Top 10 Digital Preservation Developments of 2011

It’s time to take stock of the most memorable digital preservation happenings of 2011.  This is a challenge, since many organizations around the world have done fine work and a full accounting would be long.  Really, really web-unfriendly long.

10-10-10, by Woodleywonderworks, on Flickr

10-10-10, by Woodleywonderworks, on Flickr

Hence the virtue of the top 10 trope:  brevity makes up for ruthless exclusion.  In that spirit, here are 10 developments from 2011 that deserve special consideration because of their broad impact on the practical work of stewarding content, or on raising the awareness of how important this work is for our culture.

National Preservation Week. The American Library Association first began sponsoring Preservation Week in 2009, and last year it blossomed with 65 separate events taking place around the country.  Preservation Week aims to connect library and related communities “through events, activities, and resources that highlight what we can do, individually and together, to preserve our personal and shared collections.”  NDIIPP is interested in providing guidance to individuals and families for preserving their digital memories,  and we were very pleased to present an ALA-sponsored webinar, Preserving Your Personal Digital Memories, as part of Preservation Week 2011.

Viewshare Launch. NDIIPP sponsored the release of Viewshare, a free web software platform for generating and customizing views that allow users to experience digital collections.  Viewshare is now available for use by libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, colleges and universities and other cultural heritage organizations.  The software can ingest Dublin Core metadata via OAI-PMH and can enable public and private data views.

National Digital Stewardship Alliance. With membership open to all institutions committed to digital preservation, and with the Library serving as executive secretariat, the NDSA grew to over 100 members.  The organization elected a coordinating committee and met in conjunction with the annual NDIIPP partners meeting.  NDSA working groups grew in participants and in projects.  Groups focused on content, infrastructure, innovation, standards, and outreach.

DuraCloud. DuraSpace, a long-time NDIIPP partner and non-profit organization focusing on solutions for open access, institutional repositories, digital libraries, digital archives and data curation launched DuraCloud to preserve digital content in using multiple cloud service providers.  DuraCloud is a free open-source project and fee-based subscription service that is currently in use by a number of major institutions.

Data Management Plans: DMPTool. The University of California Curation Center at the California Digital Library is working in partnership with several other institutions to sponsor DMPTool, which helps produce the data management plans that the National Science Foundation and other funders require from grant applicants.  The plans detail arrangements for sharing and archiving research data and for preservation of access to the data.  DMPTool helps researcher generate data management plans and also provides details about resources and services to fulfill grant data management requirements.

Digital File Analysis Tools: DROID 6/JHOVE2. Two community digital preservation tools were upgraded during 2011.  The National Archives of the United Kingdom released DROID 6, which automatically identifies digital file formats, their age and size, and when they were last changed.  NDIIPP worked with the California Digital Library, Portico and Stanford University on the initial production release of JHOVE2. The software analyzes digital objects to identify, validate and assess them as part of a digital preservation workflow.  Both tools are free to download from their maintaining organizations.

Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Program. The Library demonstrated leadership through DPOE, which is working in six areas:

  • Define Education Needs
  • Review Existing Curricula
  • Define Core Principles
  • Build an Instructor Base
  • Evaluate Delivery Options
  • Develop Outreach Materials

DPOE also conducted a baseline workshop to test a workshop model for a national corps of trainers equipped to teach others basic principles and practices of preserving digital materials.

Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative JPEG 2000 Summit. FADGI, a collaborative effort by federal agencies to define common guidelines, methods and practices for digitizing historical content, held the JPEG 2000 Summit at the Library of Congress to bring together users, developers, and other interested parties to share information about using the JPEG 2000 file format for the digitization of cultural heritage materials.  JPEG 2000 is a comparatively new file format that has excellent potential for use by libraries, archives and other collecting institutions, and the summit helped to identify barriers to adoption and other issues.

Keeping Emulation Environments Portable Project. KEEP is a consortium of European cultural heritage organizations working to develop computer emulation services to enable accurate rendering of digital objects over time, including text, sound and image files, as well as multimedia documents, websites, databases and video games. The project released a new open source version of the KEEP Emulation Framework, published the Layman’s Guide to Legal Studies and held a number of training events in different countries.

The Signal. At the risk of over-the-top institutional self-indulgence, this blog makes the list.  I truly believe that it fills a unique niche covering all things digital preservation.  In the seven months of its existence we have published over 175 posts.  It’s true that the focus is oriented toward NDIIPP, but we make an honest effort to cover stories from other institutions from around the world. We recruit (aggressively, some might think) guest bloggers are always interested in publicizing different perspectives on digital stewardship.

I surely have left some fine efforts off this list, and for that offer humble apologies.  What would you add?




  1. Patricia Cruse
    January 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you for recognizing the Data Management Planning Tool (DMPTool) as a top ten digital preservation development. We are extremely excited about the project and the potential for libraries to be involved in this emerging arena. The tool was created and is supported by the following partners:

    –Digital Curation Centre (UK)
    –Smithsonian Institution
    –University of California, Los Angeles Library
    –University of California, San Diego Libraries
    –University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    –University of Virginia Library
    –The University of California Curation Center (UC3) at the California Digital Library

  2. Priscilla Caplan
    January 10, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I’m disappointed you did not feature the release of a free open source version of DAITSS, an OAIS-conformant long-term preservation repository application developed at the Florida Center for Library Automation with support from the IMLS. DAITSS was has been in use be the Florida Digital Archive, one of the largest preservation repositories in the country, since 2006. DAITSS provides automated support for the functions of Submission, Ingest, Archival Storage, Access, Withdrawal, and Repository Management. It is architected as a set of RESTful Web Services and micro-services but enforces strict controls to ensure the integrity and authenticity of archived content. It implements active preservation strategies based on format-specific processing including, where necessary, normalization and forward migration. It is designed for use in a consortial environment and is particularly well suited for materials in text, document, image, audio and video formats.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.