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Digital preservation, digitisation and disaster management: an overview. Michael Day, UKOLN, University of Bath http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/ Digital disaster: are you prepared? , University College London, 23 June 2000.

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digital preservation digitisation and disaster management an overview

Digital preservation, digitisation and disaster management: an overview

Michael Day,

UKOLN, University of Bath

http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/

Digital disaster: are you prepared?, University College London, 23 June 2000

UKOLN is funded by Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives & Libraries, the Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Councils, as well as by project funding from the JISC’s Electronic Libraries Programme and the European Union. UKOLN also receives support from the University of Bath where it is based.

presentation outline
Presentation outline

The presentation will cover:

  • Some definitions
    • Digital preservation
    • Digital reformatting (digitisation)
  • Digitisation
    • purpose and process
  • Digital preservation
    • the problem, some projects
  • Digital disaster management

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

definitions 1
Definitions (1)

Digital preservation

  • A definition:
    • “... The planning, resource allocation, and application of preservation methods and technologies necessary to ensure that digital information of continuing value remains accessible and usable” - Margaret Hedstrom (1997)

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

definitions 2
Definitions (2)

Digital reformatting (digitisation)

  • The creation of digital surrogates of non-digital information objects
    • Digital imaging technologies
    • Structured text (e.g. SGML)
    • Data
  • Purposes
    • Access
    • As part of a preservation strategy (preservation reformatting) - an addition to the preservation tool-kit

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digitisation purpose 1
Digitisation - purpose (1)

Reasons for digitisation:

  • For access or preservation?
    • “The primary use of digital imaging into the near future will be to improve access” - Anne R. Kenney (1998)
  • For preservation, use microform
    • “... microfilm has continuing priority as a recording and storage medium on grounds of quality and ‘future proofing’” - DFG working group on digitisation (1997)

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digitisation purpose 2
Digitisation - purpose (2)

Preservation depends on:

  • An awareness of the digitisation life cycle
  • The use of standards were appropriate
  • The creation of good quality master files (with associated metadata)
      • “... Strive to create access master files in a way that makes them worthy of long term retention - so that disposition decisions are based on continuing value and functionality, not limited by technical decisions made at the point of conversion or anywhere else along the digitisation chain” - Anne R. Kenney (1998)

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digitisation selection 1
Digitisation - selection (1)

Dependent upon the particular purpose of any given preservation programme

  • Some published guidance exists, e.g.:
    • Selecting library and archive collections for digital reformatting (RLG, 1996)
    • Selecting research collections for digitisation (CLIR & ECPA, 1998) - includes a ‘decision-making matrix’
    • Guidelines for digital imaging (NPO & RLG, 1998)
  • Need for best practice (AHDS)

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digitisation selection 2
Digitisation - selection (2)

Ask some questions, e.g.:

  • Who owns the intellectual property rights in the resource?
  • Are there similar products available?
  • Does the intellectual nature of the original resource warrant its digitisation?
  • What is the physical condition of original resource?
  • Who are the current and potential users of the resource?
  • How will they need to use it?
  • What are the costs and benefits of digitisation?

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digitisation preparation
Digitisation - preparation

Some considerations:

  • Preservation
    • handling of original material
    • design of cradles
    • lighting, etc.
  • Who does the digitisation?
    • In-house
    • Contractor
  • Preparation of metadata

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digitisation capture
Digitisation - capture

Technical considerations, e.g: for imaging:

  • Image quality
  • File formats
  • Compression
  • Colour space
  • Bit depth
  • Tone distribution
  • Targets
  • Resolution

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digitisation metadata
Digitisation - metadata

Making of America II testbed project:

  • Descriptive metadata
    • for resource discovery, etc.
  • Administrative metadata
    • information that allows a repository to manage its digital collection
      • e.g. date of scan, resolution, rights information
  • Structural metadata
    • metadata relevant to the presentation of a digital object to users

RLG Working Group (1998)

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digitisation conclusions
Digitisation - conclusions

Some principles:

  • No single set of guidelines appropriate for all circumstances
  • Be aware of the digitisation life cycle
  • A need to embed digitisation into the core mission of libraries and archives
    • Cultural institutions “must now appreciate that digitization is a normal part of doing business - one that is worthy of commanding its share of institutional resources” - Anne R. Kenney (2000)

