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Introducing the new NDSA Levels of Preservation

Jenny Mitcham

Jenny Mitcham

Last updated on 14 November 2019

Since August 2018 I have been involved in an ambitious international effort to revise the NDSA Levels of Preservation.

When I first joined the revision group I was working as a digital archivist at the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

I was a digital archivist who very much appreciated the NDSA Levels and had used them frequently to measure progress and to communicate with colleagues. The rumours that I had them printed out and pinned up above my desk are indeed true. I believe I was what you might call an NDSA Levels of Preservation ‘Super Fan’.

I joined the group because I had highlighted (for example in this blog post) some areas where I was unsure how to apply them or felt they could be subject to slightly different interpretation.

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Finding the Cutting Edge in Common Formats

Elizabeth Kata

Elizabeth Kata

Last updated on 11 November 2019

Elizabeth Kata is Digital Archives Assistant at the International Atomic Engergy Agency (IAEA). She attended iPres2019 with support from the DPC's Career Development Fund which is generously funded by DPC supporters.


Placing a session with the title “Common Formats” under the theme “Cutting Edge” seemed at first contradictory as I looked over the iPRES 2019 program, but the four papers presented in this session demonstrated cutting edge work being done with and to preserve common formats, from data tape recovery to PDF/A analysis. And read more to see what upcoming actions this session inspired! 

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Earthrise: WDPD+1

William Kilbride

William Kilbride

Last updated on 8 November 2019

The Sun has now set on another World Digital Preservation Day: it’s been down for a while already and this post is really a late echo. But universal laws of motion tell me that the Sun doesn’t rise or set. It’s the Earth that rises.

2019 is, of course, the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 (and the less celebrated but altogether more joyous Apollo 12), travelling ‘in peace for all mankind’. For a moment people in every continent cheered as a man called Armstrong walked upon the moon. At one point in lunar orbit, Michael Collins could look back towards the Earth (as Dick Gordon could do a few months later) and hold in a single view the entire human family. It’s the ringside seat of all time: to spectate as our tiny planet spins through the blackness of space, sustaining the entire freight of human history.

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Finding the balance: Multidisciplinary teams in digital preservation

Sarah Mason

Sarah Mason

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Sarah Mason is Systems Archivist for Artefactual Systems Inc. and is based in the UK


World Digital Preservation Day is a great chance for the digital preservation community to celebrate achievements, to reach out to those outside and bring them into the community; it is also a chance to discuss what challenges we face and what opportunities are out there to help us move forward. So in the face of challenges that involve funding, staffing, and managerial or IT buy-in, how do we preserve the ever increasing volume and complexity of digital materials?

One way that we can face these kinds of challenges is by collaborating as part of a multidisciplinary team. Bringing together a diverse range of expertise, the team at Artefactual Systems is comprised of analysts (who represent domain specialists from archivists to librarians), developers, and systems administrators. Together, we can use of different viewpoints and specialisations to collaborate on digital preservation solutions--in different geographic locations! We understand that in this field no one person can know it all; sometimes it takes many voices to address issues in a balanced way.

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La preservación Digital en Latinoamérica

Alexander Barquero

Alexander Barquero

Last updated on 5 November 2019

Alexander Barquero es director del Archivo Nacional de Costa Rica y Coordinador del Grupo de trabajo sobre Gestión y Preservación de Documentos Electrónicos de la Asociación Latinoamericana de Archivos


[English version follows]

En un mundo globalizado, transformado por las sociedades del conocimiento e inmerso en la cuarta revolución industrial, los países de la región latinoamericana tienen un gran reto (y una gran oportunidad) para potenciar la capacidad productiva de sus habitantes y obtener el máximo provecho a la constante e imparable producción intelectual, técnica y tecnológica del mundo. Los recursos con los que cuenta cualquier administración para trabajar siempre serán limitados, y en el caso de los países latinoamericanos esto es una constante que pareciera no fenecer pronto. Ante esta realidad, los gobiernos, instituciones, empresas y ciudadanos se ven obligados a la búsqueda continua de opciones que logren aprovechar eficientemente los recursos económicos y talento humano, así como la infraestructura física y tecnológica.

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Hyperreal Intangible Cultural Heritage: Digital Preservation of Dance

Anna Oates

Anna Oates

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Anna Oates is Scholarly Communication and Discovery Services Librarian at Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in the USA, and former graduate student of the Illinois School of Information Sciences where these studies originated.


