DPE: Publications

Briefing Papers - English

The myths and fallacies of digital photographs and their preservation

Christoph Becker, Andreas Rauber, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria 

Digital photographs offer fasciniating new possibilities and seem to be easier to store and preserve for the future than their analog counterpart, promising incredibly valuable, massive photo archives available at your fingertips. However, securely storing massive amounts of data, as well as ensuring that the file formats produced by professional cameras can be read in the near and longterm future, is a significant endeavour. This briefing paper reviews some of the core challenges in preserving digital photographs to make sure that the value of a digital photo archive remains and grows for the benefit of the photographer.

Open the Report [PDF, 138 KB], Published 31th March 2009

Digital Preservation in Radiology. Ensuring long-term accessibility of digital medical images

Hannes Kulovits, Andreas Rauber Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria 

The rapid technological changes in today's information landscape have considerably turned the preservation of digital information into a pressing challenge. Be it digital images, documents, audio or video files, all require particular attendance when it comes to preserving them for long periods of time. Without appropriate measures, digital objects will be inaccessible in a very short time. A lot of different strategies often depending on the application area have been proposed to tackle this challenge. In medical imaging considerably large digital objects are produced, processed and archived in a networked environment where parts of the collection also have to be made accessible at short notice. In many European countries hospitals, radiologists and private clinics have the legal obligation to archive data for 30 years. Different standards for communication and storage exist in radiology including DICOM and HL7 to accomplish these high demands. However, additional efforts may be required to establish trusted repositories by utilizing risk assessment and compliance auditing for the respective archival systems.

Open the Report [PDF, 116 KB], Published 31th March 2009

Database Preservation

Cristina Ribeiro - Gabriel David, DEI-Faculdade de Engenharia, Universidade do Porto and INESC-Porto 

Information systems for most organizations are currently supported by databases. Preservation of these databases has to address problems including defining what is to be preserved, the creation and long-term evolution of the preserved objects, organizational support for preservation actions, and technologies that will keep the preserved objects accessible and trustworthy. Some of the issues in database preservation have already been addressed in electronic record preservation, but others result from the specific nature of databases.

Open the Report [PDF, 117 KB], Published 11th March 2009

UMID – Unique Material Identifier

Nadja Wallaszkovits, Christian Liebl, Phonogrammarchiv - Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria 

A Unique Material Identifier (UMID) is a special code that is used to identify audiovisual (AV) materials. The UMID is a core component in tagging AV content to enable its reliable access and tracking, especially in networked storage, production and dissemination systems. Its purpose is to provide unambiguous identification of material through the production and emission chain, as well as to make possible the reliable linking of essence with its metadata. The UMID is a locally generated and globally unique identifier, standardised by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), and presents a key component in digital media asset management systems.

Open the Report [PDF, 254 KB], Published 13th February 2009

Considerations for the Preservation of Blogs

Carolyn Hank, Laura Sheble and Songphan Choemprayong, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Blogs, it seems, are everywhere these days, but what about the next day (and the next and the next ...). Opinions vary on whether or not blogs merit preservation beyond the actions of a blog’s respective authors. This briefing paper does not contribute to that dialogue. Rather, it provides an overview of issues to be considered by organizations planning blog preservation programs. Blogs are the product of a network of players, including blog authors, service providers, and readers. Discussed here are some key attributes of blogs, and the characteristics and behaviors of these players, which may impact preservation activities.

Open the Report [PDF, 248 KB], Published 12th February 2009

The PrestoSpace data model

Giorgio Dimino, RAI Research Centre 

One of the main themes of the PrestoSpace project was the study of techniques to improve the access to large audiovisual collections. In this brief paper the salient characteristics of the designed data model are outlined.

Open the Report [PDF, 150 KB], Published 6th February 2009

Persistent Identifiers systems in the Public Administration sector

Dov Winer, Israel National Library 

An identifier is any label that allows us to find a resource. Identity card numbers; fingerprints; phone numbers; street addresses; proper names; geographical coordinates; international standard book numbers (ISBN) - all these are identifiers. Here we are mainly concerned with identifiers for digital objects created, modified and made accessible in the course of public administrations activities.
On the Internet the most widely known identifier is the Uniform Resource Locator (URL), which allows users to find a resource by listing a protocol, domain name and, in many cases, file location. A persistent identifier is, as the name suggests, an identifier that exists for a very long time. It should at the very least be globally unique and be used as a reference to the resource beyond the resource’s lifetime. URLs, although useful, are not very persistent. They only provide a link to the resource’s location at the moment in time they are cited, if the resource moves they no longer apply.
Persistent identification of a resource is critical for assuring the reliability of its retrieval; the validity of an information system and its trust depend on having its resources reliably retrieved and therefore from their persistent identification.

