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Digital Preservation - Manage and Provide Access


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This presentation was given at the 2017 Society of Mississippi Archivists' Conference. It covers the final two modules of the Library of Congress' digital preservation curriculum.

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Digital Preservation - Manage and Provide Access

  3. 3. MODULES Identify - what digital content do you have? Select - what portion of that content will be preserved? Store - how should your content be stored for the long term? Protect - what steps are needed to protect your digital content? Manage - what provisions are needed for long-term management? Provide - how should your content be made available over time?
  4. 4. LEARNING OBJECTIVES • Designating People & Policies • Selecting & ManagingTechnology • Securing Funding & Advocacy • Utilizing Standards & Assessment
  5. 5. PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT • Digital preservation on going process • Involves multiple parts • Preservation planning (on-going) • Self-assessment (internal process) • Audit (external review by peers)
  6. 6. BALANCED MANAGEMENT • Preservation programs don’t run themselves • An effective approach will address • Organizational requirements and objectives • Technological opportunities and change • Resources – funding, staff, equipment, etc.
  7. 7. THREE ELEMENTS OF ORGANIZATION Preservation Management People PoliciesTechnology
  8. 8. ORGANIZATIONAL ELEMENT: PEOPLE Knowledge and skills include: • Policy development • Project management • Repository/software management, programming • Metadata management • Legal expertise • Marketing expertise
  9. 9. ORGANIZATIONAL ELEMENT: PEOPLE • Understand skills needed • Match people to skills
  10. 10. ORGANIZATIONAL ELEMENT: POLICIES • Good policies are important • Help deal with potential issues • Defines roles, responsibilities, goals, etc. • Ensure compliance with standards • Lays foundation for future growth • Examples • Strategic plan • Preservation plan
  11. 11. ORGANIZATIONAL ELEMENT: POLICIES • Examples • Strategic plan • Preservation plan • Must be written and enforce
  12. 12. ORGANIZATIONAL ELEMENT: POLICIES Benefits of a preservation policy: • Specifies institutional commitment • Developing policy builds DP team • Demonstrates compliance – meet requirements • Manages expectations – message to stakeholders • Identifies issues and challenges • Raises awareness • Defines roles and responsibilities
  13. 13. ORGANIZATIONAL ELEMENT:TECHNOLOGY • Needs to be part of overall strategy • Preservation and policy concerns should inform technology decisions • Key concerns: • Managing • Selecting • Investing • Funding
  14. 14. MANAGING TECHNOLOGY • Prioritize: weigh requirements to be met • Assess: define criteria to select appropriate • Plan: identify steps to meet goals • Select: decide when to own/join/share • Fund: allocate resources • Monitor: look ahead, be prepared • Evaluate: measure outcomes and success
  15. 15. PRIORITIZE AND ASSESS • Ask yourself questions • What are our needs? • Do we have technical staff? • Can we sustain funding commitments? • Answers should inform further decisions
  16. 16. PLAN • Develop a road map for purchases and decisions • Create backup/disaster plans (and test them!) • Consider all scenarios (paranoia can be a good thing) • Think carefully; not all decisions easily undone
  17. 17. A WORD ON BACKUPS … • No system is 100% effective • Follow the LOCKSS principle (Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe) • Devise a disaster plan and test it regularly
  18. 18. SELECTING TECHNOLOGY • Many considerations • On-premise vs. hosted • Locally developed vs. contracted • Turnkey vs. in-house development • Open-source vs. proprietary • Evaluate options and consider what is the best fit • Read fine print
  19. 19. SELECTING TECHNOLOGY Characteristics of sound software: • written in a well-documented language • usable on a wide variety of platforms • sustained support by creators/developers • modular in design • supports batch processing and workflows • licenses support secondary use
  20. 20. SELECTING TECHNOLOGY Characteristics of good vendors: • Transparent • Easily available support • Solid offerings
  21. 21. SELECTING TECHNOLOGY • Seek out other customers • Read reviews, blogs, etc. • Shop around • Always be willing to walk away from a deal
  22. 22. INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY • Do you buy it? • Do you lease it? • Do you share it? • Do you develop it?
