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Dennis Phillips

Dennis Phillips

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  • 1. Working Across Organizations to Successfully Implement Cooperative Digital Preservation Future Perfect Conference 2012: Digital Preservation by Design (March 2012)Abstract Besides the Church History Department, a number of other departments support This paper discusses the cooperative, Church functions and activities. Examplesoutreaching model of digital preservation that is of these departments include Auditing,being successfully implemented by the Church Education, Family History, Finance,of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across General Counsel, Media Services, Physicalnumerous organizations. Facilities, Public Affairs, Security, Temples, Welfare Services, etc.Introduction to the Church of Jesus In 1966, the Deseret ManagementChrist of Latter-day Saints Corporation was organized to manage The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day some of the commercial companiesSaints is a worldwide Christian church with affiliated with the Church. Today, this more than 14.4 million corporation owns and oversees media, members and 28,784 insurance, and hospitality businesses. congregations. With headquarters in Salt Executive Support for Digital Lake City, Utah Preservation (USA), the Church Due to the Church’s scriptural mandate operates three to keep and preserve records, digital universities, a business preservation is extremely important tocollege, 136 temples, and thousands of Church leadership. This translates to strongseminaries and institutes of religion around and consistent executive sponsorship plusthe world that enroll more than 700,000 ongoing funding and IT support, which arestudents in religious training. absolutely critical to digital preservation The Church has a scriptural mandate to success.keep records of its proceedings and In addition, the Office of the Churchpreserve them for future generations. Historian and Recorder provides constantAccordingly, the Church has been creating and vigilant oversight of the Church’sand keeping records since 1830, when it preservation efforts. This is one reason whywas organized. A Church Historian’s Office the Church Historian and Recorder is thewas formed in the 1840s, and in 1972 it was Executive Director of the Church Historyrenamed the Church History Department. Department. 1
  • 2. Responsibilities of the Church The plan identifies all records series (i.e.,History Department collections) produced by the department and sets a retention schedule and a final The Church History Department has disposition for each collection. Someresponsibility for collecting, processing, schedules call for records to be destroyed asproviding access to, and preserving records soon as their active life is over. Othersof enduring value that originate from all the require the records to be kept for a numberChurch organizations identified previously. of years in order to satisfy legal and/or With such a broad range of records- government compliance requirements.producing sources, the Church History On average, less than ten percent of theDepartment has implemented an collections are given a final disposition ofoutreaching, cooperative approach to “archive,” which means the collectiondigital preservation that is proving to be should be preserved for future generationsremarkably effective. because of its enduring value. The records management plan also identifies which collections should be digitized (if they are not born-digital) for easier access and for digital preservation. An Appraisal Advisory Committee, composed of experienced archivists, reviews the department’s records management plan and helps with appraising records for preservation value Church History Library before giving final approval to the plan. at Temple Square in Salt Lake City Because of this outreaching, cooperative approach to records management, each At the heart of this approach is the Church department has a recordsChurch History Library Division. Within management plan in place today that meetsthis Division are the following teams which the needs of the department as well as theare relevant to this paper—Records Church.Management, Acquisitions, Archival Developed in 2009, a CollectionsProcessing, and Integration and Access. The Development Policy provides the followingunity and coordinated efforts of these teams criteria for Church History Departmentare a major factor contributing to the acquisition of materials—success of the program. The outreaching, cooperative approach 1. Applicability to the Church Historybegins with the Records Management Department’s purposeTeam. This crucial team works with the 2. Provenance (i.e., the collection’s origin,Records Coordinator of each Church authenticity, and history of ownership)department to develop a detailed records 3. Historical significancemanagement plan for that department. 4. Usefulness, including expected frequency of access 2
  • 3. 5. Relative value compared to existing Church Information and Church History Department holdings Communications Services6. Anticipated costs of acquiring, processing, providing access, and As mentioned previously, IT support is preserving absolutely critical to digital preservation7. Physical condition (if not born-digital) success. Recognizing this, Church and prospects of long term viability leadership provided the Church History8. Legality of title Department with a dedicated digital preservation IT team from Church As may be inferred from these Information and Communications Servicesacquisition criteria, virtually all the records (ICS). This critical team consists of a digitalthat are acquired by the Church History preservation solutions manager, softwareDepartment are candidates for preservation developers, quality assurance engineers,because the criteria ensure that only records and application support engineers. Theof historical value—and thus enduring preservation IT team also has access to avalue—are accepted. software architect, and works closely with Records and artifacts may be donated to the digital preservation product managerthe Church History Library. If they are who reports to the Church Historyaccepted per the acquisition criteria listed Department.on the previous page, the Library’s As with the Church History LibraryAcquisitions Team