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NDSA Members Report on Digital Storage Systems

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The following is a guest post by Michelle Gallinger, Digital Programs Coordinator with NDIIPP and the National Digital Stewardship Alliance facilitator.

DLib Magazine, the Magazine of Digtial Library Research, has recently published “NDSA Storage Report: Reflections on National Digital Stewardship Alliance Member Approaches to Preservation Storage Technologies.”

Computer data storage in a modern office building. Carol High Smith Archive, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LC-HS503- 6027.
Computer data storage in a modern office building. Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress, LC-HS503- 6027.

The structure and design of digital storage systems is a cornerstone of digital preservation. To better understand ongoing storage practices of organizations committed to digital preservation, the National Digital Stewardship Alliance conducted a survey of member organizations. The article reports on the findings of the 2011 survey, which also inspired a series of blog posts on The Signal. The results of the survey provide a frame of reference for organizations to compare their storage system approaches with NDSA member organizations.

The NDSA Infrastructure working group has reworked the survey to better identify key storage trends and issues as well as to improve clarity of responses. The 2013 Storage Survey was opened on April 25th and the group is currently soliciting responses from the NDSA community. Those interested in the survey questions can feel free to contact me at mgal at

Responses to the survey are interpreted and reported in aggregate. The responses from the 2013 survey will inform a forthcoming report, similar to the above D-Lib article about the 2011 survey. The NDSA Infrastructure working group hopes that this series of surveys will continue to provide critical insight into the storage needs and practices of the preservation community. The working group plans to run the Storage Survey biannually. These regular surveys will provide valuable longitudinal data that will help determine the trajectory of storage needs over time for digital stewardship

Preliminary results from the 2013 Storage Survey will be shared in September 2013.

Comments (2)

  1. Very interesting report. Would be nice if a follow up would give more insight about requirements and use of different types of filesystems. This is a very important aspect, but rarely mentioned in reports.

    Different types of Digital Preservation applications need different types of filesystems. For long term storage one would need a filesystem with advanced journaling and FS healing capabilities.

    For conversion/migration and temporary (intermediate) storage one would need a filesystem with journaling disabled to achieve high performance, but FS healing would not be an issue because the data is volatile.

    What are your thoughts on this?

  2. This survey is focused on storage media choices (tape, disk, on site, cloud, etc.) and on choices that impact the amount of storage and/or processing needed (i.e. number of preservation copies held, fixity check practices, typical use of data, etc.).

    While file systems are important and interesting, they are not the focus of this particular survey and, therefore, are not included in the article.

    It would be interesting to pursue that line of inquiry if there were a group interested in exploring more about file systems in use for archival preservation.

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