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I Can Haz Standardz: What Standards Should be in the Digital Preservation Toolbox?

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The following is a guest post by Jimi Jones, Audiovisual Specialist, and Carla Miller, Administrative Specialist, at the Library of Congress.

The NDSA Standards and Best Practices Working Group is working on a digital preservation standards survey that has the following objectives:

• Identify and describe existing digital preservation standards and best practices

• Identify opportunities for collaboration with non-NDSA individuals and organizations who are currently working on digital preservation standards and best practices

• Identify gaps in digital preservation standards and best practices coverage that could be addressed by this working group in future activities

NDSA card, by wlef70, on Flickr
NDSA card, by wlef70, on Flickr

At the 2011 NDSA/NDIIPP Partners’ Meeting we held a Standards Working Group workshop. Participants broke up into five separate groups to discuss the standards survey project and to create well-defined use cases for the standards survey project. The groups discussed who would use the survey, why they would use it, and what information would be needed. The groups entered their discussion notes into the NDSA Standards wiki and provided a quick verbal summary at the end of the meeting. The following lists are a compilation of reports from all groups:

Potential Users

  • Educational community – students and teachers
  • Content creators
  • Digital content managers
  • Cultural heritage organizations
  • Professional organizations (SLA, ALA, AMIA, etc.)
  • Tool developers

Reasons for Use:

  • Digital preservation policy development
  • Education and training
  • Reformatting community
  • Data migration
  • New standards development
  • Gap analysis
  • Procurement processes
  • Avoid duplicating work
Participants at the NDSA Standards Working Group workshop
Stephen Davis and Robert Downs from Columbia University during the NDSA Standards Workshop. Photo credit: Barry Wheeler

The working group participants came up with a variety of ideas that were out of scope for this particular meeting, but very useful nonetheless. They are presented below:
• The information in the survey will need to stay current. Who will maintain this?

• It would be good to have a section for comments so that users can see how various formats/applications have worked for other users.

• Set up a prototype for one strict focus (A/V file formats, for example) rather than investing in everything upfront.

• Develop a survey for NDSA members (and later a wider group) to gather information about the most relevant documents and standards. The survey could be sent out every year and used to analyze trends in standards use.

We were pleased by how many people participated in this workshop. This lively and diverse group was very excited about the proposed standards survey.  The NDSA Standards and Best Practices Working Group is looking forward to continuing its work on this survey!

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