  23. 23. INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY • Investment and selection influence each other • Look at funding levels, staff, and needs • What sort of commitment is needs/desire?
  24. 24. DESIGNATED FUNDING • Funds set aside for digital preservation • May not be explicit (e.g., budget line item) • Must be able to make a compelling case • Measurable indication of intent to preserve • Challenging to do, but important • Over time, contributes to track record
  25. 25. MONITOR AND EVALUATE • Is the software working? • Do we like it? • Does it do what we need? • Is the vendor supportive and responsive? • What are our options for migration
  26. 26. USING STANDARDS • Lots to choose from! • Why follow one? • Ensure long term preservation • Avoids haphazard planning • Helps communicating with others
  27. 27. DP STANDARDS Standards emerging since 1996 report : • Trusted Digital Repositories, 2002 • Open Archival Information Systems (OAIS) Reference Model, 2003 plus standardization (ISO 14721:2012) • Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies, 2005 plus updates • Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification (TRAC), 2011 • Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories (ISO 16363:2012) • NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation (LoDP), 2013
  28. 28. TRUSTED DIGITAL REPOSITORY A TDR should have these characteristics: • community standards (OAIS Compliance) • commitment (Administrative Responsibility) • management (Organizational Viability) • resources (Financial Sustainability) • infrastructure (Technological Suitability) • protection and control (System Security) • documentation (Procedural Accountability)
  29. 29. OPEN ARCHIVAL INFORMATION SYSTEM • Framework for designing a long term preservation system • Definition: “Any organization or system charged with the task of preserving information over the long term and making it accessible to a class of users”1. • Conceptual design for an archive • Consists of producers, consumers, management, and the archive • Each has a unique function (see right) 1. Lavoie, Brian. “Meeting the Challenges of Digital Preservation:TheOAIS Reference Model.”Accessed on April 5, 2017. oais.html.
  30. 30. MORE INFORMATION • Lavoie, Brian. “Meeting the Challenges of Digital Preservation:The OAIS Reference Model.” • ConsultativeCommittee for Space Data Systems. “Reference Model for an OpenArchival Information System.” • National Digital Stewardship Alliance:
  31. 31. Any Questions?
  32. 32. MODULE 6 PROVIDE
  33. 33. MODULES Identify - what digital content do you have? Select - what portion of that content will be preserved? Store - how should your content be stored for the long term? Protect - what steps are needed to protect your digital content? Manage - what provisions are needed for long-term management? Provide - how should your content be made available over time?
  34. 34. LEARNING OBJECTIVES • Describe the difference between preservation and access technologies • Describe the value of long-term access policies • Be aware of legal and rights management issues connected to digital records
  35. 35. OVERVIEW
  36. 36. TECHNOLOGY ISSUES Image By Bjarni Juliusson (Own work) [Public domain], viaWikimedia Commons
  37. 37. What is Long-termAccess? Preservation makes long-term access possible… Preservation • relies upon proven technologies to preserve digital objects across generations of technology • accumulates metadata over the life cycle to trace and preserve content • preservation systems create new versions of digital objects for access to deliver as needs change over time • purpose: ensure long-term access • focus: future users Access • relies on cutting edge technologies to provide best and fastest access at a point in time • selects metadata needed to use and understand content • access systems deliver objects with user-oriented services to make the objects • purpose: provide content to users • focus: current users
  38. 38. PROVEN VS. CUTTING EDGE TECHNOLOGIES Proven Reliable, well-documented, widely used Trade-off ease of use for long term sustainability Ex. Hard disks, tape drives, SQL databases, Debian Linux, C++ Cutting Edge New, advanced, and unproven Convenient, but potentially unsustainable Ex.Windows 10, CockroachDB, Dart, Fedora
  39. 39. THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE RIGHT JOB Different systems for preservation and access No one size fits all solution Ask yourself • Will this system still exist in 10 years? 20? • Is the system user friendly? • Is it fast and convenient or proven and reliable? • Does the system require third party (i.e., vendor) support? 39
  40. 40. The RightTool for the Right Job (cont’d) Static web pages - access Omeka - access Archivematica - preservation SQL Database - preservation
  41. 41. SUSTAINABILITY Access requires technology to be well managed and sustainable Long term funding and expertise need to be in place Ask yourself: What happens if funding is cut? How many staff know how to maintain the software? Is the technology robust and reliable?
