Digital Imaging Tutorial - Digital Preservation
8. Digital Preservation
Technical solutions alone are insufficient to ensure the longevity of digital
resources. A holistic approach is called for that recognizes the
interdependencies between technical and organizational components. Among
issues to be addressed in such a strategy are staffing and training needs,
financial requirements, criteria for re-selection, and preservation metadata
Although it is useful to examine each issue in detail, successful solutions
require the integration of administrative and technical considerations. For
example, an institution may have a well-developed strategy for day-to-day
maintenance of image collections that codifies how to monitor, test, and
refresh files. However, unless there is a concomitant financial and
administrative plan that outlines how to staff and finance these activities over
time, the maintenance plan may not succeed in the long-term. Likewise,
having dedicated and qualified staff will not suffice unless there is a technical
appreciation for the lifecycle management of digital assets. Effective
management of digital collections will require institutions to develop and
follow a business plan for evaluating long-term preservation and access
requirements, identifying costs and benefits, and assessing risks.
Examples of initiatives that support such an approach include:
Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) in the UK is developing a
decision-making tree to be used in cost-benefit analysis of digital
preservation options (Administrative and Managerial Frameworks
Preservation Management of Digital Materials).
Risk Management of Digital Information project examined
the risks involved in file format migration (e.g., TIFF 4.0 to TIFF 6.0)
and developed an assessment tool to evaluate the risks involved in
migration. This tool also helps to assess institutional readiness for any
digital preservation action.
The following initiatives are examples of promising, practical approaches to
OAIS (Open Archival Information System) reference model provides a
framework for long-term digital preservation and access, including
terminology and concepts for describing and comparing archival
architectures. Both the NEDLIB and Cedars 1 projects have adopted the
OAIS reference model as a basis for their explorations.
Cedars 1 (CURL Exemplars in Digital Archives) project aims to produce
strategic frameworks for digital collection management policies, and to
promote methods appropriate for long-term preservation of different classes
of digital resources, including the creation of appropriate metadata.
Networked European Deposit Library (NEDLIB) is a collaborative project of
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