Friday, February 29, 2008

Digital Preservation Matters - 29 February 2008

Preservation in the Age of Large-Scale Digitization: A White Paper. Oya Y. Rieger. CLIR Reports. February, 2008

This looks at four large scale digitization efforts (Google Book Search, Microsoft Live Search Books, Open Content Alliance, and the Million Book Project) to identify issues that arise from the projects. Some notes:

  • Access and preservation goals are usually interrelated in a complex connection
  • There is not yet a common understanding of what preservation responsibility is
  • Making sure content is accessible over time may be different from preserving it
  • For brittle books, the digital copy may be the only one that survives into the future
  • Open Content Alliance maintains data in multiple repositories in order to preserve the files, test the preservation action, and restore lost files.
  • “Preserving digital objects entails the preservation of digitized materials, including those resulting from the reformatting process, to ensure their longevity and usability”
  • Preservation metadata is “the information a repository uses to support the digital preservation process”
  • “Technology alone cannot solve preservation problems. Institutional policies, strategies, and funding models are also important.”
  • “The challenge is not only to incorporate the preservation mandate in organizational mission and programs but also to characterize the goals in a way that will make it possible to understand the terms and conditions of such a responsibility.”
  • “There are also significant differences between a preservation program that focuses on bitstream preservation and one that encompasses the processes required to provide enduring access to digital content.”
  • A great section to read: Key Organizational-Infrastructure Requirements for Preservation Programs
  • The organizational preservation infrastructure (mandate, governance, funding) is critical for success.
  • Expanding educational opportunities for preservation and curation staff involved is important
  • Developing a common archival strategy is a complex process. Collaboration is important.
  • We need to reassess requirements and practices and devise policies for designating digital preservation levels

Archiving agreement Portico and KB. Press Release. Koninklijke Bibliotheek News. 26 February 2008.

The Royal library and Portico have agreed that an off-line copy of the Portico archive of over 60 million files will be held for safekeeping by the library. The copy will be kept in a secure access- and climate-controlled facility. This is one component of Portico’s strategy to ensure the security of the archive. This is also one way in which organizations can cooperate to preserve digital materials.

"Preserving electronic scholarly publications is a key priority for the KB, and formalizing this arrangement with Portico is a natural extension of the KB's active archival role."

OpenSolaris Project: HoneyComb Fixed Content Storage. Web site. February 27, 2008.

Sun Microsystems has donated the source code for the Sun StorageTek 5800 System, a digital archive storage system using the Solaris Operating System and open source software. Developers can download the code that runs on any x86 system for free Sun Makes Digital Archiving Free, Open.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Digital Preservation Matters - 22 February 2008

JPEG 2000 - a Practical Digital Preservation Standard? Robert Buckley. Digital Preservation Coalition. February 2008.

The Jpeg 2000 is an open standard developed by the ISO JPEG committee to improve the existing jpeg format. It is platform independent. The format includes:

• Lossless and visually lossless image compression
• Multiple derivative images from a single image
• Progressive display, multi-resolution imaging and scalable image quality
• The ability to handle large and high-dynamic range images
• The ability to interactive zoom, pan, and rotate.
• Metadata support

It is being used increasing for archival images. “Most applications, including those in the digital preservation domain, can meet their needs with JPEG 2000 codestreams…” With Jpeg 2000 you can make subsequent derivatives from a compressed image without having to decompress or recompress it. The Digital Preservation Coalition endorses this as a great step for digital preservation.

Microsoft Embraces Open Source. Elizabeth Montalbano. PC World. February 21, 2008.

Microsoft promised "greater transparency" in its development and business practices, and more access to proprietary protocols for Windows and Office and other software products. The new interoperability principles and actions should “ensure open connections, promote data portability, enhance support for industry standards, and foster more open engagement with customers and the industry, including open-source communities.” Microsoft is publishing documentation on protocols that were previously under trade secret licenses, and providing a covenant not to sue open-source developers for using the protocols. They will also start a Document Interoperability Initiative to address data exchange issues between formats.

Microsoft's New Stance and Data Preservation. Melissa Perenson. PCWorld Blog. February 21, 2008.

There is potential in Microsoft's statement that they are making changes to their “technology and business practices to increase the openness of its products and drive greater interoperability.” Archiving no longer just refers to the government or large institutions preserving their data. Media longevity is only part of the problem; the other is data format longevity. Microsoft needs to make sure that the file formats are readable in the future.

Toshiba Gives Up On HD DVD, Ends High-Def Format War. Antone Gonsalves. InformationWeek. February 19, 2008.

Toshiba has announced it will no longer make or market HD DVD players and recorders, which leaves the Blu-ray as the standard for the high-definition disc format. Partners who had dropped their support for HD DVD said that they wanted to eliminate the customer confusion over the incompatible technologies.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Digital Preservation Matters - 15 February 2008

How can we be sure we'll remember our digital past? Chris Gaylord. The Christian Science Monitor. February 14, 2008.

The same things that make digital so easy are the same things that make preservation difficult. “Losing personal files can be upsetting. But failing to protect academic, government, or corporate data could erase irreplaceable pieces of history.” The problems include the media and the formats. "It's the great challenge of the Informa­tion Age." Methods include emulation, writing programs to run the original programs on new equipment, and migration, updating the file without changing the content. Some are working on access models to pay for the preservation. There are several ways to address saving data, but you must know your needs and choose carefully.

Roundup of commentary on Harvard OA policy. Gavin Baker. Open Access News. February 13, 2008.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard adopted a Self-Archiving Mandate. The objective is to provide Open Access to its own scholarly output by saving the articles to its institutional repository. This has also mandated that the university be able to exercise the copyright for those articles. “In legal terms, the permission granted by each Faculty member is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit.” The Provost has said: “The goal of university research is the creation, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge….”

Supporting Digital Preservation & Asset Management in Institutions. Maureen Pennock. JISC. January 2008. [pdf]

This is a summary and reference list of various projects, models, workbooks, and resources, dealing with digital preservation and asset management. Some notes from the projects:

  • Automated tools are still not capable of assigning a value to digital assets, a vital step in determining where preservation resources are best spent.
  • Preservation is one part of the life cycle of the information; stages include creation, accession, ingest, metadata, storage and technical storage systems, access, and re-use
  • Metadata collection from depositors must be as simple as possible, and that automatically captured or generated metadata is the key to both information retrieval and information services.
  • An assessment of formats in the institutional repository is the first step to develop and implement a preservation action and a technology watch service.
  • Preservation and digital asset management is, in every case, wholly reliant upon one thing: money.
  • Preservation should not be considered as an end in itself: it should be considered within the life cycle of digital object management.

New Sharp 250mW Blu-ray Laser enables 6x faster Recording. Press release. February 14, 2008.

The company has introduced new components that will allow faster recording of blu-ray discs. The units will be available later this year.