A few weeks ago, as part of the Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation conference, an announcement was made of the beta launch of a new resource to catalog and describe digital preservation tools: Community Owned digital Preservation Tool Registry.
The idea behind this registry is to try and consolidate all of the digital preservation tool resources into one place, eliminating the need for many separate registries in multiple organizations.
As an example of how this will be useful, at NDIIPP we have our own tools page that we have maintained over the years. Many of the tools on this list have either been produced by the Library of Congress or our NDSA partners –with the overall aim to provide these tools to the wider digital preservation community. Of course, the tools themselves, or the links, change on a fairly regular basis; they are either updated or just replaced altogether. And, as our list has grown, there is also the possibility of duplication with other such lists or registries that are being produced elsewhere. We have provided this to our users as an overall resource, but the downside is, it requires regular maintenance. For now, our tools page is still available, but we have currently put any updates on hold in anticipation of switching over to COPTR.
COPTR is meant to resolve such issues of duplication and maintenance, and to maintain a more centralized, up-to-date, one-stop shop for all digital preservation related tools.
For ease of use, COPTR is presented on a wiki – anyone has access to this in order to add tools to the registry or to edit and update existing ones. Here’s how it’s described by Paul Wheatley, one of the original developers of this effort:
“The registry aims to support practitioners in finding the tools they need to solve digital preservation problems, while reducing the glut of existing registries that currently exacerbate rather than solve the challenge. (I’ve blogged in detail about this.)
COPTR has collated the contents of five existing tool registries to create a greater coverage and depth of detail that has to date been unavailable elsewhere. The following organisations have partnered with COPTR and contributed data from their own registries: The National Digital Stewardship Alliance, The Digital Curation Centre (DCC), The Digital Curation Exchange (DCE), The Digital POWRR Project, The Open Planets Foundation (OPF)”
The above organizational list is not meant to be final, however. Wheatley emphasizes that they are looking for other organizations to participate in COPTR and to share their own tool registries.
On the wiki itself, the included tools are grouped into “Tools by Function” (disk imaging, personal archiving, etc.) or “Tools by Content” (audio, email, spreadsheet, etc.) According to the COPTR documentation, specific information for each tool will include the description and specific function, relevant URLs to the tool or resources and any user experiences. Generally, the tools to be included will be anything in the realm of digital preservation itself, such as those performing functions described in the OAIS model or in a digital lifecycle model. More specifically, the COPTR site describes in-scope vs. out-of-scope as the following:
- In scope: characterisation, visualisation, rendering, migration, storage, fixity, access, delivery, search, web archiving, open source software ->everything inbetween<- commercial software.
- Out of scope: digitisation, file creation
According to Wheatley, the goal is for organizations to eventually close their own registries and instead reference COPTR. The availability of a datafeed from COPTR provides a useful way of exposing COPTR (or subsets of the COPTR data) on their own sites.
This overall goal may sound ambitious, but it’s ultimately very pragmatic: to create a community-built resource that is accurate, comprehensive, up-to-date and eliminates duplication.
COPTR Needs You! To make this effort a success, the organizers are asking for some help:
- Add tools to the list (see the guide here)
- Give feedback
- Promote COPTR
- Consider bringing your organization into partnership with COPTR
- See this “to do” list to help develop COPTR even further.
And feel free to contribute feedback in the comment section of this blog post, below.
COPTR is a community registry that is owned by the community, for the community. It is supported by Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation , The Open Planets Foundation , The National Digital Stewardship Alliance, The Digital Curation Centre , The Digital Curation Exchange and the Digital POWRR Project.