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Digital Preservation - The Planets Way

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Abstracts Day 1

Introduction to Digital Preservation: Why preserve?
Ross King, Austrian Research Centers

We are experiencing an explosion of digital information. An estimated 1800 Exabytes of digital information will be created, captured, and replicated worldwide by the end of 2011. Unfortunately, digital data is as transient as it is ubiquitous. There are two well-known problems associated with the long-term storage and access of digital data; the bit-stream preservation problem, and the logical preservation problem. Bit-stream preservation addresses the problem of storage media obsolescence and degradation over time. Logical preservation addresses the problem of accessing bitstreams, whose interpretation may depend on obsolete operating systems, applications, or formats. The concept of "Digital Preservation" includes the standards, best-practices, and technologies utilised in order to ensure access to digital information over time.

The potential market for digital preservation is enormous - from government, to industry, to private individuals. There are also numerous legal mandates or incentives for implementing digital preservation, from legal deposit laws to protection of intellectual property. The primary barrier to the adoption of digital preservation principles is the short-term planning that characterises today's market. In order to overcome this, we should approach digital preservation as a risk-management methodology that avoids future liabilities, rather than a product with an expected return on investment. If we can reasonably estimate the losses that can be avoided through proper risk management, we can justify the investment in long-term digital preservation practices.

The Preservation Action Cycle: Introduction to Planets
Clive Billenness, British Library

This session will provide an executive overview of the activities are required in order to effectively preserve digital materials. It will relate it to ISO and British Standards on the archival of information and will consider how it fits into an organisation's wider Business Risk context. The presenter will then show in overview how these standard approaches are reflected in Planets. This will enable delegates to put into context the more detailed examination of Planets tools and services in the following sessions, and also enable them to enter into a dialogue with their own Business Risk Managers about Digital Preservation.

Introduction to Preservation Planning
Hans Hofman, National Archives of the Netherlands

The rapid technological changes in today's information landscape have considerably turned the preservation of digital information into a pressing challenge. A lot of different strategies, i.e. preservation actions, have been proposed to tackle this challenge. However, which strategy to choose, and subsequently which tools to select to implement it, poses significant challenges. The creation of a concrete plan for preserving an institution's collection of digital objects requires the evaluation of possible preservation solutions against clearly defined and measurable criteria. Preservation planning aids in this decision-making process to find the best preservation strategy considering each institution's requirements, the planning context and possible actions applicable to the objects contained in the repository. Performed manually, even evaluating a rather small number of possible solutions against requirements takes a good deal of time. Plato, a web-based, interactive software tool, supports and partly automates this process.

This presentation reviews shortly the motivation and needs of preservation planning, introduces the Planets approach to evaluate solutions and create preservation plans, and gives an outlook to the planning tool Plato which is publicly available and will be used in the practical sessions.

Digital Preservation: How to Preserve
Sara van Bussel, The National Library of The Netherlands

Planets Preservation Actions provides solutions for making digital objects available. Both migration and emulation tools are being developed and/or adapted to be used in the Planets environment. At the same time gaps in the tool provision are being tracked. Preservation tools are described in the tool registry as part of the enhanced Pronom format registry. This gives users of Planets registry the capability to identify, compare, deploy and invoke the most appropriate tools or services. The future of preservation action is steered by ongoing research and investigation of emerging technologies.

Tools: How to Understand Files
Manfred Thaller, University at Cologne

Understanding file content depends on the tools used to interpret the bit-stream. In the best case, it is possible to completely render an environment and to view the file as it was originally intended. One degree of complexity below there are tools which interpret only certain parts of the bit-stream to allow a human user or a machine to characterise the files. Within the currently discussed preservation scenarios of migration or emulation, characterisation tools can play an enormous role. Most characterisation tools focus on the extraction of technical metadata and format-specific properties. The Planets project has developed a high-end characterisation approach that goes far beyond that. The Extensible Characterisation Language (XCL) provides a file format description language as well as a general container format for file characterisation.

After an overview of the state of the art of characterisation tools this lecture will give a general introduction into the XCL approach.

Digital Preservation: How to Verify
Edith Michaeler, Austrian National Library

Abstract to follow.

Digital preservation: How to Plan
Hannes Kulovits, Vienna University of Technology

The rapid technological changes in today's information landscape have considerably turned the preservation of digital information into a pressing challenge. A lot of different strategies, i.e. preservation actions, have been proposed to tackle this challenge. However, which strategy to choose, and subsequently which tools to select to implement it, poses significant challenges. The creation of a concrete plan for preserving an institution's collection of digital objects requires the evaluation of possible preservation solutions against clearly defined and measurable criteria. Preservation planning aids in this decision-making process to find the best preservation strategy considering the institution's requirements, the planning context and possible actions applicable to the objects contained in the repository. Performed manually, even evaluating a rather small number of possible solutions against requirements takes a good deal of time. Plato, a web-based, interactive software tool, supports and partly automates this process.

