ERCIM News 80

Image ERCIM News 80 cover page

January 2010
Special theme:
Digital Preservation

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Special Theme

Digital Preservation: Introduction to the Special Theme

Source: http://geekandpoke.typepad.com/by Ingeborg Solvberg and Andreas Rauber

When digital representations of information objects first became available, they were seen as the solution to a myriad of problems relating to replication, distribution, ease of use and maintenance. Instead of filling up shelves and filing cabinets with documents, numeric data or fragile physical objects, the digital versions of these data promised to be space saving. They could also be copied and stored without loss or degradation - right up until the moment when the hardware and software environment required to interpret them became obsolete and they were suddenly lost (not degrading slowly, but in a very binary fashion, suddenly and completely lost).

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Drivers for Digital Preservation

by Matthias Hemmje and Ruben Riestra

Digital preservation (DP) is becoming a relevant issue for ensuring the future accessibility and usability of knowledge, information and data that only exist in digital formats, ie the so-called ‘born-digital’ content. The overwhelming expansion of this content is creating a continuously increasing spectrum of opportunities and threats to organizations exposed to the need to preserve such digital assets for decades or even centuries.

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The Planets Interoperability Framework

by Ross King

The Planets Interoperability Framework is a software infrastructure for the preservation of digital documents, and was developed as part of the European Integrated Project Planets. It provides the technical environment that governs the integration of the Planets end-user applications with preservation services and data repositories. Since most of the institutions that will be interested in the Planets applications already have some kind of archiving system in place, archival storage is not part of what Planets delivers. Instead, our approach is to provide a framework and services that can be integrated with existing systems. The design of the framework was driven by the requirements of logical preservation in libraries and archives, including demands for a robust and extensible infrastructure for the characterization and migration of digital documents.

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PROTAGE: Long-Term Digital Preservation Based on Intelligent Agents and Web Services

by Xiaolong Jin, Jianmin Jiang, and Josep Lluis de la Rosa

Digital objects have emerged as the primary means by which people create, disseminate and exchange information. The huge volume of digital information being constantly produced means there is now a pressing demand for long-term preservation. In this article, we briefly introduce a European FP7 Research Programme funded project, PROTAGE, which will investigate new technology for computerizing long-term digital preservation based on intelligent software agents and Web services.

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SHAMAN: Sustaining Heritage Access through Multivalent Archiving

by José Borbinha

The SHAMAN project (Sustaining Heritage Access through Multivalent Archiving) will develop a next-generation digital preservation framework. Furthermore, it involves developing the relevant preservation tools for analysing, ingesting, managing, accessing and reusing information objects and data across libraries, archives or any other deployment scenario in which the SHAMAN ‘Theory of Preservation’ proves to be relevant.

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HOPPLA - Archiving System for Small Institutions

by Michael Greifeneder, Stephan Strodl, Petar Petrov and Andreas Rauber

Hoppla is an archiving solution that combines back-up and fully automated migration services for data collections in small office environments. The system allows user-friendly handling of services and outsources digital preservation expertise.

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The CARA Approach for Long-Term Preservation and Exploitation of Medical Images and Reports

by Hanan Bouzid, Mimouna Guenfoud, Andreas Jahnen, Pierre Plumer, Cédric Pruski and Frédéric Zucconi

Storing images and medical reports for long periods of time is becoming a challenge for medical institutions. Technology developed to collect detailed images from patients’ bodies is producing an increasing quantity of large files that need to be stored for many years and to remain accessible when requested. This context has driven CRP Henri Tudor and the Health Ministry of Luxembourg to collaborate in the definition and implementation of a common project, named CARA (Carnet Radiologique). The main objective of this project is to set up IT solutions to improve the quality of the information available in the National Electronic Medical Record (EMR) without excessively increasing the size of this database; and to provide appropriated services for health professionals to access, manage and use, according to strict security policies, the content of the EMR.

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Designing a Trusted Distributed Long-Term Archive for Health Records

by Frej Drejhammar

Long-term archiving of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is a complex task with a number of different requirements. This article describes how these requirements shape the implementation the DIGHT distributed EHR database.

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Tackling the Problem of Complex Interaction Processes in Emulation and Migration Strategies

by Klaus Rechert and Dirk von Suchodoletz

In order to be handled, viewed or executed, digital objects require software environments. Most of these environments were designed with human interaction in mind, and this represents a major challenge for organizations wishing to use these now obsolete environments to handle huge numbers of objects in non-interactive ways for migration or in emulation.

