Hitchcock, Steve, Tarrant, David and Carr, Les
Towards repository preservation services. Final report from the JISC Preserv 2 project.
Preserv 2 investigated the preservation of data in digital institutional repositories, focussing in particular on managing storage, data and file formats. Preserv 2 developed the first repository storage controller, which will be a feature of EPrints version 3.2 software (due 2009). Plugin applications that use the controller have been written for Amazon S3 and Sun cloud services among others, as well as for local disk storage. In a breakthrough application Preserv 2 used OAI-ORE to show how data can be moved between two repository softwares with quite distinct data models, from an EPrints repository to a Fedora repository. The largest area of work in Preserv 2 was on file format management and an 'active' preservation approach. This involves identifying file formats, assessing the risks posed by those formats and taking action to obviate the risks where that could be justified. These processes were implemented with reference to a technical registry, PRONOM from The National Archives (TNA), and DROID (digital record object identification service), also produced by TNA. Preserv 2 showed we can invoke a current registry to classify the digital objects and present a hierarchy of risk scores for a repository. Classification was performed using the Preserv2 EPrints preservation toolkit. This 'wraps' DROID in an EPrints repository environment. This toolkit will be another feature available for EPrints v3.2 software. The result of file format identification can indicate a file is at risk of becoming inaccessible or corrupted. Preserv 2 developed a repository interface to present formats by risk category. Providing risk scores through the live PRONOM service was shown to be feasible. Spin-off work is ongoing to develop format risk scores by compiling data from multiple sources in a new linked data registry.
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