Digital preservation

NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation simplified, see source for more info:

Level One
(Protect data)
Level Two
(Know data)
Level Three
(Monitor data)
Level Four
(Repair data)
Storage and Geographic Location 2 non-collocated copies off heterogeneous media (e.g., hard drives, optical disks, etc.) A copy at another geographic location + storage system documentation Disaster threat levels addressed A plan to keep files and metadata accessible
File Fixity and Data Integrity File fixity on ingest Virus check on ingest Regular checks + logs; detect corrupt data Replace/repair corrupted data; distributed write access to copies
Information Security Identify and restrict access rights to individual files Document access restrictions Logs of all actions on files Audit of logs
Metadata Inventory of content and its storage location + back-up Store administrative and transformative metadata Store technical and descriptive metadata Store preservation metadata
File Formats Encourage use of a limited set of open file formats and codecs Inventory of file formats in use Monitor file format obsolescence Perform format migrations, emulation and similar activities as needed

Suggestions for research agenda in digital preservation, from Digital preservation, archival science and methodological foundations for digital libraries (S. Ross, 2012, New Review of Information Networking, 17:1, 43-68, doi).:

  1. Restoration - restoring damaged digital objects, including content, context and experience and verifying their completeness.
  2. Conservation - saving digital objects before they are damaged and making sure they cannot be damaged or destroyed in the future.
  3. Collection management - making decisions about what goes in and out, etc.
  4. Risk management - determining and quantifying uncertainties and minimizing various threats.
  5. Interpretability and functionality - making sure digital objects remain meaningful, authentic, and usable.
  6. Cohesion and interoperability - maintaining connections and transitions across systems, time, and repositories.
  7. Automation - developing tools for handling big quantities of information.
  8. Preserving the context - retaining information about how the object was created and used.
  9. Storage - developing infrastructure for storing digital objects.

Preservation plan, from Systematic planning for digital preservation: evaluating potential strategies and building preservation plans (C. Becker, H. Kulovits, M. Guttenbrunner, S. Strodl, A. Rauber, and H. Hofman, 2009, International Journal of Digital Libraries, 10(4), 133-157, the Plato tool):

  1. Identification - an ID for easy location and retrieval.
  2. Status and triggers - status can be draft, waiting approval, deployed, ect. Triggers are events that warrant a planning activity, e.g., a new collection, changes in collection activities, technology, objectives.
  3. Description of the institutional setting - mission, policies, designated communities, agreements.
  4. Description of the collection - objects IDs, types of objects, original technical environment.
  5. Requirements for preservation - technology, standards, usage, legal constraints, etc.
  6. Evidence of decision for a preservation strategy - keep track of how decisions have been made and why alternatives were discarded.
  7. Costs
  8. Roles and responsibilities
  9. Action plan - what to do and when.