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The Importance of Standards in Digital Preservation

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  1. The Importance of Standards in Digital Preservation Tina Norris (norristl@email.sc.edu), Kayla Payne (paynekm@email.sc.edu), Jennifer Stone(jls_11@hotmail.com), Megan Summers(summers2@email.sc.edu) University of South Carolina Preservation Planning • Thesis • One of the greatest challenges facing digital preservation is the lack of standardized practices among the institutions which use and create these types of documents; therefore, it is believed that the standardization of practices in the areas of metadata, the maintenance of digital collections, and the establishment of criteria for digital acquisitions will promote communication across collections and between institutions, ensuring greater access to collections, and maintaining cultural heritage, in libraries and repositories throughout the world. Abstract Digital preservation is ever-changing and thedigital preservationists work to preserve records that are authentic and reliably available over a long period of time, while also maintaining cultural heritage. Research has shown that many institutions are struggling with challenges related to the lack of digital preservation standards in the areas of metadata, maintenance, and cultural preservation. Through a review of current literature and research, the conclusion is that uniform standards, whether generic or specific, create and establish a foundation for libraries, repositories, and other archival institutions to build their digital collections upon because these standards address specific issues and provide resolutions that will maintain accessibility, usability, and preserve cultural heritage, thus ensuring an environment that is better prepared to meet the issues facing digital collections. C O N S U ME R P R O D U C E R Data Management Ingest Access Improving Communication and Usability through Metadata Standards What is metadata? • Metadata is “Data about data” and it is a resource “finding aid”. Metadata summarizes information relating to creation, content, context, and structure of digital resource. Within the context of the digital world, metadata is used to describe how digital documents or materials change over time. What are the problems related to metadata? • No one standard schema for metadata in use. • Institutions use a wide variety of standards, including: MARC, Encoded Archival Description (EAD), Dublin Core (DC). What causes a lack of standardization with metadata usage? • Lack of common metadata practices makes sharing info difficult. • Different standards used in different place creates communication issues. • The influx of digital information, especially in academic institutions. • Different storage standards and abilities at different institutions. • Considerations related to users. • Collection-specific considerations. • Current Literature & Solutions • The first step toward standardization is agreeing upon a definition for metadata. In defining metadata, Smit, Van derHoeven, and Giaretta (2011), suggest “metadata should provide, permanently, all the necessary information that facilitates reusability, understandability, and…authenticity” (p. 47). • Desired Outcomes of Uniform Standards: • Better communication between institution and individuals creating data and those who are accessing and using data. Standards for Maintaining Cultural Heritage through Digital Acquisitions The Issues • Few guidelines for determining what should be digitally preserved. • Ben Goldman notes: • “…125 collecting repositories from across the United States, with roughly (86%) of respondents being from academic institutions. More than 80 of the institutions surveyed had already acquired or would accept born-digital materials; but, of those institutions, only 30 had a policy governing the acquisition of such material, while a mere 15 had digital preservation policies in place…” • No uniform standards across all institutions. • Research & Determining Collection Guidelines • In determining acquisitions, research has shown that there are factorsthat should be considered: • whether or not the item is born-digital; • uniqueness, completeness, and integrity of the material, which to the comparative value of the material. The greater the comparative value, the greater the need for digital preservation for future use. • importance and quality (Pymm (2006) notes that importance and quality work hand-in-hand.) Solutions • Generic standards would allow institutions to meet their own needs and encourage stewardship but would also maintain uniformity thus allowing materials to be utilized by other institutions. • Desired Outcomes: • Generic standards, which provide strategies and guidance, for preserving and maintaining digital records, as well as for acquiring digital collections, will allow libraries and repositories to retain their unique characteristics, while providing a structured approach that incorporates best practices, which focus on maintenance, access, usability and cultural heritage. Archival Storage Administration MANAGEMENT Maintaining Access to Collections through Standardization Why the need for standards? • Librarians face challenges with technology, such as obsolescence, deterioration of materials, and preservation of usability for items that are “born digital” and “made digital.” • The Issues • Evolving storage media, and file formats; • Obsolescence; • Deterioration of materials; • Preservation of items “born digital” and “made digital”. • Every three to five years, devices, processes, and software for recording and storing information are regularly replaced by new products and methods • Current Literature & Solutions • Sue Kunda and Mark Anderson-Wilk (2011) argue that it is the job of the preservationists to ensure digital content is preserved and made available for use, and that “preservation efforts in isolation run the risk of creating ‘digital mortuaries’ of unused materials,” therefore standards must be established to maintain digital collections that are accessible and available for use. Libraries, archives, and repositories must collaboratively develop these standards to ensure access and usability, and to address the issues of obsolescence and deterioration to allow for continuous accessibility to collections. According to Anbu and Chibambo (2009), the most commonly used preservation strategy, migration, allows materials to “[move] into the new or advanced digital standard without compromising the realities of the current standard," whereas, conversion transforms “present data into a current and more widely accepted and accessible format.” Desired Outcome Standards that address best practices for maintaining these materials, when shared among many institutions, will ensure greater amounts of archived materials with greater access for users. Determining Significance • Works Cited • Anbu, K., & Chibambo, M. N. (2009). Digital preservation: Issues and challenges. Trends in Information • Management, 5(1), 42-58. • Goldman, B. (2011). Bridging the cap: Taking practical steps toward managing born-digital collections in • manuscripts repositories. RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, Spring 2011(12 • (1)), 11-24. • Kunda, S. & Anderson-Wilk, M. (2011). Community stories and institutional stewardship: Digital curation’s dual roles of story • creation and resource preservation. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 11(4), 895-914. doi:10.1353/pla.2011.0047. • Pymm, B. (2006). Building collections for all time: The issue of significance. Australian Academic and Research Libraries, • 37(1), 61-73. • Smit, E., van derHoeven, J., & Giaretta, D. (2011). Avoiding a digital dark age for data: Why publishers should care about • digital preservation. Learned Publishing, 24(1), 35-49. doi:10.1087/2011010