14.0610 a Digital Preservation Coalition in the U.K.

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Wed Jan 24 2001 - 02:05:59 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 610.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 07:01:07 +0000
             From: NINCH-ANNOUNCE <david@ninch.org>
             Subject: Towards a Digital Preservation Coalition in the UK

    News on Networking Cultural Heritage Resources
    from across the Community
    January 23, 2001


    Following a March 1999 Digital Preservation Workshop at Warwick University
    and a recent Digital Preservation Summit in London January 16, 2001, steps
    seem to be well underway in the creation of a Digital Preservation
    Coalition in the UK.

    This seems to be very promising in raising awareness, implementing some
    immediate practical projects and in conducting vital preservation research.
    I urge all to read the following piece.

    David Green

    >Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 09:01:43 EST
    >From: "Neil Beagrie," <Nbeagrie@aol.com>

    dear all

    a very successful and productive summit was held in London on 16th January
    to discuss the formation of the digital preservation coalition. The
    following text for an article/report will appear in various publications
    shortly and is also posted to this list

    This article reports on proposals to establish a Digital Preservation
    Coalition in the UK. The Coalition aims to develop a UK digital
    preservation agenda within an international context. The article provides
    background on the issues and proposals and reports on a digital
    preservation summit held in London on 16th January 2001 to discuss
    establishment of the Coalition.

    1. Introduction
    Electronic resources form an increasingly large part of our cultural and
    intellectual heritage. In addition to electronic publications, the Web, and
    e-commerce, there is an array of new UK initiatives and legislation, from
    Modernising Government to the Freedom of Information Act, which is putting
    an onus on public organisations to provide access to, manage and archive
    their information in electronic form. In the research arena, there are also
    significant developments particularly in the sciences towards very large
    primary research data sets in electronic form e.g. in genomics or earth
    There are significant challenges associated with ensuring access and
    preservation of these materials into the future. Electronic resources
    regardless of whether they are created initially through digitisation or
    are "born" digital are threatened by technological obsolescence and
    physical deterioration. With content from international publishers,
    increasing globalisation and sharing of resources, and the involvement of a
    range of libraries, archives, services, and cultural heritage
    organisations, our ability to preserve access to these electronic resources
    into the future depends on the collaboration and engagement of a wide range
    of stakeholders.

    National institutions and services, and individual local institutions
    increasingly need to raise awareness of digital preservation, and develop
    capacity, skills and expertise to administer or manage for the long-term
    intellectual and cultural assets they have developed in digital
    form. These institutions have recognised the value of collaboration in
    addressing digital preservation. Establishment of a Digital Preservation
    Coalition was the principal recommendation of the Warwick II digital
    preservation workshop held in March 1999, which had representation from a
    wide range of sectors, institutions, and practitioners in digital

    There are a number of reasons why institutions at Warwick wished to
    establish a Coalition. First, attendees recognised they needed a
    collaborative effort to get digital preservation on the agenda of key
    decision-makers and funders in terms that they will find persuasive and
    understand. Secondly, projects and initiatives are proliferating and the
    institutions themselves felt there would be significant value in developing
    the umbrella organisation to help coordinate and keep a watching brief and
    monitoring role on their behalf. Thirdly, despite sectoral differences it
    was felt that most of the technical and some organisational issues remain
    the same for all organisations. There are therefore significant synergies
    and mutual self-interest in collaboration. At the same time the efforts of
    individual institutions and sectors can be leveraged and co-ordinated
    through collaboration to achieve wider national benefits. Finally, it was
    felt that the Digital Preservation Coalition could tap additional skills
    and funding and help address and contribute to development of national
    strategies, infrastructure and skills in digital preservation.

    Concrete action towards the establishment of the Coalition is now in
    progress. In June 2000 JISC established a post within the DNER and
    appointed Neil Beagrie to provide a focal point for digital preservation
    activities within JISC and the higher and further education communities,
    and to help establish and support the Coalition proposed at Warwick.
    Although the exact remit, shape and programme for the Coalition will be
    resolved in consultation with proposed members, a draft outline of the
    Coalition and its remit and work was discussed at a digital preservation
    summit held in London on 16th January 2001.

    2. Outcomes from the Summit

    Participants representing national, university and public libraries,
    archives, data archiving services, publishers, research councils and
    government bodies unanimously endorsed the need for co-ordinated work on
    digital preservation and for the establishment of a coalition. Participants
    recognised that the subject is bigger than any one institution or sector.

    It was agreed that the aim of the Coalition will be to develop a UK digital
    preservation agenda within an international context.

    The Coalition was seen as operating on four levels:
    * activities undertaken individually by member institutions and sectors but
    accomplished and co-ordinated in line with their commitment to the
    principles of openness and dissemination in the draft manifesto;
    * core coalition activities of common interest and benefit to all its
    members supported by resources from its membership;
    * collaborative projects and programmes which would be taken forward with
    project funding drawn from a variety of sources.
    * the creation and further development of a national digital archiving
    infrastructure in the UK.

    Suggestions for core activities and first programmes included:
    * awareness raising amongst key funders and stakeholders;
    * development of a digital preservation portal incorporating the
    Preservation Management of Digital Materials Workbook, in collaboration
    with international partners;
    * establishing a dialogue with software and hardware manufacturers;
    * developing standards to support digital preservation;
    * training and addressing the skills and competencies needed for digital
    * applied practical research and development in member institutions and
    sharing experience;
    * archiving of commercial e journals;
    * web archiving.

    Funding and the most effective organisational model for the Coalition were
    discussed, and JISC and the BL agreed to continue discussions with
    potential partners in the Coalition and to co-ordinate its establishment.

    Further general information and news on the Coalition will be disseminated
    via the digital-preservation email list on JISCmail). Enquiries about the
    coalition can be addressed in the first instance to Neil Beagrie email
    preservation@jisc.ac.uk, JISC office, King's College London, Strand Bridge
    House, 138 -142 Strand, London WC2 1HH.
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