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Trustworthy Preservation Planning with Plato

by Christoph Becker, Hannes Kulovits and Andreas Rauber

Digital content is short-lived, yet may prove to have value in the future. How can we keep it alive? Finding the right action to enable future access to our cultural heritage in a transparent way is the task of Plato.

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Towards Document Process Preservation: Xerox Launches Document Process Modelling Technology 'Xeproc©'

by Thierry Jacquin, Hervé Déjean, Jean-Pierre Chanod

Developed at the Xerox Research Centre Europe in the context of the EU Integrated Project SHAMAN, Xeproc© technology lets you define and design document processes while producing an abstract representation that is independent of the implementation. These representations capture the intent behind the workflow and can be preserved for reuse in future unknown infrastructures. Xeproc© is available under Eclipse Public Licence.

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Cyclops: An Interface for Producing and Accessing Archives of Artistic Works

by Nicolas Esposito, Bruno Bachimont and Erik Gebers

Within the scope of the EU project CASPAR (Cultural, Artistic and Scientific knowledge for Preservation, Access and Retrieval, started in 2006) and the OAIS standard (Open Archival Information System), our team (CNRS/Université de Technologie de Compiègne) is focusing on the long-term preservation of artistic resources. The aim was to propose a framework which preserves access to these resources and maintains their intelligibility over the long term. The more precise objectives were to aid both the study of artistic productions and new performances of these works. Our contributions led us to design a tool for producing and accessing archives: Cyclops.

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Magnetic Tape Storage and the Growth of Archival Data

by Jens Jelitto, Mark Lantz and Evangelos Eleftheriou

The volumes of digital data being produced are growing at an ever increas-ing pace. According to an International Data Corporation study for 2007, 264 exabytes of data were created. In the future, this staggering volume of data is projected to grow at a 57% annual growth rate, faster than the ex-pected growth of storage capacity. Moreover, new regulatory requirements mean that a larger fraction of this data will have to be preserved. All of this translates into a growing need for cost-effective digital archives.

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The ESA Approach to Long-Term Data Preservation using CASPAR

by Sergio Albani

Long-term preservation of earth science data in the European Space Agency has been studied using a framework constituted by components developed in the EU CASPAR project.

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Digital Preservation of Interactive Multimedia Performances

by Kia Ng

Digital media and technology are becoming increasingly important for the performing arts, particularly with regard to technology-enhanced performance. Digital preservation is now an urgent consideration for performing arts in many aspects, such as ensuring possible future re-performance and analysis, and the preservation of intangible heritage (beyond the usual audio-visual recording) and plying/gesture styles.

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The Planets Testbed: A Collaborative Research Environment for Digital Preservation

by Brian Aitken and Andrew Lindley

The digital objects that are so fundamental to 21st-century life may have a precarious future due to the rapid pace of technological change. Digital preservation specialists have proposed an almost overwhelming variety of preservation actions and tools that may help to mitigate this risk, but there is a lack of empirical evidence to help librarians, archivists and non-specialists to make informed decisions about the most applicable and effective preservation tools. The Planets project (Preservation and Long-term Access through Networked Services) has developed a digital preservation Testbed that aims to provide such an evidence base.

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Which Repositories are Worth their Salt?

by David Giaretta

...getting closer to an international system for audit and certification of the trustability of digital repositories.

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Best Practices for an OAIS Implementation

by Luigi Briguglio, Carlo Meghini,and David Giaretta

We introduce a more concrete and detailed intermediate level for long-term digital preservation between the conceptual model of the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) and the real world of the certified archives.
Digital information innervates modern civilization, and yet it is extremely vulnerable. Precious digital information created and stored all over the world is becoming inaccessible at a very fast pace. At the same time, paper documentation is increasingly being converted into electronic format, with even more now being ‘born digital’. The availability of these electronic resources must be guaranteed for the future. Such reasons justify the need to acquire, preserve and maintain digital resources, so that the information contained in them may be always accessible and usable.

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Preserving the Past for the Future: Digital Technology for Film Archives

by Arne Nowak

The use of digital technology in filmmaking is on the increase. With this trend, the question arises of how to preserve for the future the enormous amounts of image data being produced. The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS together with leading European film archives has developed methods and formats for the long-term preservation of digital films and to provide easier access in a plethora of formats. Not only digitally produced movies benefit from this approach: it can also be used to make the inventories of film archives available to a wider audience.

