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Digital Preservation

Cluster description

Integrated research in the preservation cluster will provide the methodological framework and theory for ensuring that digital libraries research addresses preservation issues and digital libraries incorporate preservation elements in their designs. The research agenda in digital preservation is very broad and the objective will be to tackle a small number of aspects at this stage. Research in the area of digital preservation is fragmented and in need of integration. From the array of possible research tasks, the Preservation Cluster will focus on those designed to initiate collaborative interaction between institutions and individuals, focus and enable digital preservation, and deliver tangible results by bringing together fragmented research results in different laboratories. The Preservation Cluster has four strategic goals:

  • To eliminate the duplication of effort between research activities by creating an integrating framework to co-ordinate and promote research and projects and to enable identification, collection, and sharing of knowledge and expertise
  • To examine core issues that will deliver essential guidelines, methods, and tools to enable the construction of preservation functionality within digital library activities and deliverables are created.
  • The establishing of testbeds and validation metrics. These will provide a framework for testing preservation strategies, for establishing the preservation worthiness of digital library implementations, and create greater w comparability between research and implementation activities.
  • To relate the digital preservation research agenda more directly to the development of exploitable product opportunities and to develop links with the industrial sectors.

The major objectives of the Preservation Cluster are to catalyse the research and funding environment to enable of delivery of the DELOS/NSF research agenda for Digital Preservation and Archiving, to lay the foundation for testbeds and necessary metrics and tools for assessing preservation strategies, to raise the profile of digital preservation issues within the Digital Library Community, to collaborate with other international bodies to ensure consistencies of digital repository standards, to ensure access to file format information and to establish the relationship between a typology of file formats and preservation strategies, to enable the definition of attributes and functionalities that need to be represented, and ensure that system development methodologies reflect preservation analysis and design issues.

Cluster partners

  • HATII, University of Glasgow (Participation led by Seamus Ross), United Kingdom
  • Universität zu Köln (Participation led by Manfred Thaller), Germany
  • Nationaal Archief Netherlands (Participation led by Hans Hofman), Netherlands
  • Phonogrammarchiv, Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Participation led by Dietrich Schüller), Austria
  • Technische Universität Wien (Participation led by Andreas Rauber), Austria
  • Universita' degli Studi di Urbino Carlo Bo (Participation led by Maria Guercio), Italy
  • UKOLN, University of Bath (Participation led by Michael Day), United Kingdom

Cluster objectives

The DELOS Preservation Cluster will thus aim to:

  • (inter)connect people (researchers, stakeholders, suppliers, vendors etc.), organisations and projects that can deliver this research agenda;
  • co-ordinate and promote research and projects;
  • enable identification, collection, and dissemination of information, knowledge and expertise;
  • provide mechanisms for developing testbeds and metrics for assessing the effectiveness of preservation strategies, and tools for evaluating digital preservation strategies;
  • create a coherent platform for proactive co-operation, collaboration, exchange and dissemination of research results and experience in the preservation of digital objects;
  • relate the research agenda more directly to the development of exploitable product opportunities and develop links with the industrial sectors;
  • help eliminate the duplication of effort between the various research activities by creating an integrating framework; and
  • ensure that the work of the digital preservation cluster has a direct impact on digital library architecture and development work of other clusters in the DELOS network.

Achieving these goals will be difficult and the Preservation Cluster will work towards this objective through a series of focused collaborative activities.

Cluster activities

The Cluster is focused five core tasks over the next twelve to eighteen months:

  • Establish a framework for a digital preservation testbed environment and Produce metrics for testing and validating digital preservation strategies.
  • Contribute to the development of digital repository frameworks and mechanisms for validating the suitability of digital repository implementations. Evaluate the current and emerging systems and storage models for digital repositories.
  • Contribute to the development of file format registries and the mechanisms for their use through the definition of relationship between file format types and preservation methods and to assess the viability of producing generic metrics to measure the viability of this preservation approach.
  • Define framework for documenting behaviour and functionality. Develop an overview of the attributes of functionality and behaviour that need to be represented and mechanisms for representing them.
  • Develop the requirements for a preservation functionality modelling tool and integrate that into design and development technologies.

Expected results

During its first phase the cluster aims to deliver:

  • A study on the metrics for testing and validating digital preservation strategies and framework
  • A survey of systems and storage models for digital repositories
  • A report on file format registries and the relationship between them and preservation strategies
  • An analysis of the functionality and Behaviour Attributes and Verification Metrics
  • The most important result of the collaboration will be the integration of the research activities across the distributed research teams and the development of a share problem and research space.