This series of presentations and exercises will

Tools: How to Integrate the Components of Digital Preservation
Ross King, Austrian Research Centers

The Planets approach to digital preservation is driven by the requirements of memory institutions, primarily national libraries and archives. These institutions generally already have archiving systems in place, which are often custom solutions or based on commercial tools. Replacing such systems is neither feasible nor desirable. Therefore the Planets preservation suite was designed to run in parallel with existing archive systems; it is neither meant to replace these, nor to provide archiving functionality.

We will describe both conceptually and technically how a number of processes or workflows within an OAIS-compliant archive can be supported by Planets software: the ingest process, which can be customised with various tools for the identification, validation, characterisation, and normalisation of incoming digital objects; the access process, which can include dynamic transformations to target formats (the migration approach) or the invocation of viewers (the emulation approach) for delivering data information packages; and complex preservation plans, the result of the preservation planning process, which can be carried out on a selection of archive objects.

Case Study 1: How The National Library of the Netherlands is preserving digital content.
Barbara Sierman, The National Library of The Netherlands

Since 2003 the KB, National Library of the Netherlands, has stored digital publications into the e-Depot, the digital archive for long term preservation. They are currently in the process of defining the requirements for a new system that will support them in preserving a large variety (and amount) of digital material. This will provide the opportunity to integrate Planets products into the new system. It will not only be the new system that will profit from Planets results, but also the people involved in the process of collecting and maintaining digital material. This use-case presentation will give an overview of how different Planets results are assisting digital preservation activities at the National Library of the Netherlands.


Abstracts Day 2

Case Study 2 - Building a National Digital Preservation Infrastructure for Italian Libraries: the Magazzini Digitali Project
Giovanni Bergamin, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze

The presentation will take into account the key aspects of the architecture of Magazzini digitali (Digital Stacks). The Digital stacks project, established in 2006 by the Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale and by the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, now relies on an infrastructure based on two main deposit sites (managed by the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze and by the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma) and a dark archive (managed by the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venezia).

Taking into account the fact that component failures are the norm rather than the exception, the infrastructure is based on data replication (different machines located in different sites) and on simple and widespread hardware components, non vendor-dependent, that can easily be replaced (just simple personal computers). The infrastructure does not rely on a custom or proprietary software but it is based on an open source operating system and utilities (widespread acceptance means less dependencies). Three main objectives of the infrastructure are the following: (i) implementation of an organizational model suitable for building a national digital preservation infrastructure for Italian libraries; (ii) implementation of a service model suitable for balancing the protection of the right-holders access by the end users; (iii) implementation of a system suitable for ensuring long term preservation and access to digital contents, as well as their authenticity (identity and integrity).

Preservation Planning with Planets
Hannes Kulovits, Vienna University of Technology

A guided walk-through of the first three steps of the preservation planning workflow using Plato and leading to the definition of an objective tree.

Characterisation of Digital Documents
Manfred Thaller, University at Cologne

The first part of this session explains how the content of file formats can be described using the XCL approach. This includes a general discussion of the most important characteristics of file formats and their different representations in file formats. The XCDL way of content representation is finally explained drawing on examples, especially in relation to the main purpose of XCL, evaluation of file format migration.

Practical exercise: a demonstration of an application of the XCL approach with a specific scenario. The Extensible Characterisation Extraction Language (XCEL) will be explained using examples.

Preservation Actions
Sara van Bussel, The National Library of The Netherlands

This session explains the available strategies (migration and emulation), the tools needed and the environments where Planets will be most useful.

Practical exercise: how to use Planets preservation actions with documents extracted from the sample collection. Evaluate tools with a special focus on their fitness for long-term preservation.

Benchmarking Preservation Tools: the Testbed Environment
Edith Michaeler, Austrian National Library and Matthew Barr, HATII at the University of Glasgow

This session provides a detailed presentation of the functionality and components of the Testbed, and the use of the Corpus and the Registry will be provided, together with an explanation of the Testbed Workflow and the use of the Testbed in a real organisation.

Practical Exercise: how to use some of the tools seen in the previous sessions in the Testbed environment.


Abstracts Day 3

Archiving Relational Databases with SIARD Suite
Amir Bernstein, Swiss Federal Archives

The session introduces the SIARD format and archiving suite in detail. It offers a theoretical background on relational database and on their archiving challenge. It then continues to explain how relational databases can be archived in practical terms with the help of SIARD Suite. This second part will include a comprehensive demonstration of the application capabilities, when archiving local as well as server based databases.

Completing a Preservation Plan Practical Exercise
Hannes Kulovits, Vienna University of Technology

Participants will use the objective tree defined on the previous day to perform preservation actions on the selected objects, evaluate the results using characterization tools, and evaluate results using the characterization tools presented on the previous day. Running through phases 2, 3 and 4 of the Planets preservation planning process, the practical exercise will be completed and the resulting plan will be discussed and evaluated with the audience.

Breakout Sessions

Experiencing the Testbed Environment
Edith Michaeler, Austrian National Library and Matthew Barr, HATII at the University of Glasgow

Perform a variety of experiments using the selected tools and services demonstrated in the previous Testbed session. Use the Planets Corpora to perform experiments on a range of annotated data. Discuss the results and the impact they could have on further preservation planning.
Break out sessions