Open the Report [PDF, 303 KB], Published 4th February 2009

Data Preservation, Reuse and (Open) Access in High-Energy Physics

Andre Holzner (1), Peter Igo-Kemenes (1, 2), Salvatore Mele (1) (1) CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva, Switzerland (2) Gjovik University, Gjovik, Norway 

High-Energy Physics is a discipline relying on scientific instruments of unprecedented size and complexity, yielding a “deluge” of non-reproducible data. Surprisingly, preservation, reuse and open access to these data, which are deeply intertwined, are not high on the community agenda. Their inception, implementation and ultimate success are under siege from issues commonly found in the areas of digital preservation. This brief paper gives an introduction to this emerging debate.

Open the Report [PDF, 303 KB], Published 2nd February 2009

Digital Preservation for Long-Term Environmental Monitoring

Albani Sergio, Fusco Luigi, Guidetti Veronica, ESA 

ESA-ESRIN, the European Space Agency Centre for Earth Observation (EO), is the largest European EO data provider and operates as the reference European centre for EO payload data exploitation. EO data provide global coverage of the Earth across both space and time showing the world through a wide-enough frame so that large-scale phenomena can be observed locally with great accuracy and gathering data from sites not easily accessible for ground-based data acquisition facilities.
EO data acquired from space have become powerful scientific tools to enable better understanding and management of the Earth and its resources. More specifically, large international initiatives such as GMES and GEO, supported by the European Commission, all European National Institutions and by many other international organisations, focus on coordinating international efforts to environmental monitoring, i.e. to provide political and technical solutions to global issues, such as climate change, global environment monitoring, management of natural resources (e.g. air quality, marine environment, forest ecosystem) and humanitarian response.

Open the Report [PDF, 235 KB], Published 2nd February 2009

Media Content for Multichannel

Paolo Nesi, DISIT, University of Florence, Distrib. Systems and Internet Tech. 

According to the user’s needs content modelling and distribution is changing quickly. Users have easy access to digital content by a plethora of different devices ranging from the PC to mobiles, game stations and TV sets. This trend has had a large impact on both the life cycle of the digital content and the models and formats that are produced and can be recovered from the Internet. In this context, the production of content for multichannel and subsequently interoperable content formats and their inflexion for different devices are becoming more and more relevant. Multichannel and interoperable formats will be the major medium able to provide functionalities to users and to reduce complexity in their production and distribution. To this end, an analysis of the state of the art has been performed in order to identify the main innovation trends.

Open the Report [PDF, 106 KB], Published 16th December 2008

Security aspects in electronic personal health record: data access and preservation

Laura Comini, Marco Mazzu’, Simonetta Scalvini, 

The world of applied medical informatics is changing rapidly due to an increasing use of the results of Information Systems reports, data trending and images. Recent advances in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) give access to patients with chronic conditions at home through particular e-Health services such as Telemedicine. The development of online services such as “teleconsultation, e-prescription, e-referral, telemonitoring and telecare” has created new, remote health care functions that potentially threaten privacy. Indeed, confidentiality concerns remain a sensitive point of discussion in the digital age. This article describes which measures can be implemented to strengthen personal data security.

Open the Report [PDF, 250 KB], Published 25th November 2008

Appraisal of Digital Resources in the Public Sector: A general introduction from a Delos Report

Maria Guercio, Universita degli studi di Urbino 

This paper is based on research being undertaken to produce a report within the DELOS project as part of the work package dedicated to the digital preservation function. The main principles and recommendations of the report are summarised here with specific reference to the public sector, the increasing need for public services in the preservation processes and the strict interrelationships between preservation and appraisal in the digital environment. The paper will discuss the goals, the critical questions related to appraisal from a general point of view and the preliminary findings.

Open the Report [PDF, 151 KB], Published 18th November 2008

The Uses of Metadata in Public Administration

Adrian Cunningham, National Archives of Australia 

Most administrative records are stored in databases. Today’s challenge is preserving the information and making it accessible for years to come, ensuring knowledge-transfer as well as administrative sustainability. Lack of standardization has hitherto rendered the task of archiving database content highly complex. The Swiss Federal Archives have developed a new XML based format which permits long-term preservation of the relational databases content. The Software-Independent Archiving of Relational Databases (short: SIARD) offers a unique solution for preserving data content, metadata as well as the relations in an ISO conform format.

