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The National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) is pleased to announce that “Ensuring long-term preservation and usability of digital information” has been published on its website. This page describes the needs to ensure long-term preservation and accessibility of digital information, including Internet resources and packaged digital publications such as CDs, DVDs and software.

The main contents are as follows:

  • Summaries of studies conducted by the NDL for ensuring long-term access to digital information.
  • Introduction of the NDL Digital Archiving System.
  • Links to the sources of information on the international standards, guidelines, projects, papers and reports, relating to long-term use and preservation of digital information.
  • “The Long-term accessibility of packaged digital publications (NDL Research Report No.6)” is also available (in English) as a PDF file (518KB). This is a compiled report of FY2003 and FY2004 studies about usability of packaged digital publications.

From Listserve Jan 07 ppp1.jpg

“DigitalPreservationEurope is pleased to announce the release of the second in a series of thought provoking and controversial position papers on a range of issues surrounding digital preservation, ‘So Where is the Black Hole in our Collective Memory?’. It is our intention that these papers will promote vigorous debate within the digital preservation community and encourage people to think about digital preservation in new and innovative ways by exploring and challenging the received wisdom.

Harvey’s position paper asks important questions: Have the digital preservation community cried wolf too often? Are our strident, alarmist proclamations about the loss of digital materials too extreme? He argues that our inability to bring evidence to bear in support of such claims leave us exposed and easily overlooked.

You can comment on this paper and the issues it raises by joining the debate in the DPE forum by visiting here.

You can also access the position paper by visiting here.”

Alan’s thoughts

The paper comes out with the standard revisionist line, ie that examples of data loss are in fact examples of near data loss, or indeed data recovery. Useful to have a summary of the Usual Suspects: Viking lander (data recovered), BBC Domesday (data recovered), first email [AA who cares?], first website [AA ditto], 1960 US census data (data recovered). I have my own experience of this with FIF images.

The paper however does not mention that these data archaeology projects were expensive: good digital preservation policies would have prevented the data from becoming endangered in the first place. Moreover, these were all successful data projects. I wonder if there are examples out of there where the data archaeology was left too long?

From Listserve, 17 Jan 07. Personal names and emails removed.

Digital Preservation Europe is delighted to announce its second international Digital Preservation Challenge.

About the Digital Preservation Challenge

DigitalPreservationEurope (DPE) raises awareness and improves practice in the management, longevity, and reuse of digital assets. To this end, DPE is delighted to announce the second international Digital Preservation Challenge. The Digital Preservation Challenge aims to promote innovation at all levels and will provide an insight into the range of digital preservation risks currently being faced by international research and practitioner communities.

The challenge invites participants to overcome the barriers hindering access to five digital objects. Each set of objects is accompanied by a highly abstracted scenario based on real-life situations. These scenarios are intended to make the challenge more accessible to participants from all backgrounds while not trivialising the serious nature of the digital preservation challenges facing society.

The first DPE Digital Preservation Challenge ran from 25 May to 15 July 2007, Miguel Ferreira of the University of Minho, Portugal, who was awarded the first prize commented:

“The problems proposed in the challenge made me realize how diverse preservation scenarios can be and how difficult it is to find good sources of information, tools and services for carrying out preservation interventions. The challenge also made me realize how specific and time-
consuming preservation interventions can be and how difficult is to find good and general solutions applicable to all sorts of preservation contexts.”

Evaluating submissions

Submissions to the second Digital Preservation Challenge will be assessed by a panel of international digital preservation experts and practitioners. The incremental scoring method the panel will use emphasises the thoroughness and quality of the documentation of the processes used to solve a challenge task rather than the overall outcome itself. In this respect, solutions to single tasks or sections of the challenge will also be considered and it may be possible for an individual to win the challenge even if he/she cannot ultimately render all the objects. Winning submissions to the Digital Preservation Challenge will be published on the DPE website following the announcement of the winning entries.

Important dates

Opening of the Challenge: 15 January 2008
Deadline for submissions: 30 May 2008 at 4pm GMT
Announcement of winners: ECDL 17 September 2008, Aarhus, Denmark


First Prize 3000 Euros
Second Prize 1500 Euros
Third Prize 500 Euros

To learn more about or to take part in the Digital Preservation Challenge, please visit here.

Questions or comments should be sent here.

From Listserve, 17 Jan 07

In December 2006 the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (KB), National Library of the Netherlands, commissioned the RAND Corporation/RAND Europe to analyse KB’s e-Depot strategy, following up on the positive assessment and advise of an international Evaluation Committee in 2005.

The Technical Report “Addressing the uncertain future of preserving the past. Towards a robust strategy for digital archiving and preservation” was presented on 2 November 2007, during our International Conference on Digital Preservation Tools and Trends. The Koninklijke Bibliotheek has now released a Response to the recommendations of the RAND Report. The KB aspires to implement its reponsibility towards researchers, research institutions, research libraries and publishers by consolidating its position in the international vanguard of digital preservation.

