JISC Beginner's Guide to Digital Preservation

…creating a pragmatic guide to digital preservation for those working on JISC projects

Archive for May, 2012

DPC Technology Watch Reports

Posted by Marieke Guy on 15th May 2012

The Digital Preservation Coalition and Charles Beagrie Limited have announced the continuation of their collaboration, producing 3 more Technology Watch Reports.

‘Five new Technology Watch Reports have already been produced – or are in production – and have been enthusiastically received’, said William Kilbride of the DPC. ‘The next three will ensure that the production process continues through 2013 with themes and topics proposed and refined by DPC members to help them with digital preservation.’

The three new reports will be:

  • Web Archiving, Maureen Pennock

  • Preserving Computer Aided Design, Alex Ball (jointly with DCC)
  • Preservation Metadata, Brian Lavoie and Richard Gartner

Two of the reports are completely new, and a third one updates one of the more popular reports that has become dated since it was first published in 2005.

The DPC Technology Watch Report series was established in 2002 and has been one of the Coalition’s most enduring contributions to the wider digital preservation community. They exist to provide authoritative support and foresight to those engaged with digital preservation or having to tackle digital preservation problems for the first time. These publications support members work forces’, they identify disseminate and discuss best practices and they lower the barriers to participation in digital preservation.

‘Each ‘Technology Watch Report’ analyses a particular topic in digital preservation, evaluating workable solutions, and investigating new tools and techniques appropriate for different contexts,’ explained Neil Beagrie, series editor. ‘The reports are written by leaders-in-the-field and are peer-reviewed prior to publication. The intended audience is worldwide, especially in the UK, Europe, Australia New Zealand, USA, Canada.’

‘We expect that these reports will have a wide readership. The audience includes members and non-members of the coalition; staff of commercial and public agencies; repository managers, librarians and archivists charged with managing electronic resources; senior staff and executives of intellectual property organizations in the private and public sectors; those who teach and train information scientists; as well as policy advisors requiring an advanced introduction to specific issues and researchers developing DP solutions.’

Further publicity on each report in the series will be released over the course of the next year and DPC members will be engaged in the process throughout: draft outlines of each reports will be distributed to members for comment, members will be given access to previews before reports are released; and the whole process will be overseen by an editorial board drawn from the DPC.

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DCC Tools Catalogue

Posted by Marieke Guy on 8th May 2012

The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) has has recently updated their catalogue of tools and services for managing and curating research data.

The catalogue is available from

This is more than a new look; the catalogue has been overhauled to focus on software and services that directly perform curation and management tasks. It splits these resources into five major categories, based on who the intended users are and what stage of the data lifecycle they will be most useful in.

There is a category for Archiving and Preserving Information Packages with sub categories including:

  • Access Platforms – Tools to publish content and metadata to the web.
  • Backup and Storage Management – Tools to coordinate responsible storage and preservation strategies.
  • Creating and Manipulating Metadata – Enriching object descriptions and standardising records.
  • Emulation – Re-creating obsolete software environments to access old formats.
  • File Format ID and Validation – Defining and validating digital files.
  • Metadata Harvest and Exposure – Using OAI-PMH to share records across repositories.
  • Normalisation and Migration – Transferring digital materials into preservation-friendly formats.
  • Persistent ID Assignment – Creating unique identifiers for digital objects.
  • Repository Platforms – Enabling deposit, preservation, and access to digital content.

Sub-categories contain tables for quick comparison of tools against others that perform similar functions, linked to in-depth descriptions of how the resource can help.

This resource will evolve; if you have suggestions of tools to add please send them to info@dcc.ac.uk

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Preserving Moving Pictures and Sound

Posted by Marieke Guy on 1st May 2012

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), Richard Wright and Charles Beagrie Ltd have announced the release of the latest DPC Technology Watch Report Preserving Moving Pictures and Sound, written by Richard Wright, formerly of the BBC.

Moving image and sound content is at great risk. Surveys have shown that 74 per cent of professional collections are small: 5,000 hours or less. Such collections have a huge challenge if their holdings are to be preserved. About 85 per cent of sound and moving image content is still analogue, and in 2005 almost 100 per cent was still on shelves rather than being in files on mass storage.

Surveys have also shown that in universities there is a major problem of material that is scattered, unidentified, undocumented and not under any form of preservation plan. These collection surveys are from Europe and North America because there is no survey of the situation in the UK, in itself a cause for concern. This report is for anyone with responsibility for collections of sound or moving image content and an interest in preservation of that content. New content is born digital, analogue audio and video need digitization to survive and film requires digitization for access. Consequently, digital preservation will be relevant over time to all these areas.

The report concentrates on digitization, encoding, file formats and wrappers, use of compression, obsolescence and what to do about the particular digital preservation problems of sound and moving images.” – Richard Wright

The report discusses issues of moving digital content from carriers (such as CD and DVD, digital videotape, DAT and minidisc) into files. This digital to digital ‘ripping’ of content is an area of digital preservation unique to the audio-visual world, and has unsolved problems of control of errors in the ripping and transfer process. It goes on to consider digital preservation of the content within the files that result from digitization or ripping, and the files that are born digital. While much of this preservation has problems and solutions in common with other content, there is a specific problem of preserving the quality of the digitized signal that is again unique to audio-visual content. Managing quality through cycles of ‘lossy’ encoding, decoding and reformatting is one major digital preservation challenge for audio-visual as are issues of managing embedded metadata.

DPC Technology Watch Reports identify, delineate, monitor and address topics that have major bearing on ensuring our collected digital memory will be available tomorrow. They provide an advanced introduction in order to support those charged with ensuring a robust digital memory and they are of general interest to a wide and international audience with interests in computing, information management, collections management and technology. The reports are commissioned after consultation with members; they are written by experts; and they are thoroughly scrutinised by peers before being released. The reports are informed, current, concise and balanced and they lower the barriers to participation in digital preservation. The reports are a distinctive and lasting contribution to the dissemination of good practice in digital preservation.

Preserving Moving Pictures and Sound is the second Technology Watch Report to be published by the DPC in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd. Neil Beagrie, Director of Consultancy at Charles Beagrie Ltd, was commissioned to act as principal investigator and managing editor of the series in 2011. The managing editor has been further supported by an Editorial Board drawn from DPC members and peer reviewers who have commented on the text prior to release. The Editorial Board comprises William Kilbride (Chair), Neil Beagrie (Series Editor), Janet Delve (University of Portsmouth), Sarah Higgins (Archives and records Association), Tim Keefe (Trinity College Dublin), Andrew McHugh (University of Glasgow) and Dave Thompson (Wellcome Library).

The report is available online.

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