Monday, May 09, 2016

Looking Across the Digital Preservation Landscape

Looking Across the Digital Preservation Landscape. Margaret Heller. ACRL TechConnect Blog. April 25, 2016.
     "When it comes to digital preservation, everyone agrees that a little bit is better than nothing." The article cited refers to two presentations from Code4Lib 2016, “Can’t Wait for Perfect: Implementing “Good Enough” Digital Preservation” by Shira Peltzman and Alice Sara Prael, and “Digital Preservation 101, or, How to Keep Bits for Centuries” by Julie Swierczek. This article mentions two major items about digital preservation:
  1. Digital preservation doesn’t have to be hard, but it does have to be intentional.
  2. Digital preservation requires institutional commitment. 
Understanding all the basic issues and what your options are can be daunting. They had a committee that started examining born digital materials, but expanded the  focus to all digital materials because it made it easier to test their ideas. Some of the tasks they accomplished included: created a rough inventory of digital materials, a workflow manual, and secured networked storage  to replace all removable hard drives used for backups. "While backups aren’t exactly digital preservation, we wanted to at the very least secure the backups we did have". The inventory and workflow manual are living documents and are useful for identifying gaps in the processes.

They also looked at the end-to-end systems available for digital preservation, such as Preservica, ArchivesDirect, and Rosetta. Migrating from one system to another if you change your mind may involve some very difficult processes, so people may tend to stay with providers.  Another option is to join a preservation network, such as Digital Preservation Network (DPN) or APTrust, that have the larger preservation goal ensuring long-term access to material even if the owning institution disappears.

Sustainable Financing for many is the crux of the digital preservation problem. "It’s possible to do a sort of ok job with digital preservation for nothing or very cheap, but to ensure long term preservation requires institutional commitment for the long haul, just as any library collection requires."

Digital Preservation is receiving more attention digital preservation lately and hopefully more libraries will see this as a priority.

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