Susan Thomas and Janette Martin, ‘Using the Papers of Contemporary British Politicians as a Testbed for the Preservation of Digital Personal Archives,’ in JSA Vol 27 No 1, 2006

A Bodleian Library-John Rylands UL project, using staff at the Oxford Digital Library (ODL). Project began in Jan 2005 and was due to finish Feb 2007. Article mentions various iniatives and organisations which probably need researching at some point. “Digital preservation is far too complex, and urgent, an issue for any one organisation to tackle alone; therefore, co-operation and standardisation have become watchwords for a digital preservation community.”

Talks about OAIS. OAIS deliberately exchewed IT or archives jargon, to force both groups to speak the same language, although the language is therefore effectively new to both. The model is designed to be as context-specific as possible. OAIS also acts as a framework for developers of digital repository software: Paradigm itself uses Fedora. Makes the point that the metadata used for an IP varies according to its place in the model. At SIP stage, the metadata is likely to have been supplied by the producer, and will probably be unstructured and non-comprehensive. In the AIP the metadata (called the Preservation Description Information or PDI) is full and structured. At DIP stage the metadata will depend on the designated community, but is likely to be descriptive rather than technical.

Anyway the OAIS concept of ‘designated community’ means that you tend to see solutions for specific contexts, giving rise to digital repository types, eg systems to preserve e-journals in libraries (LOCKSS), web-archiving repositories, electronic thesis repositories etc – again they give some examples of real-world projects here. Sourceforge gets mentioned as an open source software repository (Marathon! Hooray!).

Paradigm is interesting as it deals with the personal records of politicians, and so no standards can be imposed on the creation, management, or disposition of records or submission metadata.

more to do 

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