is responsible to process Division, the unity and coordinated effortsthe records for digital preservation. of these team members are crucial to the Processing of archival records that success of Church History’s outreaching,originate within the various Church cooperative digital preservation program.organizations is performed by the Library’s Working cooperatively together, theArchival Processing Team. One member of extended preservation team implementedthis team has the title of Digital Archivist. the Digital Records Preservation SystemProcessing steps for digital preservation (DRPS) illustrated on the next page.include digitizing (if needed), digital DRPS is based on Ex Libris Rosetta—acuration, and cataloging. specialized application that provides Also, the Integration and Access Team configurable preservation workflows andsets metadata standards and specifies how advanced preservation planning functions.records are to be organized. NetApp StorageGRID is the DRPS When the Church History Department storage layer. It provides Informationacquires records, whether donated or Lifecycle Management (ILM) for the DRPScreated by Church organizations, it takes archive. In order to support ILM migrationover stewardship of those records. In effect, of preservation files from disk to tape,the donors and Church organizations StorageGRID utilizes IBM Tivoli Storagetransfer responsibility for preserving their Manager as an interface to tape libraries.records to the Church History Department. 3
  • 4. DRPS also employs software extensions that One example of this occurs with thewere developed by the ICS preservation team Media Services Department. This prolific(shown in the red boxes below). department generates multiple petabytes of production audiovisual data annually in order to support the Church’s worldwide communications needs. To illustrate, last Christmas the Church launched a new website as a gift to the world that provides free Bible videos of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (biblevideos.lds.org). Architecture of the Church History Department’s Digital Records Preservation System Nativity scene from biblevideos.lds.org (DRPS) DRPS is a dark archive—meaning that Viewable with a free mobile app, thesedelivery of requested records is only digital videos were produced by the Mediaprovided to the department or institution Services Department.that produced the records. Likewise, About 40% of Media Services’ projectsrecords in the archive may only be are targeted for archiving. However, only adiscovered by the organization that portion meets Church History acquisitionproduced the records. Furthermore, criteria. The others are required by Mediaauthorized access requests are serviced by Services to support long term productionDRPS staff; thus producers of records do needs. Media Services’ projects tend to benot have direct access to the DRPS archive. cascading, meaning that something createdThis arrangement enhances security of the today will likely be used many times in thearchive. future to augment other projects (the Bible videos are an example of such cascading).Outreaching, Cooperative Digital Since DRPS was implemented to meetPreservation the needs of all the Church, Church History’s outreaching, cooperative In some cases, a department’s records approach to digital preservationmanagement plan calls for certain records accommodates Media Services’ need toto be archived that do not fit the Church archive projects that do not meet ChurchHistory Department’s acquisition criteria. History acceptance criteria. 4
  • 5. However, a different stewardship model team collaborated with Media Services inapplies to these projects. In effect, the order to automate the DRPS ingest process.Church History Department makes DRPS Many considerations were involved toavailable as a service to archive them. make the automation seamless. At the top The DRPS service model requires that of the list were issues with cataloging andMedia Services (i) be responsible for the discovery.master catalog of these projects, (ii) provide The Church History Library catalogs itsrequired preservation metadata, and (iii) holdings at the collection level. Ex Librisassist with future file format Aleph is the catalog software, andtransformations. collections are discovered with Primo. In return, the DRPS operations team On the other hand, Media Servicesmanages the projects once they have been catalogs its projects at the item level. Aingested into DRPS. Visual Resources Library (VRL) was Another example of cooperative digital developed by ICS for catalog software, andpreservation applies to Media Services’ discovery was also custom developed.born-digital projects. In order to bridge these differences, the Those born-digital projects which meet ICS integrated catalog team, in response toChurch History acquisition criteria may be Church History direction, implemented anneeded for production purposes many instance of Aleph for Media Services thatyears after they are archived (e.g., the Bible can be discovered using Primo.videos). Therefore, the DRPS operations Media Services was responsible forteam has agreed to ingest born-digital migrating its VRL catalog to this instance ofprojects into DRPS in their production file Aleph, which they were willing to doformat (DNxHD wrapped in an MXF because of anticipated DRPS benefits.container) rather than the preferred Another challenge of automated ingestpreservation format (Motion JPEG 2000 was automation of metadata extraction forwrapped in an MXF container). digitized projects. To meet this challenge, Years from now, when these born-digital the ICS preservation team developed a toolfiles are not as likely to be needed for that automatically extracts metadata fromproduction work, they will be transformed either instance of Aleph, depending onto Motion JPEG 2000 (MJ2) files with whether the project to be ingested fallsassistance from Media Services. under the DRPS service model or the This cooperative approach meets the Church History acquisition model.needs of Media Services while reducing The next step was to integrate DRPSChurch History preservation risk by with Media Services’ systems. This requiredminimizing the number of file format the DRPS operations team to developtransformations required to ultimately workflows in conjunction with Mediaachieve the MJ2 preservation format. Services that define the data and metadata Because of the enormous capacity of flows between the systems. WorkingMedia Services’ files to be ingested into cooperatively, the teams finished the taskDRPS, the Church History/ICS preservation promptly. 5
