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20yrs: 2007 Brussels Digital Preservation: Setting the Course for a Decade of Change


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“Digital Preservation: Setting the Course for a Decade of Change” , a conference keynote from 2007, available now on Slideshare is the ninth of 12 presentations I’ve selected to mark 20 years in Digital Preservation. The remainder will be published at monthly intervals over 2015.
This presentation was the opening keynote to a conference in 2007 held by the Belgian Association of Documentation (BDA) to celebrate its 60th anniversary. It dates from my time at the British Library.
The conference theme was "Europe facing the challenge of the long term conservation of digitalised archives". My keynote synthesised many of the topics I was focussing on at the time (and have featured in some of my earlier slide shares in this series) including encouraging University libraries to engage more actively with research data management in the sciences, to begin developing digital special collections of individuals, and to support international efforts to ensure continuing access and preservation of e-Journals as part of the scholarly record. In addition, given the European focus I briefly covered some of the major European initiatives in digital preservation at that time.
I have selected this presentation as one of the 12 in this series, not only as it is synthesising these key themes but also because it includes some thoughts on whether digital preservation needed to be evolution or revolution (or a bit of both) for libraries and archives.

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20yrs: 2007 Brussels Digital Preservation: Setting the Course for a Decade of Change

  1. 1. Digital Preservation: Setting the Course for a Decade of Change Neil Beagrie British Library Keynote to Belgian Association of Documentation (BDA) 60th Anniversary Conference Bibliotheque royale de Belgique, Brussels November 2007
  2. 2. Focus of this lecture • Trends: past (paper)→ current (hybrid) → future (more paper + much more digital) • Licensed e-journals • e-science / e-research • e-special collections and personal archives • European Initiatives • Conclusions
  3. 3. Trends
  4. 4. Predicted Growth of Serials Publications (after EPS for e-legal deposit) 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000 16,0002001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 All serials (print + e-) Dual form e-only serials
  5. 5. Computer Processing Power and Storage 0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100 1000 10000 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 $/MB
  6. 6. Growth of Scientific Data and Data Curation • In next 5 years e-Science will produce more data than has been collected in the whole of human history • Data growth – Protein Data Bank (1972- 07/2005)
  7. 7. e-Journals and preservation
  8. 8. Archiving E- Publications • 2006 ARL/CLIR study E-Journal Archiving Metes and Bounds: A Survey of the Landscape available from <> • 2003/4 JISC e-journal archiving study by Maggie Jones available from: <http:// www. jisc. ac. uk/ index. cfm? name= project_epub_ archiving>
  9. 9. Issues Identified • Few journals are solely in digital form at this stage but parallel print/ e- access can only be regarded either as interim or partial equivalents • Perpetual access and archiving concerns • What guarantees do libraries have when they licence access to digital material they don’t own (and it is served from outside national boundaries)? • Concerns about continued access following termination of a licence are a major inhibiting factor for libraries wishing to move to e- only access
  10. 10. Emerging Services • Publishers negotiating dark archives for their back files (eg Elsevier) • E-legal deposit laws in several countries and national libraries establishing e-journal archiving programs (eg BL, KB, DB); • Third-party and consortial services (eg Portico, LOCKSS,OCLC digital archive); • Research Funders creating open-access archives of funded research articles (eg NIH, Wellcome Trust)
  11. 11. Principles? I suggest we need to identify some core principles and aims for funders/publishers/customers: • Support diversity of solutions/services - why? • State of knowledge and different approaches adopted: risks in single preservation or business model approach • Diversity of content included in different services: risks from gaps in content coverage • Support multi-node and multi-national instances –why? • not just backup/recovery – long-term geographical/political/cultural risks need to be addressed • Scholarly communication is international and intellectual capital/content/publishing of e-journals is international • Support professional “trusted” preservation repositories and services
  12. 12. e-Research and preservation (UK Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004 – 2014)
  13. 13. Information Infrastructure • 2.23 The growing UK research base must have ready and efficient access to information of all kinds – such as experimental data sets, journals, theses, conference proceedings and patents…. • 2.24 It is clear that the research community needs access to information mechanisms which: systematically collect, preserve and make available digital information; …. • 2.25 The Government [via DTI] will therefore work with interested funders and stakeholders to consider the national e-infrastructure (hardware, networks, communications technology) necessary to deliver an effective system.
  14. 14. Preservation & Curation WG • There will be dramatic growth in digital research data and publications over the next decade • Requirement to transform information provision so that UK researchers can benefit from the new research opportunities it will create • There are major challenges in the preservation and curation of digital information • Where disciplinary data centres and services exist they represent approx 1.4-1.5% of total research expenditure • Outlined preservation components of infrastructure
  15. 15. Libraries, e-research, and preservation Some issues to consider: • Different staffing/support structures for publications/data • Disciplinary differences in e-research • “80:20 rule” and implications for cataloguing or digital preservation
  16. 16. Digital Special Collections and preservation
  17. 17. British Library – Personal Archives • Relevant (digital) special collections in BL: – Literary papers and correspondence – History of science – Web-archiving (blogs) – Oral history • “Digital Lives” research theme – Synergies between different projects and collecting areas: inter-action with digital preservation or access research
  18. 18. Literary letters New York Times Essay 4 September 2005
  19. 19. Web-archiving - blogs
  20. 20. POLITICS: web-archiving
  21. 21. Digital Lives Research Project • Partners: British Library, UCL(SLAIS), Bristol (IT and Law). • Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council from Sept 07- March 09 • Website and blog
  22. 22. Digital Lives: Preservation Challenges • Digital memory over a human lifetime and beyond for individuals • Challenges- – Software and hardware obsolescence – Media life and data loss – Ephemeral data eg web-pages, email – Dispersal – multiple email/storage/publishing systems – More pro-active preservation strategies needed • Libraries need to engage in research for future digital special collections
  23. 23. European Initiatives • Libraries: e-depot (KB); Kopal (DB and partners); DOM (British Library) • Archives: PRONOM and Digital Archive (TNA); Swiss National Archives; Dutch National Archive • EU FP7 – PLANETS; CASPAR; Digital Preservation Europe; Alliance Permanent Access to Records of Science. • Europe leading the world –currently ahead of US and emerging economies? – but see iPRES 2008…
  24. 24. Conclusions
  25. 25. Evolution or Revolution? • Evolution – Print/Digital inter-dependencies – collective print storage and digitisation – Ongoing care of existing collections - lifecycle approaches to collection care and digital preservation • Revolution – New digital preservation networks and services • Professional networks eg Digital Preservation Coalition cross professional boundaries linking archives/libraries/data centres (national developments + international?) • New types of service and organisations eg File Format Registries, LOCKSS, PORTICO – New (or more significance for) Digital Objects – e-journals, e- research, e-special collections – Acceleration of Scale and Automation for print and digital – Reaching “tipping points” in print/digital mix over next decade
  26. 26. Future of Preservation Digital will begin to dominate