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digital preservation 1
Digital preservation (1)

Guiding principle:

    • “Digital technology makes it possible to provide new and exiting methods of access to information, but in the process we cannot abdicate our responsibility for preservation ...” - Deanna Marcum (1997)

Catalyst:

  • Report of the Task Force on the Archiving of Digital Information (1996)
    • Commission on Preservation and Access
    • Research Libraries Group

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digital preservation 2
Digital preservation (2)

Technical problems (potential disasters):

  • Media longevity
    • Magnetic and optical storage media deteriorate (and can be re-used)
  • Software dependence
    • Information is often stored in formats that are dependent upon particular software
  • Hardware obsolescence
    • Machines (computers, disk drives, etc.) rapidly become obsolete and non-repairable

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digital preservation 3
Digital preservation (3)

Other problems:

  • Intellectual property rights
    • Does an organisation have the legal right to preserve an object? If not, how should this be negotiated?
  • Authenticity
    • Is a digital object what it claims to be? (intellectual preservation)
  • A need for preservation policies
    • RLG Needs and Requirements study (1998)

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digital preservation 4
Digital preservation (4)
  • Preservation strategies (none perfect):
    • Creating hard copy
    • Technology preservation
      • Museums of obsolete hardware
    • Migration
      • The periodic transfer of digital materials from one generation of technology to a subsequent one
    • Emulation
      • Programs that mimic the behaviour of the original technical environment

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

some projects 1
Some projects (1)

Electronic records:

  • North America: IMOSA, Pittsburgh Project, UBC Project
  • Europe: DLM-Forum
  • UK (PRO) - Electronic Records in Office Systems (EROS) project; National Digital Archive of Datasets (NDAD)
  • Austrialia: NAA Recordkeeping Metadata for Commonwealth Agencies, SPIRT Recordkeeping Metadata project
  • International: InterPARES project

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

some projects 2
Some projects (2)

Libraries and higher education:

  • Cedars: CURL Exemplars in Digital Archives
  • Camileon: Creative Archiving at Michigan and Leeds: Emulating the Old on the New
  • NEDLIB: Networked European Deposit Library
  • National Library of Australia
    • PANDORA, Digital Services Project, Preservation Metadata Working Group
  • British Library
  • RLG & OCLC - best practice

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digital disaster 1
Digital disaster (1)

Digital materials vulnerable to disaster:

  • e.g. fire, flood, adverse weather, pollution, chemical contamination, war, sabotage, power cuts, computer viruses, hacking, accidental data loss, obsolescence, etc.

Need for disaster management planning:

  • needs to be part of the wider institution’s disaster management strategy
  • risk assessment
  • regular routines - backups, migration and off-site storage
  • regular maintenance of equipment

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

digital disaster 2
Digital disaster (2)

Once disaster occurs:

  • may need to contact data recovery experts - either in-house or external
  • data can be recovered in some cases, but is expensive
  • Some examples:
    • US 1960 Census
    • Challenger space shuttle tapes (IBM)
    • GDR files (no system documentation)
  • Seamus Ross and Ann Gow, Digital archaeology: Rescuing Neglected and Damaged Data Resources (1999)

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

conclusions 1
Conclusions (1)

Some things to consider:

  • The purpose of digitisation
  • The importance of standards, documentation and metadata
  • Remembering the life-cycle
    • “... how data is created and its form will impinge directly upon how it can be managed, used, retained and preserved at any future date” - Neil Beagrie and Daniel Greenstein (1998)

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

conclusions 2
Conclusions (2)
  • The essential fragility of all digital information:
    • “Being digital means being ephemeral” - Terry Kuny (1998)
    • “... digital information lasts forever - or five years, whichever comes first” - Jeff Rothenberg (1995)
  • Be aware!

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.

web pages
Web pages

UKOLN Metadata Web pages:

http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/

Digital preservation bibliography:

http://homes.ukoln.ac.uk/~lismd/ preservation.html

Digital disaster: are you prepared? - UCL, 23 June 2000.