1. What tools are available to help me preserve digital records?

Digital preservation is a set of concurrent processes clearly defined to achieve digital preservation outcomes.

A loosely coupled modular approach to digital preservation has the best chance of making it sustainable as it provides flexibility to the overall strategy. These modular processes must be analytical to ensure ongoing support for the digital records being preserved.

A combination of tools and technology currently available may be the most cost-effective means of implementing digital preservation. For example freeware tools such as PRONOM (a file registry database) and DROID (a file format identification tool) can be used to assess digital records at risk of obsolescence.

Where can I learn more?

More information can also be found in our Parsimonious Preservation in Practice paper:

Parsimonious Preservation in Practice (PDF, 0.35Mb)

An earlier version of the Parsimonious Preservation paper was first presented at the Online Information Conference 2009:

Parsimonious Preservation paper (PDF, 0.04Mb)

2. What is digital repository software and when do I need to implement it?

Repository software is typically not storage technology but sits on top of storage devices. Rather, it is an advanced and specific type of content management system that imposes an architecture on digital content and business rules about its management and use. 

This may do some or all of the following:

  • permit the holding of multiple instances of content, for example including digital formats, redacted as well as full-content instances
  • treat instances as part of the same intellectual object for some purposes (eg preservation, description), but perhaps not others (access)
  • implement active preservation services or interact with external ones to mitigate the risks of technological obsolescence

It is difficult to give a precise threshold for when it is necessary to have this software present in digital preservation infrastructure. A large collection with complex privacy and security requirements is most likely to encounter problems with achieving the same outcomes through business rules implemented by direct curatorial action as an army of staff would be required.

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