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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 required in order to effectively preserve digital materials. Relating preservation activities to ISO and British Standards on the archiving of information, the session will consider how preservation fits into the organisational risk management context. The presenter will then provide an overview of how these standard approaches are reflected in the Planets approach. This will enable delegates to put into context the more detailed examination of Planets tools and services in the following sessions, and also equip delegates to enter into dialogue with their own business risk managers about Digital Preservation.

Digital Preservation in Southern and Eastern Europe
Dr Nikola Ikonomov, Institute of Mathematics and Informatics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Details to be confirmed.

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

Planets Preservation Actions provide solutions for making digital objects available over the medium to long term. This session will discuss the various tools both for migration and emulation, currently being developed in the Planets environment, as well as work currently underway to identifying gaps in tool provision. This session will also introduce the Planets registry which gives users the ability to identify, compare, deploy and invoke the most appropriate tools or services. There will also be discussion of the future of preservation actions, steered by ongoing research and investigation of emerging technologies.

Tools: How to Understand Files
Volker Heydegger and Jan Schnasse, University at Cologne

This session will introduce central concepts crucial to understanding the characteristics of various file formats. 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 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 session will give a general introduction to the XCL approach.

Presentation of CEI activities

Details to be confirmed.

Digital Preservation: How to Verify
Maurice van den Dobbelsteen, The National Archives of the Netherlands

This session will explain the Planets Testbed, Corpora and workflow, and how they can be used to support digital preservation activities.

Digital Preservation: How to Plan
Christoph Becker and 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 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 series of presentations and exercises will discuss the needs of preservation planning, review the preservation planning methodology and workflow, show how to quantify and measure requirements, discuss examples coming from case studies, demonstrate how Planets tools and services aid in the requirements definition and evaluation process, utilise the range of services and tools Planets is delivering, and engage participants in group discussions on requirements for selected digital objects.

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.

This session 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
Gabriella Ivacs, Open Society Archives at Central European University

This session will explore the Parallel Archives, a research community where researchers can share what they find of interest and what they really use in their research. The challenge here is to choose a good model for preserving a set of resources which are constantly growing, not only in the sense of new resources being added, but also because of the social networking dimension which means that every digital object can potentially be accompanied by various comments.

Abstracts Day 2

Presentation of the BAS case study of the National Center for Digitisation in Sofia

The Digitisation Centre at the Mathematics and Mathematics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IMI-BAS) was opened in 2006. This centre digitised a substantial number of various types of objects belonging to the Bulgarian cultural and scientific heritage and the long-term preservation of these objects now needs to be addressed. The mixture of archival materials, old printed books, photographs and periodicals means that the preservation strategy should support heterogeneous file formats and metadata schemes.

Preservation Planning with Planets
Hannes Kulovits and Christoph Becker, Vienna University of Technology

This practical exercise will provide 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
Volker Heydegger and Jan Schnasse, University at Cologne

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

There will be 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 will explain available preservation strategies (migration and emulation), tools needed and the environments where Planets will be most useful.

A practical exercise will demonstrate how to use Planets preservation actions with documents extracted from the sample collection, and how to evaluate tools, with a special focus on their fitness for long-term preservation.

Benchmarking Preservation Tools: the Testbed Environment
Maurice van den Dobbelsteen, The National Archives of the Netherlands and Matthew Barr, HATII at the University of Glasgow

This session will provide 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.

A practical Exercise will demonstrate how to use some of the tools seen in the previous sessions in the Testbed environment.

Abstracts Day 3

Completing a Preservation Plan
Hannes Kulovits and Christoph Becker, Vienna University of Technology

A practical exercise will lead delegates through the preparation of a complete preservation plan for the test collection, using the objective tree defined on the previous day to perform preservation actions on the selected objects; evaluation of the results using characterisation tools presented on the previous day, and discussion and evaluation of the completed plan.

Experiencing the Testbed Environment
Matthew Barr, HATII at the University of Glasgow

This session will consist of a practical exercise. Part of the preservation plan developed in the previous session will be tested, in order to evaluate the practical aspects of the plan and, if needed, to test possible alternatives. Experiments will be performed using the selected tools and criteria elaborated upon in the previous slot. The experiment will be executed in the Testbed and results discussed.

Preserving Databases with SIARD

Details to be confirmed

Pulling it all together: Implementing Digital Preservation using the Planets Interoperability Framework
Clive Billenness, British Library

This session will provide an overview of the Planets Installation Package, the Workflow Design Tool and security aspects of use of the package including authentication and authorisation.