A brief update from PASIG 2016
The Preserving and Archiving Special Interest Group (PASIG) 2016 conference was held in the National Library of Technology in the city of Prague from 9th-11th March (http://pasig.schk.sk/wordpress/agenda). There were many interesting talks, and we present here a few highlights particularly related to PERICLES.
The Wednesday afternoon focussed on long-term and large-scale data storage design challenges and featured presentations from the industry sponsors, including Oracle, Arkivum and P&A Consult. It was pointed out that there is now only one manufacturer of magnetic tapes for long term data storage, which presents a clear risk if that manufacturer ceases production. One speaker described the distinction between archival and preservation. According to their definition, archival is essentially about storing information (as bits) in their current state in order that they can be retrieved again in the future, together with the necessary representation information. Preservation on the other hand was considered to be the process of ensuring reusability of digital content (subject to maintaining the defined significant properties). This potentially involves modifying the content. This definition fits quite well with our perspective in PERICLES.
On Thursday, there was a presentation by Matthias Hemmje on Active Data Management Plans. The focus was on providing tools to automate the creation of DMPs, which would by default be machine-processable. Such tools could provide guidance and support to researchers in creating their plans, for instance by being able to mine related plans created by other researchers. This is similar in spirit to the presentation I made at the Active Data Management Plans IG at the Paris RDA meeting in September 2015, where I talked about using machine-processable plans to automate the long term management of the archived data. An example would be to validate the ongoing availability of experimental datasets over the time period required by the funder. This could be implemented as an extension of the work of the Practical Policy WG (as was pointed out by an audience member). A workshop on ADMPs is planned for iPRES 2016.
On Friday morning, there were a number of updates from ongoing projects in the field. There was an interesting talk entitled “The Semantics for an Ultimate Perfect OAIS Implementation” by Roger Roberts of Titan. This described the AXIS-CSRM, a proposal to support interchange and interoperability of cultural heritage data relating to the UNESCO Memory of the World programme. The theme is closely related to the work on modelling and evolving semantics in PERICLES.
There was an update from the EUDAT project from Rob Baxter of EPCC, University of Edinburgh, and WP6 lead in PERICLES. EUDAT is one year into its follow-on project. Rob presented an overview of the main services under development. Barbara Sierman of National Library of the Netherlands presented the current progress on the revision of the OAIS standard. Contributions are invited from the wider preservation and archival community and members of the PERICLES consortium will be joining this process.
The PERICLES presentation on Friday provided an overview of the project’s main objectives and the current status of research. The session was fairly rapid so there was no time for immediate questions. However, in the break, we were able to discuss in more depth the connections with the UNESCO work and the PERICLES modelling language. We also had an invitation to collaborate in organising a workshop at iPRES 2016 on active data management plans.