If you are new to the world of digital preservation, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of technical terms and professional practices to contend with, and the fact that standards never seem to stay in place for very long.
Fortunately, there are many resources related to digital preservation available on the internet. Unfortunately, the large amount of websites, hyperlinks and sub-sections can exacerbate those confounded feelings.
In order to help the novice, nerd or perplexed archivist wanting to learn more, we thought it would be useful to compile a selection of (by no means exhaustive) resources to guide your hand. Ultimately if content is to be useful it does need to be curated and organised.
Bear in mind that individual websites within the field tend to be incredibly detailed, so it is worth having a really good explore to find the information you need! And, as is the norm with the internet, one click leads to another so before you know it you stumble upon another interesting site. Please feel free to add anything you find to the comment box below so the list can grow!
- AV Preserve are a US-based consultation company who work in partnership with organisations to help them implement digital information preservation and dissemination plans. They have an amazing ‘papers and presentation’ section of their website, which includes research about diverse areas such as assessing cloud storage, digital preservation software, metadata, making an institutional case for digital preservation, managing personal archives, primers on moving image codecs, disaster recovery and many more. It is a treasure trove, and there is a regularly updated blog to boot!
- Indiana University Bloomington Media Preservation Initiative is another good US-based resource. For academic institutions who want to see an example of a large digital preservation strategy in action, the publication Meeting the Challenge of Media Preservation: Strategies and Solutions, will be very useful.
- The US Library of Congress’ blog The Signal is regularly updated by a number of different authors and is full of interesting perspectives. While exploring this site you should also check out the NDSA’s National Agenda for Digital Stewardship which nicely summarises many of the latest perceived challenges for digital preservation in 2014. As ever, the site also includes information about tools that are of interest to the digital preservation community as well as resources about digital file format sustainability.
- If you want less tech-intensive forays into the world of digital preservation, Preservation Underground based at Duke University, the British Library’s Sound and Vision blog, Kate Theimar’s ArchivesNext, Library Preservation 2, the websites of Bill LeFurgy and Trevor Owens are good places to visit.
- The Digital Preservation Coalition‘s website is full of excellent resources including a digital preservation jargon buster, case studies, preservation handbook and a ‘what’s new’ section. The Technology Watch Reports are particularly useful. Of relevance to the work Great Bear do is the ‘Preserving Moving Pictures and Sound’, but there are many others including Intellectual Property and Copyright, Preserving Metadata and Digital Forensics.
- Jisc Digital Media offer consultancy, training and advice on all things digital. They have recently published their High Level Digitisation Guide for Audiovisual Resources InfoKit, which includes detailed information about planning and delivering complex digitisation projects.
- Preservation Guide Wiki - Set up initially by Richard Wright, BBC as early as 2006, the wiki provides advice on getting started in audiovisual digital preservation, developing a strategy at institutional and project based levels.
- The PrestoCentre’s website is amazing resource to explore if you want to learn more about digital preservation. The organisation aim to ‘enhance the audiovisual sector’s ability to provide long-term access to cultural heritage’. They have a very well stocked library that is composed of tools, case studies and resources, as well as a regularly updated blog.
- The European Archival Records and Knowledge Preservation (E-Ark) project promises to collect important research about the sustainability of digital archives across Europe. The website is currently being developed so don’t expect much from it, but it is good to know this research is happening.
- Digital Preservation Tools @ the National Archives – On this page you can download a number of tools developed by the The Digital Preservation and Digital Repository Infrastructure teams at The National Archives including CSV Schema and CSV Validator, UTF-8 Validator and DROID – File Type Identification Tool.
- The A/V Artifact Atlas is a community-generated resource for people working in digital preservation and aims to identify problems that occur when migrating tape-based media. The Atlas is made in a wiki-format and welcomes contributions from people with expertise in this area – ‘the goal is to collectively build a comprehensive resource that identifies and documents AV artifacts.’ The Atlas was created by people connected to the Bay Area Video Coalition, a media organisation that aims to inspire ‘social change by empowering media makers to develop and share diverse stories through art, education and technology.’
- Richard Hess is a US-based audio restoration expert. Although his website looks fairly clunky, he is very knowledgeable and well-respected in the field, and you can find all kinds of esoteric tape wisdom on there.
- The National Technology Alliance’s Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling: A Guide for Libraries and Archives by Dr. John W.C. Van Bogart (1995) is an excellent resource, written in non-technical language and explores the kinds of things that can go wrong with magnetic tape (and how to avoid it!)
- The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia have produced an in-depth online Preservation Guide. It includes a film preservation handbook, an audiovisual glossary, advice on caring for your collection and disaster management.
- The British Library’s Playback and Recording Equipment directory is well worth looking through. Organised chronologically (from 1877 – 1990s), by type and by model, it includes photos, detailed descriptions and you can even view the full metadata for the item. So if you ever wanted to look at a Columbia Gramophone from 1901 or a SONY O-matic tape recorder from 1964, here is your chance!
- In 2005 UNESCO declared 27 October to be World Audiovisual Heritage Day. The web pages are an insight into the way audiovisual heritage is perceived by large, international policy bodies.
- Be sure to take advantage of the 35 open access digital heritage articles published by Routledge. The articles are from the International Journal of Heritage Studies, Archives and Records, Journal of the Institute of Conservation, Archives and Manuscripts and others.
- The Digital Curation Centre works to support Higher Education Institutions to interpret and manage research data. Again, this website is incredibly detailed, presenting case studies, ‘how-to’ guides, advice on digital curation standards, policy, curation lifecycle and much more.
- Europeana is a multi-lingual online collection of millions of digitized items from European museums, libraries, archives and multi-media collections.
Digital Preservation Tools and Software
- For open source digital preservation software check out The Open Planets Foundation (OPF), who address core digital preservation challenges by engaging with its members and the community to develop practical and sustainable tools and services to ensure long-term access to digital content. The website also includes the very interesting Atlas of Digital Damages
- SCAPE – Scalable Preservation Environments ‘develops scalable services for planning and execution of institutional preservation strategies on an open source platform that orchestrates semi-automated workflows for large-scale, heterogeneous collections of complex digital objects.’ Visit their software for digital preservation tools here.
- Archivematica is a free and open-source digital preservation system that is designed to maintain standards-based, long-term access to collections of digital objects.
- Community Owned Digital Preservation Tool Registry – ‘COPTR is also an initiative to collate the knowledge of the digital preservation community on preservation tools in one place. Instead of organisations competing against each other with their own registries, COPTR is bringing them together. In doing so it’s objective is to provide the best resource for practitioners on digital preservation tools.’
- The BBC’s R & D Archive is an invaluable resource of white papers, research and policy relating to broadcast technology from the 1930s onwards. As the website states, ‘whether it’s noise-cancelling microphones in the 1930s, the first transatlantic television transmission in the 1950s, Ceefax in the 1970s, digital radio in the 1990s and HD TV in the 2000s, or the challenge to “broadcasting” brought about by the internet and interactive media, BBC Research & Development has led the way with innovative technology and collaborative ways of working.’
As mentioned above, please feel free to add your website or project to the comment box below. We will continue to update this list!