JISC Beginner's Guide to Digital Preservation

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

Archive for the 'General' Category

Wikipedia Terminal Event Management policy

Posted by Marieke Guy on 15th November 2010

A representation of the primer section of the Wikipedia message

Have you ever taken a look at Wikipedia’s Terminal Event Management policy? It details the “procedures to be followed to safeguard the content of the encylopedia in the event of a non-localized event that would render the continuation of Wikipedia in its current form untenable“.

The policy is designed to facilitate the preservation of the encyclopedia by a transition to non-electronic media in an orderly, time-sensitive manner or, if events dictate otherwise, the preservation of the encyclopedia by other means.

It starts off by saying when the policy will be implemented – imminent societal collapse e.g. limited nuclear exchange, pandemic, hypercane, supervolcano, the rapid onset of a climatic change or other global ecological disaster. Or an imminent extinction level event e.g. global thermonuclear war, asteroid impact, global revenant epidemic, stellar gamma ray burst, etc.

OK so now you are starting to wonder if this is a serious thing….It sounds like the content of a blockbuster movie!

So it’s a bit of a joke and filed under Wikipedia humor. Nevertheless the data preservation techniques and procedures are definitely of interest.

It is suggested that editors print as many articles as possible, with due regard to any personal safety concerns that may be faced in these extraordinary events. However laborious this approach may seem, editors are asked to bear in mind that transfer to electronic media, such as CD, DVD or memory stick, while quicker, would defeat the purpose of this policy.

Once again we are back to the more secure preservation format – paper!

The policy goes on to discuss the type of articles to save given that there are currently 3 million in Wikipedia:

While articles that would be of immediate utility in the changed world circumstances, such as animal husbandry and carpentry, should be amongst those articles that every editor should have in their archives, consideration should be given to the preservation of articles of high cultural significance or of a more esoteric nature.

The proposed plan is that editors and archivist all print off and store as many random articles as they can and then later on they pool their resources in an attempt to recreate Wikipedia.

What a relief to hear that an “alternative strategy will be undertaken at the Wikimedia server facility. On the implementation of the TEMP protocol, a laser etched version of Wikipedia will be created using plates of a resillient alloy to store minaturized versions of every page“.

The policy goes into more detail over the preservation approaches that can be taken if exstinction is nigh – “data shall be transmitted from the world’s radio telescopes to the 300 nearest stars and to the centre of the galaxy for as long as possible”.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, leaves us with a final thought.

While the light of humanity may flicker and die, we go gently into this dark night, comforted in the knowledge that someday Wikipedia shall take its rightful place as part of a consensus-built Galactic Encyclopedia, editable by all sentient beings.

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New Principles for Access to Digital Materials

Posted by Marieke Guy on 9th November 2010

Last week the Collections Trust announced a new set of Principles for Supporting Long-term Access to Digital Material, commissioned by MLA and produced by the Collections Trust with the support of a range of organisations including The National Archives, Heritage Lottery Fund, Archaeology Data Service, British Library, Digital Preservation Coalition, Museums Galleries Scotland, Joint Information Systems Committee and UKOLN.

The Principles form the first part of a programme of work during 2010-11 to develop guidance to support both funders and cultural institutions in developing digital resources that are more sustainable, both through Digital Preservation and more generally through the management of the Digital Content Supply Chain. The Principles Paper is available to download from Collections Link.

To keep in touch with the development of this work, and the related standards and guidelines, join the Digitisation Standards network.

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