Open the Report [PDF, 350 KB], Published 7th November 2008

Database Preservation: The international Challenge and the Swiss Solution

Amir Bernstein, Swiss Federal Archives, 

Efficiently managing enormous quantities of government data requires the development and deployment of robust, sustainable and interoperable metadata regimes. Governments need metadata to manage, understand, enable access to, and preserve their vital data assets over time and across domains of use. Different communities of practitioners think of metadata differently because of its different uses. ICT professionals think of metadata as data that describes data and data systems: that is, the structure of databases, their characteristics, location and usage. Information management professionals, on the other hand, regard metadata as structured information that describes and/or enables finding, managing, controlling, understanding or preserving other information over time. In other words, metadata documents the content, context and structure of information resources in order to support the ongoing use of those resources.

Open the Report [PDF, 294 KB], Published 6th October 2008

Identifier interoperability

Norman Paskin,Tertius Ltd 

Resources of interest in digital networks originate from a wide variety of sources, and may carry identifiers from different established public schemes, official standards, de facto schemes, or private cataloguing numbering. A key step in facilitating preservation, re-use and exchange of information is to enable users to re-use these identifiers (and their associated data) across different applications. Such interoperability of identifiers encompasses not only technical aspects of interoperability but consideration of the purpose and community of use of the identifiers.

Open the Report [PDF, 249 KB], Published 22nd September 2008

INTEROPERABILITY. A key concept for large scale, persistent digital libraries.

Stefan Gradmann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 

Interoperability is an essential feature for federated information architectures to work in heterogeneous settings and over time! However, use and understanding of the concept still are very heterogeneous: interoperability is conceived in an object-related or in a functional perspective, from a user's or an institutional perspective, in terms of multilingualism or of technical means and protocols. Moreover, interoperability is conceived on different abstraction levels: from the bitstream layer up to semantic interoperability. The briefing summarises some of the relevant vectors of thought, indicates related conceptual frameworks and places the issue in the strategic context of Europeana.

Open the Report [PDF, 180 KB], Published 5th September 2008

Preservation of Earth System Model Data

Michael Lautenschlager, Model and Data / Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg

Increasing computing capabilities for the production of Earth system model data has created new challenges for its long-term archiving and preservation. Due to their exponential growth rate, not all the data produced on the system can be stored in the long-term archive. This paper examines how the World Data Center for Climate tackles the preservation of Earth system model data and improves the long-term archive reliability.

Open the Report [PDF, 96 KB], Published 30th June 2008

Persistent Identifiers for Cultural Heritage

Emanuele Bellini, Chiara Cirinna, and Maurizio Lunghi, Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, Florence  

It is well-known that Internet resources tend to have a short life; their identification and persistent location pose complex problems that affect many technological and organizational issues involving the citation, retrieval and preservation of cultural/scientific resources. This is by no means technical problem alone: persistent digital object identification, including texts, music, video, still images, scientific documents and the like, is still a major issue that prevents the use of today's Internet as a trustworthy platform for the research and dissemination of scientific and cultural content.

Open the Report [PDF, 96 KB], Published 19th June 2008

The Challenge of Appraising Science Records

John Faundeen, U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Resources Observation and Science Center 

Determining the value of a work of art or historical document can be difficult. Projecting that value into the future can be even more daunting. Ascertaining the current and future value of science work is just as challenging. This paper examines how the records management function of appraisal can help determine the long-term value of science records. Various themes employed are briefly discussed to illustrate commonalities in differing approaches.

Open the Report [PDF, 86 KB], Published 13th June 2008

Preservation of Digital Audiovisual Content

Richard Wright, Research & Innovation, BBC 

The audiovisual (AV) record of the 20th century is at risk, and digitisation has been a solution, which has created a new problem: preservation of digital AV content. These files have requirements (size; specific formats) that are not adequately addressed by current technology. Best practice can be recommended, but three major changes are needed: 1) AV collections should use existing digital library and digital preservation technology; 2) technology should advance, to support time-based media; 3) mass storage and general information technology should advance, to support the specific requirements of AV files.

Open the Report [PDF, 94 KB], Published 10th June 2008

Open Source in Digital Preservation

Robert Neumayer, Vienna University of Technology 

Open source denotes the principles of promoting open access to a good's production or design process and the product itself. It is mostly used in the context of computer software, meaning that the knowledge assembled in software programs and operating systems is available. The Mozilla foundation's web applications like Firefox and Thunderbird are very prominent examples of open source software. Open source is often mentioned in the digital preservation context for open standards play an important role here. File format specifications and document formats can be also open source, and related to open standards. Together they satisfy quite a number of preservation requirements but for a number of reasons they cannot be proclaimed as a one-fits-all solution for digital preservation.