A Roundabout Introduction to Digital Preservation of Dance: Navigating the PDF/A Standard

Four months after its initial submission, my master's thesis [1] appeared on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign institutional repository. Since this successful ingest, I have been asked to write a brief summary so that those who might find value in the research would not have to traverse through the pages of a laborious discussion on PDF, specifically as manifested in PDF/A (Portable Document Format — Archival) as a recommended format for the long-term preservation of student theses and dissertations. True to the Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM) quiddity, my research explored the meta relationship of my student work — a thesis to be deposited in an institutional repository about theses that had been deposited in an institutional repository.

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It Takes a Village… to Manage Digital Assets

Helen Hockx-Yu

Helen Hockx-Yu

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Helen Hockx-Yu is Enterprise Data Architect at the University of Notre Dame in the USA


The University of Notre Dame (UND) is a private research university located in the United States. I joined UND in 2016 as a programme manager for digital asset management. Since 2009, various initiatives have taken place to address the challenge but they have largely been specific in their scope and not broadly adopted across the University as a whole. I was expected to build on the previous work, to refocus and come up with a new plan. My web archiving and digital preservation background were thought to be relevant and helpful - the executives who entrusted me with this important work were the University Librarian and the then Chief Information Officer.

My first challenge was to understand the definition and scope of digital asset management, as the term often relates to rich media such as digital videos, animation, graphics, photographs, audio files, logos and marketing collateral. Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems emerged in the 1990s in the private sector to support digital media creation, marketing, publishing and brand management, and their customer-base mainly consists of commercial organisations.

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Perspective in Digital Preservation

Biblioteca Nacional de México

Biblioteca Nacional de México

Last updated on 11 November 2019

Alberto Castro Thompson, Ana Yuri Ramírez Molina and Lisandro Pablo Olivares work in the Innovation and Digital Strategy Coordination (CIED) team at Biblioteca Nacional de México


Lisandro 1

The National Library of Mexico (BNM) is legally empowered by a Decree of Legal Deposit of national scope since 1812[i] and last modified in 1991, being in this reform where publications in electronic formats are included for the first time.

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Preserving Research Data: Finding Our Legs at Scholars Portal

Grant Hurley and Meghan Goodchild

Grant Hurley and Meghan Goodchild

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Grant Hurley is Digital Preservation Librarian, Scholars Portal and Meghan Goodchild is Research Data Management Systems Librarian, Scholars Portal/Queen’s University Library. They are based in Ontario, Canada


As a service provider, Scholars Portal is building a suite of services and infrastructure to support the research data management and preservation in Canada. But a key gap is the ability of our member institutions to make use of these services when there is a lack of policies, procedures, strategies and resources at the local level. This post outlines our work to support research data preservation workflows through an integration project between Dataverse and Archivematica. And it offers some observations on the challenges facing the uptake of these tools that means the preservation of research data continues to be at risk.

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Community Standards for 3D Data Preservation

Community Standards for 3D Data Preservation

Community Standards for 3D Data Preservation

Last updated on 24 October 2019

Jennifer Moore (Washington University in St. Louis), Adam Rountrey (University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology) and Hannah Scates Kettler (Iowa State University) are Primary Investigators for CS3DP (Community Standards for 3D Data Preservation)


 CS3DP 1

Rapid adoption of new technologies can sometimes result in the creation of vast quantities of poorly documented, at-risk data.  While the immediate advantages of a breakthrough technology such as low-cost 3D scanning or high-speed photogrammetry (creating 3D models from a series of photographs) can quickly lead to widespread use, preservation of the resulting data is often overlooked and only considered when the stacks of external drives in the closet are starting to fall over.  Indeed, several years ago, we found ourselves wondering if others were eyeing their rapidly accumulating 3D data with similar anxiety, and in 2017, we decided to conduct a survey targeted at those creating, using, and curating 3D data in various fields to find out. Most responses came from individuals at universities, libraries, and museums in the United States, and the majority of respondents were, as we suspected, not using documented best practices or standards for handling 3D data.  Those who were had largely developed their own standards in house. Of those not using standards/best practices, 69% said that they did not use them because they were unaware of such standards. However, the vast majority (85%) of all respondents said they would like to develop standards and best practices collaboratively as a community.  Survey comments, such as, “I am very excited to see that you are doing this survey and potentially pulling this community together,” from an expert at a leading museum captured the desire for progress in the area as well as the sense that successful standards development would require participation from diverse stakeholders.  These results led to the development of the Community Standards for 3D Data Preservation (CS3DP) program.

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