are three identifiable
major work areas:

  1. Standardisation of the communication between the producer and the archive;
  2. Development of tools supporting generation and transformation of metadata;
  3. Development of tools for automated or semi-automated appraisal of data.
Important aspects for digital preservation during ingest are:
  1. File format
  2. Authenticity, integrity and provenance  data 
  3. Completeness of metadata  accompanying   digital  objects  
  4. Transformation of objects that may be necessary 
The PREFORMA activities intend to allow institutions control  over  the  technical  properties  of  preservation  files through an open-source conformance checker and creating an ecosystem around the implementation for specific file formats. The first activity is to develop an open-source toolset for conformance checking of digital  files. The second activity is to establish a network of common interest in order to gain control over the technical properties of preservation files

Preservation and access to cultural heritage materials participates in movement towards ‘‘unlocking the full value of scientific data’’. 

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