Open the Report [PDF, 102 KB], Published 30th March 2008

Professional Development in digital preservation: a life-long requirement

Ross Harvey Charles Sturt University 

Digital curation and preservation are rapidly evolving fields. To perform effectively, personnel working in these fields need to update their knowledge and skills on a continuous basis. Training is increasingly delivered through online learning technologies, and the rapidly evolving collaborative environment of Web 2.0 offers further possibilities. The e-learning context presents training opportunities that can provide the blend of theory and practice necessary for effective digital curation and preservation. It is well suited to meeting the life-long learning requirements of personnel working in this field.

Open the Report [PDF, 106 KB], Published 11th December 2007

Portico: A Collaborative Approach to Preservation

Eileen Fenton, Portico Executive Director 

Research and teaching is not possible without reliable access to the accumulated scholarship of the past and secure preservation of the scholarly record. In the print world preservation responsibility was linked to ownership and was traditionally a function of the library. In the digital age, however, the link between ownership, preservation, and access is broken. Furthermore, the scale and complexity of the technology infrastructure, specialized expertise and quality control processes necessary to preserve electronic scholarly resources exceeds that which can be supported by any individual library or institutional budget, making collaboration essential. By supporting collaborative efforts such as Portico, libraries and publishers can together contribute toward a shared infrastructure which supports a mutually beneficial and valued goal - the long-term, robust preservation of scholarly literature published in electronic form.

Open the Report [PDF, 76 KB], Published 12th November 2007

A data model for preservation metadata

Angela Di Iorio Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, Florence 

In June 2003 OCLC and RLG established an international PREMIS (Preservation Metadata: Implementation Strategies) working group (WG) which would run for 2 years. The PREMIS WG was composed of more than 30 experts from 5 countries, representing libraries, museums, archives, government agencies, and the private sector. The goal was to define an implementable "set of 'core' preservation metadata elements" for the digital preservation community. In May 2005 a final report, including a data model for preservation metadata and a data dictionary version 1.0, was published. At present the implementation activity is supported by PREMIS maintenance group that is responsible for the schema and data dictionary maintenance and revisions.

Open the Report [PDF, 116 KB], Published 2nd November 2007

Digital Preservation and Open Access Archives

Valdo Pasqui, University of Florence 

Open Access repositories promote the widespread dissemination of scientific and scholarly production. Researchers and teachers publish free on line digital assets for claiming their activity and for sharing research results with other researchers. In particular universities, research centres, libraries and, for limited subsets of their collections, museums, administrative archives and other cultural institutions are promoting open access.

In the future, a considerable section of scholarly, academic and cultural institutions memory will be formed by born–digital assets, stored in open access archives. Their digital collections will have an ever growing relevance in making up the scientific and information heritage of the next generations. In order to ensure that these objects will survive and continue to be cited, scholarly and academic communities should be committed to the long term preservation of their repositories.

Open the Report [PDF, 108 KB], Published 11th September 2007

LOCKSS: Re-establishing Librarians as custodians of journal content

Adam Rusbridge, UK LOCKSS Technical Support Officer, HATII University of Glasgow 

Over the last decade libraries have increasingly shifted journal access from print to digital. This was motivated through a combination of factors: users expressed a preference for online content, library shelf space was at a premium, and the subscription cost models had resulted in libraries providing access to a broader range of content. However, current publisher distribution models require library users to access content hosted on a centralised publisher-maintained web server. The LOCKSS (for Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) approach helps libraries regain custody of journal assets while maintaining the access and license restrictions stipulated by the publisher.

Open the Report [PDF, 118 KB], Published 3rd September 2007

Automating semantic metadata extraction

Yunhyong Kim, DCC-EPSRC Research Fellow, HATII University of Glasgow 

Since May 2005 the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII), University of Glasgow, has undertaken an initiative to automate the extraction of semantic metadata from digital objects. This is motivated by an earlier study into automating or semiautomating the ingest and preservation processes. The construction of sufficient metadata, describing the content, bibliographic information, provenance, and technical and administrative requirements of an object, is a crucial element in the management and sustenance of digital repositories, libraries and archives. The manual collection of such metadata is a labour intensive process, and, the exponential rate at which digital objects are produced will eventually make it impossible to rely on manual methods. The objective of this initiative is to take steps to understand the extent to which metadata creation can be automated, before the urgency arises.

Open the Report [PDF, 91 KB], Published 3rd September 2007