The whole text of the Report can be accessed on our website here.

The Response of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek can be accessed here.

From Listserve 16 Jan 07:

The Digital Curation Centre was delighted to present the Draft DCC Curation Lifecycle Model at the 3rd International Digital Curation Conference 2007. 
The model provides a generic graphical high-level overview of the stages required for successful curation and preservation of digital material from initial conceptualisation. The Digital Curation Centre will shortly start to use this draft model to ensure that information, services and advisory material cover all areas of the lifecycle.
The development of the model is now open to public consultation. We would be grateful for any comments or thoughts before 29 February 2008. We are also hoping to develop domain specific variations of the model, so ideas and comments relating to particular domains would also be welcome. The model can be found here.

Fuller information can also be found in the current edition of the International Journal of Digital Curation – Issue 2, Volume 2, 2007, here.
Comments can be posted on the DCC Forum under “Draft DCC Curation Lifecycle Model”.

From the listserve, 2007

Although this is a fine piece of equipment I’m not sure it would present
good value for what you want to do. If conservation is the main aim then
you should be thinking about these main stages;
Convert the analogue cassette into a digital Wav file i.e. play the
cassette and record it on your PC in Wav – We use a thing called Plus
Deck 2 which is simply a cassette deck that fits into a PC. In fact
connecting any good quality cassette player to a PC with a sound card
should suffice.
So now you have the wav files which, once checked for quality / content,
become your preservation master and should be kept on a server or hard
drive etc in a number of locations.
If any of the files need filtering etc to improve sound problems this
should not be done to the preservation master but to a newly created wav
Then you can down convert them to the smaller compressed MP3 format and
use these for dissemination.
All documentation and metadata on the original tapes / boxes etc should
be recorded and new metadata about the digitization process created and
CD-R or DVD-R discs are a convenient way of handling these sort of files
but they for have potential for failure over time becoming completely
unreadable. These should not be used as long term preservation media.
Hope this is helpful,
—–Original Message—–
From: Archivists, conservators and records managers.

Subject: Oral history conservation project
We are currently working on an oral history conservation project. We are investigating the best way to convert our
collection of cassette tapes into .WAV files on to CD-Rs for long-term
We are considering converting our collection ourselves in-house, and are
therefore currently looking into equipment that we could use. In the
British Library Sound Archives’, ‘Digital Equipment Guidelines’, they
mention the Tascam CC-222 MKII cassette to CD transfer deck as a way of
digitising material. I wonder if anyone has had any experience of this
piece of equipment and could give me any opinions on it? Also, has
used any other equipment that they could recommend or give us their
Any replies would be greatly appreciated.

[names etc removed]

Smmary of responses from archives-nra email list:

—–Original Message—–From: Archivists, conservators and records managers. Sent: 11 December 2007 15:54

Subject: open source repository software for digital archives – summary of responses
Many thanks to those of you who responded to my enquiry about using institutional repository software to manage born-digital archives for long-term preservation. A summary of responses follows:I was recommended to consult DCC (Digital Curation Centre) and AHDS (Arts and Humanities Data Service) for advice. DCC have produced technology watch papers on the various IR software available –
and AHDS have a useful webpage about the development of their repository.
West Yorkshire Archive Service are currently testing Fedora for the purpose of managing digital archives. It was suggested to contact Wellcome Institute where Fedora has been implemented as a digital preservation testbed, and I was advised that the University of Hull’s RepoMMan Project documentation – particularly D-D4 – is much clearer and more comprehensive for beginners than the user documents on Fedora’s own websites. Finally, the University of London Computer Centre got in touch to share their experience in developing digital repositories. Staff in the Digital Preservation team developed Fedora for the recently launched Linnean Society online archive of digitised images. (

ULCC also brought to my attention that as part of the PARADIGM project there was a test comparison between Fedora and Dspace software, ie for use within a Digital Archive context. It was found that Fedora seemed the better choice for digital archives, as it was more flexible and customisable. On the Digital Presevation Training Programme course at ULCC, attendees have been warned that you do need considerable IT support in order to customise software like Fedora. PARADIGM project officers, and the National Library of Wales (who have implemented Fedora) are two organisations worth contacting about specifications for a digital archive.

Some more links c/o ULCC: Dspace at Cambridge example – See blog posting about comparisons of software: Thanks to all who responded – I hope these links are helpful for list members. As I’m about to leave this post, my colleagues here at the Red Cross will be following this up in the new year.

Hi again,

I have been asked to correct a mistake in my previous summary about ULCC’s development of the Linnean Society digital archive. This was built on Eprints, not Fedora as I stated. My apologies for this mistake! More info here:

MF also pointed out the UK-centric nature of the resources I listed, and brought to my attention RODA in Portugal:

Thanks all!

[names etc removed]