International Digital Preservation Day at the Danish National Archives
Phew. The working day is getting to an end and it is time to wrap up this International Day of Digital Preservation with some tidbits of what we have been up to here at the Danish National Archives in terms of digital preservation today. I will try to sum it up in a few key words.
My first task this morning was to have a Skype-meeting with my colleague Susana who is vice-chair of the DLM Forum where I am currently the chair. The DLM Forum (dlmforum.eu/) is an organization of archives, other institutions, vendors, consultants etc. with a common interest in Information Governance. The DLM Forum was one of the partners of the E-ARK-project (http://www.eark-project.com/) and is deeply committed to sustaining the results of the project. On our agenda today was the preparation of the next members’ meeting which will take place in Estonia, May 31 and June 1.
In today’s complex digital world, international cooperation is increasingly important and my key word #1. The challenges are simply too much for one institution or even one country to handle alone. We need to encourage the discussions and the sharing of knowledge across borders and therefore we are very happy to be part of organizations such as the DLM Forum and the OPF (https://staging.openpreservation.org/).
Next up was a coordination meeting with my boss and my colleague Mette who is in charge of Acquisition here at the Danish National Archives. This leads to key word #2: Life-cycle perspective. In the archives we need to make sure that digital preservation is dealt with as early as possible. We cannot necessarily wait with the discussions about preservation until the records’ creator is ready to submit their data to us. We have established a system where all state agencies and authorities must notify the National Archives when they take a new it-system into use. If the archivists in Acquisition find that data should be preserved, the system must go through a process of approval so that we at a very early stage of the life cycle of the information can make sure that it will be possible to submit data to the National Archives according to our regulations for format, structure and documentation.
Key word #3 would be access. For many years, our main focus has been on preservation methods and the timely transfer of digital records before technological obsolescence kicks in. That is still important and will continue to be so for a very long time, but we now see an increase in the demand for access to our collection of born-digital records which we also need to deal with. Ann-Kristin from my department of Digital Preservation spent the day in Aalborg, Jutland, together with colleagues from Access and IT-Development, discussing ways to access born-digital records with our colleagues from the Aalborg City Archives. In Denmark, all city archives must use the regulations of the National Archives for the SIP’s of born-digital records, which make it possible for us to share solutions and tools across institutions.
I made a sneak-preview of our accession in November. Usually I have to submit statistics in the beginning of the following month, but I did an early count today and found out that we have approved of almost 50 SIP’s this month, which is a really big number, considering the fact that our total in all of 2016 was 115 SIPs. Numbers can be deceitful but I still guess it is fair to have growth as my key word #4 today. The amount of digital information is growing and even if not all needs to be preserved we still have a task that is consistently growing in terms of acqusition, quality assurance, preservation, and access. Hopefully we can find a way to keep up with it.
Thoughts about the future has otherwise taken up most of my day today. Naturally enough planning is key word #5. We are currently working hard on putting together a new digitization strategy for the Danish National Archives. We try to assess the challenges and possibilites ahead and to see what kind of projects must be defined and completed in the coming years in order to keep up with the ever evolving e-government as well as the demands of our users. We will stay focused on being an archive that builds bridges between the past, the present, and the future. We want to give the future a past and thus we need to preserve the digital records of today. The taks is huge, but we are thrilled to be a part of it here at the Danish National Archives.
Happy International Day of Digital Preservation!
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