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Considering Software Preservation

by Brian Matthews, Arif Shaon, Juan Bicarregui, Catherine Jones, Esther Conway and Jim Woodcock

Software is a class of electronic object which is by its very nature digital, and the preservation of software is often a vital prerequisite to the preservation of other electronic objects. However, software has many characteristics that make preserving it substantially more challenging than for many other types of digital object. Software is inherently complex, normally composed of a very large number of highly interdependent components and often forbiddingly opaque for people other than those who were directly involved in its development. Software is also highly sensitive to its operating environment, with the typical software artefact depending on a large number of other items including compilers, runtime environments, operating systems, documentation and even the hardware platform with its built-in software stack. Preserving a piece of software thus involves preserving much of its context as well.

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Electronic Records Management in Luxembourg: Challenges and Perspectives

by Lucas Colet

In order to comply with regulations or for management purposes, it is increasingly required that information be stored for long periods of time. Moreover, to retain their legal value, such records need to have the following properties: authenticity, reliability, integrity and usability. But how can these characteristics be guaranteed in an electronic environment? This problem is of major concern in Luxembourg, where a large part of the economy consists of service companies with a strong technological background.

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Knowledge Management for Digital Preservation

by Yannis Tzitzikas and Vassilis Christophides

We can preserve the bits, but what about the knowledge encoded in them? Modern societies and economies are increasingly dependent on a deluge of information that is only available in digital form. The preservation of this information in an unstable and rapidly evolving technological (and social) environment is a challenging problem of great importance. The CASPAR (Cultural, Artistic and Scientific knowledge for Preservation, Access and Retrieval) project built a pioneering framework to support the end-to-end preservation ‘life cycle’ for scientific, artistic and cultural information based on existing and emerging standards. CASPAR aimed to preserve not simply the bits of digital objects but also the information and knowledge that is encoded in these objects.

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Automating the Ingestion and Transformation of Embedded Metadata

by Yannis Tzitzikas and Yannis Marketakis

Can we create automatically and at no cost ontology-based metadata repositories? Work carried out in the context of the CASPAR (Cultural, Artistic and Scientific knowledge for Preservation, Access and Retrieval) project has been tackling this challenge.

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The Art of Preserving Digital Creativity in Planets

by Andrew McHugh and Leonidas Konstantelos

While characterizing digital art materials for long-term preservation is laced with considerable complexity, it offers insights applicable to the preservation of all kinds of contemporary and emerging materials. The Planets project (Preservation and Long-term Access through Networked Services) is leading research into emerging characterization approaches that will safeguard the availability of diverse digital experiences.

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User-Centered Digital Preservation of Multimedia

by Egon L. van den Broek, Frans van der Sluis and Theo E. Schouten

Everything expressed by humans in whatever form, arouses emotions in every one, who witnesses that expression. Those emotions are dependent on the witness and vary over time. For instance, an expression like "I'm now going to smoke a cigar in my office" uttered today brings about other emotions than 10 years ago. To really preserve (digital multimedia) expressions, the different kinds of emotions it arouses have to be preserved.

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Communication and Preservation in Academic Research: Current Practices and Future Needs

by Filip Kruse and Annette Balle Sørensen

Today’s researchers work in hybrid environments that require, in addition to traditional, analogue methods of working, the use of an increasing amount of digital material and communication tools. This is forcing us to change our understanding of how researchers communicate, how they are connected in networks, and which parts of their research activities need to be preserved. But how should we rethink these issues? Researchers’ current practice and requirements are analysed and future consequences reflected upon in a questionnaire-based survey from Aarhus University in Denmark.

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Preservation Planning: User Requirements for Digitally Preserved Materials

by Annette Balle Sørensen and Filip Kruse

Libraries and archives carry the responsibility of capturing and preserving 'representative samples of society', covering both cultural and scientific production. In the digital world this obligation has extended to include not only diverse physical outputs (books, journals, music records, newspapers etc), but also digital preservation of both analogue and digitally born materials. Here we describe a subproject of a larger user study targeted to identify user requirements for the digital preservation of documents, records and data sets. The central message to be communicated from this study is that requirements reflect usage type rather than user type.

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