Research and practice in digital preservation requires a solid foundation of evidence of what is being protected and what practices are being used. The National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) storage survey provides a rare opportunity to examine the practices of most major US memory institutions. The repeated, longitudinal design of the NDSA storage surveys offer a rare opportunity to more reliably detect trends within and among preservation institutions rather than the typical surveys of digital preservation, which are based on one-time measures and convenience (Internet-based) samples. The survey was conducted in 2011 and in 2013. The results from these surveys have revealed notable trends, including continuity of practice within organizations over time, growth rates of content exceeding predictions, shifts in content availability requirements, and limited adoption of best practices for interval fixity checking and the Trusted Digital Repositories (TDR) checklist. Responses from new memory organizations increased the variety of preservation practice reflected in the survey responses.
The 2014 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship highlights emerging technological trends, identifies gaps in digital stewardship capacity, and provides funders and decision‐makers with insight into the work needed to ensure that today's valuable digital content remains accessible, useful and comprehensible in the future, supporting a thriving economy, a robust democracy, and a rich cultural heritage. It is meant to inform, rather than replace, individual organizational efforts, planning, goals, or opinions. It offers inspiration and guidance and suggests potential directions and areas of inquiry for research and future work in digital stewardship.
Altman M, Bailey J, Cariani K, Gallinger M, Mandelbaum J, Owens T.
The structure and design of digital storage systems is a cornerstone of digital preservation. To better understand ongoing storage practices of organizations committed to digital preservation, the National Digital Stewardship Alliance conducted a survey of member organizations. This article reports on the findings of the survey. The results of the survey provide a frame of reference for organizations to compare their storage system approaches with NDSA member organizations.
Data quality criteria implied by the candidate frameworks are neither easily harmonized nor readily quantified. Thus, a generalized systematic approach to evaluating data quality seems unlikely to emerge soon. Fortunately, developing an effective approach to digital curation that respects data quality does not require a comprehensive definition of data quality. Instead, we can appropriately address “data quality” in curation by limiting our consideration to a narrower applied questions: Which aspects of data quality are (potentially) affected by (each stage of) digital curation activity? And how do we keep invariant data quality properties at each curation stage? A number of approaches suggest seem particularly likely to bear fruit: Incorporate portfolio diversification in selection and appraisal. Support validation of preservation quality attributes such as authenticity, integrity, organization, and chain of custody throughout long-term preservation and use — from ingest through delivery and creation of derivative works. Apply semantic fingerprints for quality evaluation during ingest, format migration and delivery. These approaches have the advantage of being independent of the content subject area, the domain of measure, and the particular semantics content of objects and collections — so they are broadly applicable. By mitigating these broad-spectrum threats to quality, we can improve the overall quality of curated collections and their expected value to target communities.
The goals of SafeArchive are to make distributed replication easier, and to automate compliance with formal replication and storage policies. In this article, we describe the process of automated archival policy auditing in detail. First, we provide an overview of the SafeArchive system and we describe how a curator can use the tools to generate an archival policy schema and monitor it, simply. Second we identify specific TRAC criteria that can be verified automatically, and additional criteria that can be supported through integrated documentation. Third, we discuss the technical implementation of the system including the policy schema; how information used in the auditing process is obtained from a set of LOCKSS peers without modifying the LOCKSS trust model or configuration; and how the software is organized into components. Link to issue.
Altman M. Data-PASS. In Walters T, Skinner K New Roles for New Times: Digital Curation for Preservation Association of Research Libraries; 2011. pp. 51–53. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences (Data-PASS) (http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ DATAPASS/) is a broad-based voluntary partnership of data archives dedicated to acquiring, cataloging, and preserving social science data, and to developing and advocating best practices in digital preservation. Collectively, the founding partners have over 200 years of combined experience in social science data archiving.
This work is conducted by the Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences (Data-PASS). We seek to acquire and preserve data at-risk of being lost to the research community, such as opinion polls, voting records, large-scale surveys, and other social science studies; develop joint best practices for data preservation; and develop open shared infrastructure for digital preservation.
The importance of long-term access to and preservation of data for research and educational use is now widely recognized. In addition, the Federal Records Act covers data records created by federal agencies or their contractors, and requires a plan for their long-term disposition. Good practice is clear – data producers should plan for archiving of data early, so that data are available for future research and policy analysis. The successes of the Data-PASS project reflect the importance of building a partnership that drew together experienced digital archives to identify, acquire, curate, and preserve a broad range of digital content. The partnership enabled us to agree on standards, work together on technology, and share the responsibility for identifying, acquiring, and preserving the content in our field of activity. The tangible result is a significant amount of digital content preserved, which constitutes one of the core goals of the NDIIPP program. Perhaps more importantly, the partnership showed a way toward the future of digital preservation, which has been an even more fundamental goal of NDIIPP. Data-PASS demonstrated how to preserve an ever-larger share of digital social science data, and to do so in a structure that is sustainable for the very long term.
Digital libraries are collections of digital content and services selected by a curator for use by a particular user community. Digital libraries offer direct access to the content of a wide variety of intellectual works, including text, audio, video, and data; and may offer a variety of services supporting search, access, and collaboration. In the last decade digital libraries have rapidly become ubiquitous because they offer convenience, expanded access, and search capabilities not present in traditional libraries. This has greatly altered how library users find and access information, and has put pressure on traditional libraries to take on new roles. However, information professionals have raised compelling concerns regarding the sizeable gaps in the holdings of digital libraries, about the preservation of existing holdings, and about sustainable economic models.