  • 6. System integration also required DRPS acquisition criteria, however, so DRPS haspersistent identifiers (PIDs) to be passed been offered to the institutions as a service.back to Aleph as well as the Media Asset Since these institutions do not have theManagement System so a project can be same kind of working relationship with therequested for delivery from DRPS using the Church History Department as the ChurchPID that DRPS created for that project. departments discussed previously, the As a consequence of the DRPS service Church History preservation teammodel explained previously, the Church developed a customized Memo ofHistory Department developed the Understanding for each institution thatfollowing policy regarding the number of provides guidelines for working together incopies to be kept in the DRPS archive (note: a cooperative manner.“version” refers to file format Each Memo of Understanding covers thetransformations or physical records)— following topics— The number of archived record copies (including a. Glossary of Digital Preservation Termsversion copies) to be maintained and/or managed by b. DRPS OverviewDRPS will be determined on a records collection basis c. DRPS Service Modelaccording to appraised value and availability of physical d. Pre-ingest Activitiesrecords. Each determination will specify the number of e. Ingest Activitiesphysical version, previous version, and current version f. Ongoing DRPS Management andcopies to be maintained (including after ingest), as well as Access/Delivery Activitieslocation placement for each copy. The minimum number g. Service Level Agreementsof current version copies is two, and they must be placed h. Cost Agreementsin different locations. Three (or possibly more) current The DRPS operations team is currentlyversion copies are desirable if no physical version copy is working with three of these institutions toavailable and appraised value warrants such. The begin ingesting the initial collections theymaximum number of previous version copies is two. Allcopies are to be located so as to maximize physical safety have targeted for digital preservation.of the records. Previous version copies should be BYU (Provo), however, decided todeaccessioned from the archive when they can no longer implement its own instance of Rosetta inbe rendered or they no longer provide a useful purpose. order to perform a proof of concept test in Another example of the Church History 2012 to determine if BYU will bring digitaloutreaching, cooperative approach to preservation in-house. Because the Churchdigital preservation involves the Church’s purchased an enterprise license for Rosetta,institutions of higher learning. These BYU was able to install Rosetta withoutinstitutions consist of Brigham Young incurring a license fee from Ex Libris.University (BYU) located in Provo, Utah; A final example of Church History’sBYU-Idaho; BYU-Hawaii; and the LDS cooperative approach to digitalBusiness College in Salt Lake City. preservation is related to fixity information Each of these institutions has a records that is required to ensure DRPS datamanagement plan that identifies collections integrity.the institution desires to preserve. Most ofthe collections do not meet Church History 6
  • 7. In order to implement fixity information Secrets of Successas early as possible in the preservation Reflecting on reasons why the Churchprocess, and thus minimize data errors, the History Department is enjoying successDRPS operations team runs tools developed with its outreaching, cooperative approachby the ICS preservation team that create to digital preservation, the preservationfixity information for producer files before team identified the following—they are transferred to DRPS for ingest. Therefore, producer departments need  Top down executive support andnot worry about generating fixity commitment to digital preservation.information to preserve their records.  Internal cooperation between Church History divisions.Looking to the Future  External cooperation between Church History (responsible for preservation The Church History Department has also tasks), Church Information andreached out to the University of Utah Communications Services (theLibrary—offering to help preserve its technology arm), and the records-collection of records that relate to Church producing departments/institutions.history. These are not trivial relationships. The University of Utah is a publicuniversity in Salt Lake City. Its Library has Getting down to a more personal level,collected many records over the years about the outreaching, cooperative approach toUtah history. Since the State of Utah was digital preservation explained in this paperfounded by pioneer members of the Church is also largely successful because thein 1847, these records are of interest to the various teams involved (i) are willing toChurch History Department. learn and understand the needs of others, The University of Utah Library has (ii) recognize and utilize the strengths andexpressed interest in the Church History expertise of others, and (iii) are willing toDepartment’s offer, so future collaboration adopt best practices from each professionalwill assure that these valuable historical discipline.records are preserved digitally with DRPS. Also, some Deseret Management ConclusionCorporation businesses have recently The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-dayexpressed interest in using DRPS as a Saints is making a substantial investment toservice to preserve some of their records. extend the reach of its Digital Records So the outreaching, cooperative model of Preservation System, as described in thisdigital preservation that is being paper. The benefits of doing this cannot besuccessfully implemented by the Church of measured in financial terms, however.Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will Those benefits include building charactercontinue to expand as more organizations and strengthening families—both of whichcome to understand the benefits of utilizing are designed to foster both personal andDRPS to preserve their records of enduring family happiness.value for future generations. 7