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Learning from our past: Recent digital preservation initiatives at LAC

Faye Lemay

Faye Lemay

Last updated on 17 October 2018

This is part 2 of a 4-part series on Digital Preservation at Library and Archives Canada.
Part 1 is posted here: 
https://www.dpconline.org/blog/building-momentum-for-change


In part 2 of this series, we describe the recent initiatives at LAC leading up to the creation of the Strategy for a Digital Preservation Program.

In the early 2010’s, the Digital Preservation business unit was a fledgling team. There were multiple internal and external pressures on LAC to beef up its digital preservation capacity, such as an accelerating volume of digital materials that needed to be preserved for the long-term.  In 2014, the Auditor General of Canada had issued a report raising questions about the readiness of LAC to handle digital records as the format of choice by 2017. It stated that LAC “must articulate these plans in its vision, mission and objectives.  It must put in place strategies, policies and procedures that will allow the transfer and preservation of digital information so that it is accessible to current and future generations”. The audit report highlighted “the need for an electronic archival system such as a trusted digital repository to acquire, preserve and facilitate access to the digital collection”.

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Web Preservation at iPRES 2018

Colin Armstrong

Colin Armstrong

Last updated on 15 October 2018

Colin Armstrong is a Disc Imaging Technician at the British Library and attended iPRES 2018 with support from the DPC's Leadership Programme which is generously funded by DPC Supporters


It is important to state fae the off that web preservation and internet archiving is not something I am particularly familiar with; so I was pleased to attend the morning paper presentations on web preservation and get tae grips with the terminology, learn about some practical theories in identifying and measuring web page similarity, understand how different web archive collections are created, and learn about some of the tools used to detect when collections go off-topic.

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Researching malware at the British Library

Evanthia Samaras

Evanthia Samaras

Last updated on 4 October 2018

I have recently travelled from Melbourne, Australia to work on a three-month research project with the Digital Preservation Team at the British Library. This project will explore the role of virus checking in long-term collection management and digital preservation.

Computer viruses are a form of malware—an umbrella term which refers to various types of ‘malicious software,’ including viruses, spyware, ransomware, worms and Trojan horses (Symantec Corporation n.d.). Viruses are programs that can be disruptive and destructive to computer environments by displaying unwanted messages, deleting files or removing the BIOS (basic input/output system) so that the computer can no longer start up.

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A valediction for validation?

Paul Wheatley

Paul Wheatley

Last updated on 11 October 2018

This blog post is an expansion and update of a reply I made to the digipres listerv in response to a query from Bernadette Houghton. It's also part of a response I began making at the Apres iPRES unconference to colleagues who were concerned I wasn't being disruptive enough at this year's iPRES (bless you all). The spirit of this blog post is for them.

This is what Bernadette asked:

"I’m currently doing some research into file format validators (e.g. http://description.fcla.edu/) and during my testing noted that anomalies are very common; at least, for those random files I’ve been checking.

In the real digital preservation world, what’s the best practice in regard to files with anomalies detected? Are the files preserved as they are, or are they resaved (either into the same or a different format) to get rid of the anomalies?

Of course, it may be that the anomalies are a result of a bug in the validator rather than the files themselves. But that isn’t always going to be apparent."

This is an issue many will be familiar with. Applying validation and attempting to make it work for us is not straightforward. In fact, it seems so far from working for us that I'd like to step back a little and consider whether validation is meeting our digital preservation needs, and if there's another direction we could take?

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Preserving practice research: on beyond A.B.C.

Helen Cooper

Helen Cooper

Last updated on 5 October 2018

This post was a collaborative effort between members of the University of Kent Templeman Library: Helen Cooper, Elspeth Millar, Katie Edwards, Rosalyn Bass, Clair Waller and Josie Caplehorne


The University of Kent was founded in 1965 as a new kind of interdisciplinary institution, a ‘community of scholars’. It was based on a collegiate system that actively encouraged both students and staff to go beyond narrow disciplinary boundaries. There were no set departments, and students undertook a compulsory year of ‘interdisciplinary studies’ at the beginning of their undergraduate degrees.  It has since taken on a more traditional structure but endeavours to remain true to these values.

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The Archives and Records Management Quality Improvement Framework - not just another boring tick box exercise

Victoria Brown, Scottish Council on Archives

Victoria Brown, Scottish Council on Archives

Last updated on 4 October 2018

The Archives and Records Management Services Quality Improvement Framework (ARMS).  It’s not exactly a catchy title, is it? Quality improvement frameworks don’t usually inspire curiosity, never mind excitement. If you have come across ARMS or other QI frameworks, you might be thinking this looks like a lot of work, I already know what our strengths and weaknesses are - what are the benefits? There are quite a few:

  • Raising your profile
  • Supporting you in achieving the archive accreditation standard
  • Implementation of the Public Records (Scotland) Act, 2011 and other legislation
  • Overcoming challenges, addressing your priorities
  • Working more efficiently
  • Evidencing your value – to funders and a range of stakeholders

If you’re working in an archive or records management context, pushed for time and sceptical about self-evaluation and improvement frameworks, please read on. I can’t promise you’ll end up being a convert but hopefully you’ll be clearer on the benefits (and maybe even a little excited).

What ARMS is and what it isn’t…

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Email is the correspondence of the future (and the present?)

David Heelas

David Heelas

Last updated on 26 September 2018

Dave Heelas is the Archivist and Records Manager for Unilever Art, Archives & Records Management


The last challenge we have encountered that I am going to focus on with these short blogs is the question of email. So far not a lot of email content, either individual messages or full accounts have made it to the archive. But with those that have a few questions in how we handle this in the future have arisen.

Email

Although we have workflows in place to preserve email and can be confident that at least in the immediate future this is protected. How to deal with the sheer quantity of it all however is another issue entirely. Current preservation of email has been done in one off ingests with individual emails being sent directly to the archivist dealing with the collection. In the future how we approach this will clearly need to change, the potential of scale for emails that won’t be relevant to our collecting policy will present quite an issue. Gone are the days of the correspondence file, now the majority of people have all their emails in their inbox and outbox and rely on prior knowledge and search tools in order to find older discussions.

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Back up or back away

Richard Higgins

Richard Higgins

Last updated on 19 September 2018

Richard Higgins works in Durham University Library's Archives and Special Collections, where he has worked on developing cataloguing, repository and discovery systems


My suspicion of the backup dates back to the first job where I used a computer as more than an entry terminal and developed a deeper involvement in its business use.

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Archiving Scotland's Digital Historic Environment

Stuart Macdonald

Stuart Macdonald

Last updated on 14 September 2018

I’ve been invited to share some initial thoughts and observations as the new Digital Archivist at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), a role I started in mid-August.

HES was formed in 2014 following the merger of two parent bodies Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission for the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). It is the lead public body set up to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment. 

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The power of PIDs: Using persistent identifiers to link research outputs in the Netherlands

Ricarda Braukmann

Ricarda Braukmann

Last updated on 5 September 2018

Dr. Ricarda Braukmann is Program Leader Social Sciences at DANS


“404 Not Found” is very likely one of the most irritating error messages coming from your browser. While being annoying for any website, link rot is especially problematic for important digital resources such as scientific articles or datasets that are expected to be preserved and accessible over longer periods of time. Persistent identifiers (PIDs) have been developed to prevent this problem and to ensure that digital objects remain available and unchanged.

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