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Promoting and Enhancing Reuse of Information throughout the Content Lifecycle taking account of Evolving Semantics

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New trends in digital preservation at iPRES 2013



New trends in digital preservation at iPRES 2013

The iPRES conferences are probably the best opportunity to keep informed about the latest developments in the area of digital preservation. This year's iPRES in Lisbon was my fifth since the second iPRES in 2005 in Goettingen, and it seems that the field has changed a lot since then. A brief look at the conference programs of the different conferences reveals that it isn't so much the topics that have changed. Already at the first iPRES, we saw topics like preservation of research data, file format registries, applying utility analysis for preservation planning, and implementations of the OAIS. Nearly a decade later the same topics are still being discussed. It is of course not fair to stop at pointing out a superficial similarity in the topics. The digital preservation community and the conference have both grown substantially. The community has a lot more experience with implementing preservation tools and infrastructure and its actual operation. Standards like PREMIS were still in development in 2004 and are now much more mature (and PREMIS is heading for a version 3.0). But the most obvious change can be described as a diversification of the field. It is now common that an iPRES paper describes how an approach X was applied to domain Y with technology Z, and that is probably a sign of the overall increasing maturity of the field.   I would like to point out two aspects that seem to represent newer or stronger trends in digital preservation and that were fairly visible at the iPRES. The first is the strong influence of the engineering and computer science perspective – which appears to have its European centres in Vienna and Lisbon. Under this influence, the measurability of long-term preservation and abstract procedural approaches are being investigated much more actively. The Vienna paper from Roman Graf and Sergiu Gordea on "A Risk Analysis of File Formats for Preservation Planning"[1] is a good example since the risk associated with file formats is already an "old" topic (perhaps the second oldest digital preservation topic after the longevity of storage media). But still, their approach and the difficulty of measuring have caused quite a debate in the Open Planets Foundation blog.[2] Personally, I would not be surprised if we see more discussion on the role of the engineering and computer science perspective in digital preservation. The second aspect is also a trend addressed from the "Vienna and Lisbon perspective" and closely related to topics which we will also cover in PERICLES in the coming years. Processes and policies are increasingly investigated as a digital preservation topic. Of course, it has been discussed what efficient digital preservation processes and policies look like for a long time. But now processes are also being investigated as the object of digital preservation and policies are examined based on how they relate to processes. The iPRES paper of the TIMBUS project which won the best paper award,[3] belongs in this category as well as the paper from the SCAPE project.[4] Congratulations again to the authors and projects! PERICLES will do its best to build on these results.   

 

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