  42. 42. PRESERVATION AND THE CLOUD You can’t always do it yourself Cloud service providers offer solid alternatives to self hosting Ask yourself: Do we have the funding and expertise to migrate servers? Will funding be present to sustain cloud subscriptions? What happens if we must back out of a cloud subscription?
  43. 43. PRESERVATION AND THE CLOUD (CONT’D) Benefits Easy disaster preparedness Wide range of offerings Less on-site IT staff required Drawbacks Cost Complex pricing (ex., AWS) Learning curve
  44. 44. REQUIREMENTS FOR PROVIDING ACCESS Use current and known technologies Software should be well-documented and maintained Ask yourself When was the program last updated? Is it open-source or proprietary? What is the total cost of ownership?
  45. 45. REQUIREMENTS FOR PROVIDING ACCESS (CONT’D) Content should be delivered completely, be intact, and well-formed Content should be accurately described
  46. 46. REQUIREMENTS FOR PROVIDING ACCESS (CONT’D) Provide access in accordance with policy Provide fair access Everyone should be able to access materials equally Ensure accessibility for people with disabilities
  47. 47. Managing Access E. von Seutter Photograph Collection, PI/1985.0032, Mississippi Department of Archives and History
  48. 48. MANAGING ACCESS • Policies managing digital access should apply to staff and users • Policies enable consistent, sustainable access over time. Ad hoc decisions do not! 48
  49. 49. STAFF POLICY QUESTIONS • Who is allowed to have back end access to content? • What about preservation masters versus access copies? 49
  50. 50. USER POLICY QUESTIONS • Are access policies equal for all content? • If not, how are categories managed? 50
  51. 51. USER POLICY QUESTIONS • How are exceptions/special requests handled? • How do users request/get access? 51
  52. 52. ACCESS POLICIES SHOULD... • ...address requirements for preservation systems to produce access objects • ...reflect and respond to new discovery/delivery issues that emerge • written down and implemented! 52
  53. 53. Legal Issues New Capitol Photograph Album, Series 317, Mississippi Department of Archives and History
  54. 54. LEGAL ISSUES Things to think about: Do you have the right to distribute the content? E.g., authors’ papers versus university-produced content 54
  55. 55. LEGAL ISSUES Things to think about: Are there access restrictions in deeds of gift or donor agreements? E.g., time restrictions on opening records 55
  56. 56. LEGAL ISSUES Things to think about: Is there any confidential information that must be redacted? E.g., Social Security numbers, medical information, student records 56
  57. 57. LEGAL ISSUES Things to think about: Is there any material you should not provide access to? E.g., university blueprints 57
  58. 58. • Know your content to address relevant legal issues for preservation and access • Document and preserve your decisions about legal issues regarding access to your content But I’m not a lawyer! 58
  59. 59. • Know who your legal adviser is (or find one) and develop a sound working relationship • It is your legal adviser’s responsibility to help – help them help you But I’m not a lawyer! 59
  60. 60. Understand Users Conrad Nutschan [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.0 (], viaWikimedia Commons
  61. 61. Understand Users • Know who utilizes collection • Understand what users expect • Expectation driven by technologies users know and want
  62. 62. Understand Users • How do we anticipate needs of future users? • How should digital content be packages for delivery over time? • What sort of tracking instruments (surveys, GoogleAnalytics, etc) should we use?
  63. 63. Understand Users • Preservation a pathway from one generation of technology to the next • Migration of content critical to ensuring long term access • No one can predict the future, but planning still important
  64. 64. Any Questions?