JISC Beginner's Guide to Digital Preservation

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

Case Study: Tap into Bath

Posted by Marieke Guy on September 8th, 2010

There is a lot of value in digital preservation case studies. Building knowledge from observation by sharing approaches can save others a lot of time and effort.

My colleague Ann Chapman has written the following brief case study on the archiving of the Tap into Bath demonstrator project. The demonstrator project contained elements including a Web site, data base and software. Ann can be contacted via her UKOLN staff page.

Tap into Bath

Tap into Bath was a demonstrator project to create a searchable database of collection-level descriptions as part of the Collection Description Focus work programme. The lead partners were UKOLN and University of Bath Library; and twenty-five contributing partners from archive, library and museum collections in both public and private sectors in the City of Bath.

Tap into Bath Home Page

The project began on 12 January 2004. The database was created by a member of the University of Bath library staff using the RSLP Metadata Schema for collection description and a MySQL database. A programmer was hired to create the search and display interfaces; it was part of the contract that the project would be making this available as open source software. The completed database and the project web pages were held on a University of Bath server. Partner organisations submitted collection entries as Word documents and the data was entered into the database by University library staff. The Tap into Bath database was formally launched at the Guildhall in Bath on 8 December 2004.

The MySQL database and the search and data entry interfaces were designated as open source and the un-populated database and accompanying software offered for re-use with accreditation. Several enquiries were received; some did not proceed (typically because funding was unavailable for data collection and data entry tasks) but the following resources were created, both of which have Web links to the Tap into Bath site.

The Southern Cross Resource Finder (SCRF) is a web-based resource that enables users to discover collections from libraries, archives and museums which hold resources useful for the study of Australia and/or New Zealand. Produced by and is maintained by the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, King’s College London, it was launched in 2005.

Milton Keynes Inspire is an online searchable database to promote access to the collections in museums, archives, galleries and libraries in Milton Keynes, launched on 4 November 2005.

In 2007, project partners were contacted and asked to review their entries and supply any additional or amended data and the database was updated.

Tap into Bath record for the Holburne museum

In 2010 UKOLN received notification that the University of Bath server would be de-commissioned later that year and reviewed the status of the project. The conclusion was that the data needed further updating immediately and on a regular basis in the future and that it would benefit from a re-designed search and display interface. Neither UKOLN nor any of the partners has the resources to host, maintain and/or develop the resource and so it was decided to take the following actions.

  • Archive on UKOLN server and burn onto DVD
    • Populated Tap into Bath database
    • Un-populated database
    • Web apps for data entry and search & display interfaces
    • Word documents ‘High Level Design’ and ‘System Maintenance Guide’
    • Metadata schema
    • Guidelines for data entry
    • Screenshots of search and display pages in use
  • Create a zipped download of unpopulated database, Web interface software and installation documents in Word format for organisations to re-use
    • Create new Web pages for the project on the UKOLN server that:
    • Record the history of the project
    • State that the resource has been taken down
    • State that the Tap into Bath email address is no longer active
    • Provide access to a zipped download of unpopulated database, Web interface software and installation documents in Word format for organisations to re-use.
  • Notify partners of new URL and request they remove the old URL if this is currently displayed on their Web site
  • Notify Southern Cross and Milton Keynes Inspire of change of URL so they can update the acknowledgement link on their Web pages
  • Tap into Bath email address: messages currently go to a member UKOLN’s Outreach & Community team. This to be changed so messages go to a member of UKOLN’s Systems and Support team.
  • Record all of the above activity for UKOLN resource management purposes

Carrying out the above processes has ensured that the Tap into Bath site and data has been effectively archived for the short-term. Openly documenting the process enables interested parties to be aware of the archive process and know who should be contacted if any information or data is required.

2 Responses to “Case Study: Tap into Bath”

  1. Cultural Heritage » Blog Archive » Archiving digital resources Says:

    [...] the Case Studies section I’ve just contributed a brief case study on the Tap into Bath collection description database. This was a demonstrator database and a combination of factors (no resources to maintain accurate [...]

  2. Newsletter for September 2010 « UKOLN Update Says:

    [...] Ann Chapman has written a case study on the archiving of the Tap into Bath Web site [...]