We Did All That? NDSA Standards and Practices Working Group Project Recaps

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Video Stumbling Blocks Survey bookmark, designed by Kara Van Malssen, AVPreserve

The end of the school year often finds me thinking about time gone by. What did I work on and what can I show for it? The NDSA Standards and Practices Working Group members were in the same frame of mind so we recently did a survey of our projects and accomplishments since the NDSA launched in 2010. It’s an impressive list (if we do say so ourselves), especially once you realize that these topics come from the interests of our diverse membership. As co-chair of the working group, I’d like to share with you all of the the S&P-related blog posts to bring readers up-to-date with many of our topical and timely initiatives.

Video Survey
Video has been a hot topic in S&P recently. Several round-robin discussions led to a “Video Deep Dive” action team which developed and conducted the Stumbling Blocks to Preserving Video Survey to identify and rank issues that may hinder digital video preservation. The preliminary results led us to dig a little deeper in how we processed and analyzed the data so look for an update on this soon.

Preserving Digital and Software-Based Artworks
S&P hosted a two-part discussion with experts from four collecting institutions (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, and Smithsonian Institution Time Based Media Art project) to share their experiences in both preserving and providing access to digital art works and other new media. These complex digital objects materials are increasingly part of collections outside of traditional museum environments and cultural heritage institutions, including libraries and archives, will see more and more of this type of content in their collections.

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Photo courtesy of Time Based Media Art at the Smithsonian from the Report on the Status and Need for Technical Standards in the care of Time-Based Media and Digital Art

PDFA/3
S&P members contributed to a report that takes a measured look at the costs and benefits of the widespread use of the PDF/A-3 format, especially as it effects content arriving in collecting institutions. The report provides background on the technical development of the specification, identifies specific scenarios under which the format might be used and suggests policy prescriptions for collecting institutions to consider.

Staffing for Effective Digital Preservation Survey
S&P conducted a survey of 85 institutions with a mandate to preserve digital content about how they staffed and organized their preservation functions. In addition to an award-winning poster (PDF) at iPRES2012, S&P members produced a detailed report and deposited the raw data in ICPSR.

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Icons for Archive and Checksum, Designed by Iconathon Los Angeles, California, US 2013. Public Domain

Fixity
Along with our colleagues in the NDSA Infrastructure Working Group, S&P members helped author the NDSA publication, “Checking Your Digital Content: What is Fixity and When Should I Be Checking It?” (PDF). This resource provides stewards of digital objects with information about implementing fixity concepts and methods in a way that makes sense for their organization based on their needs and resources. Topics covered include definitions of fixity and fixity information, general approaches to fixity check frequency and comparison of common fixity information-generating instruments.

2015 National Agenda
S&P members also contributed significant input and informed actionable recommendations to the Organization Policies and Practice chapter of the NDSA 2015 National Agenda for Digital Stewardship.

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Issues with archiving email proved to be another rallying point for S&P members who participated in initiating an informal Email Interest Group to discuss issues, projects and workflows to preserve email.

Moving Forward
Compiling this review list for S&P proudly reminds me of how much we’ve done through our active and engaged membership. And I should mention that this post doesn’t even cover all our projects – just the ones with blog posts! Even with all we’ve done so far, S&P still has many issues and practices to explore.

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DPOE Interview with Jim Corridan

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We Want You Just the Way You Are: The What, Why and When of Fixity

Fixity, the property of a digital file or object being fixed or unchanged, is a cornerstone of digital preservation. Fixity information, from simple file counts or file size values to more precise checksums and cryptographic hashes, is data used to verify whether an object has been altered or degraded. Many in the preservation community know […]