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3.1 Australia

3.1.1 National Context

The Commonwealth of Australia has a system of federal and state governments. This is mirrored in its library system. There is a National Library in Canberra and libraries in the states and territories supported by local government. Australia has, in other words, a distributed system of national and regional library collections.

There is no explicit national legal deposit for electronic publications in Australia, although it is anticipated that this will be introduced in due course. There is some provision for deposit in legislation in some states.

The NLA has a responsibility for preserving the national print-based and oral documentary heritage under the National Library Act, but ScreenSound Australia is responsible for film, sound, and broadcast. ScreenSound and NLA are working jointly on proposals to extend legal deposit legislation to electronic materials and audiovisual materials in physical formats.

Australia has a strong digital online culture. Internationally, Australia has one of the highest levels of Internet connections among its population (surpassed only by the United States and Singapore). In part, this reflects the distances between population centers across the continent and the need for organizations to reach many of their audiences online. For a country with a relatively small population, Australia has a relatively large number of leading-edge online projects across all sectors. Archiving these online materials has become a significant area of effort for Australia’s memory institutions, and both the NLA and the national archive activities and guidelines are frequently cited internationally as exemplars in this area.

There are few large international publishers in Australia. Most commercial Australian publishing is focused on print publications. Online publishing has tended to be from new entrants to the market and noncommercial sources. There are 85 commercial publications within the national online collection, PANDORA, but this is a small part of the collection as a whole.

The National Office for the Information Economy in the Federal Government set a target for all federal services to be online by 2001. There has been a major push to enable rapid access to information and services from government departments.

There is an active electronic records management/archive sector in Australia. Work at Monash University, the PRO of Victoria, and the National Archive of Australia has earned an international reputation.

Australia has a national bibliographic database, KINETICA, and Australian libraries collaborate in its development for resource sharing. There has been a tradition of collaboration in developing the national catalog, and this has provided a foundation for collaboration in other fields.

3.1.2 The National Library of Australia

The NLA has a staff of 492 full-time equivalents and is a statutory authority within the portfolio of the Department of Communications, Information Technology, and the Arts. Its 2001 budget was $AU 206.7 million, of which $AU 45 million supported operational expenses.

The NLA’s remit covers Australia’s published and documentary heritage, and its sound holdings include oral and folk history.

Development of Digital Systems in NLA

In 1999, the NLA prepared a tender specification for a Digital Collection Management System and issued a request for information to potential suppliers. It was unable to identify a supplier that met all its requirements and has proceeded with a combination of in-house development and external procurement in the following three areas:

  1. Digital Object Storage System. This was procured externally and built from a number of subcomponents. It was installed and accepted in June 2001.
  2. Digital Objects Management System. This is being built in-house to manage both archived electronic publications and digitized objects in the NLA collections. It is a phased development, and future releases will incorporate digital sound and long-term preservation management.
  3. Digital Archive System. This software is being developed in-house to support PANDORA, the national distributed archiving system for online publications. There is Web access to all functions to facilitate involvement and use by partner organizations. Version 1 has been implemented and is highly regarded by NLA partners such as the State Library of Victoria. It has substantially reduced staff time needed to archive online titles. Version 2, scheduled for release in June 2002, will also support distributed storage for any partner that requires it.

All digital preservation activities at NLA have been supported by a reallocation of internal resources rather than by new funding. As a result, there has perhaps been greater emphasis on mainstreaming these activities within the library than there might have been if this work had been externally financed. Reallocating resources has been difficult, but there is now a core commitment to preservation activities in NLA.

Given limited funding, NLA has invested heavily in staff time and infrastructure to support collaborative archiving and is seeking to develop distributed responsibility for these activities.

NLA Digital Preservation Policy and Action Plan

The NLA has developed a Digital Preservation Policy, available on its Web site, which states the directions the library intends to take in preserving its own electronic information resources and in collaborating with others to maximize the effectiveness of digital preservation activities. At the time this report was prepared, the NLA was six months into a two-year action plan to implement the policy. The NLA is interested in developing a wider national action plan with partners.

The following digital preservation technologies are being evaluated:

  • File format migration. The NLA is testing the migration of the PANDORA collection to html v4.01.
  • Emulation. The NLA is developing a testbed for obsolete DOS systems.
  • Web domain harvesting. A feasibility study on harvesting the Australian Web domain, initiated in 2001, is on hold.
  • Data recovery. Work on recovery and transfer from floppy disk and CDs is documented in NLA staff papers.
  • Viewers for obsolete formats. The library has purchased TRIM software from Tower systems for its records-management needs. It is evaluating the functionality of this software for viewing obsolete word processing formats.
  • CD-R and mass-storage systems. The NLA has extensively evaluated CD-R as an archival medium. This work is documented in staff papers.
  • Software repositories and technology watch. NLA is evaluating concepts for a software repository and a technology watch for file formats.

3.1.3 National and Institutional Initiatives

National bodies in different sectors are leading several national or institutional initiatives in Australia. National initiatives do not exist in all sectors (even institutional initiatives may be absent).

NLA initiatives are coordinated either through model agreements with trade bodies or through formal or informal bilateral arrangements with individual organizations. Formal arrangements may be made on the basis of institutional mission, geography (e.g., national or state), or by subject matter (archival records, publications, film, and broadcast or audio). The load may be distributed unevenly, depending on the resources and missions of partners in such arrangements

The NLA has led national collaborative initiatives for published materials, for example, the PANDORA archive. The partnership that is building PANDORA is based on a formal exchange of letters under which each institution takes responsibility to varying degrees for selecting, archiving, cataloging, preserving, and providing access to Australian online publications, according to agreed-upon criteria and processes. PANDORA has operated since 1996, and the partnership has gradually extended to other organizations, including ScreenSound Australia, the state libraries, and one territory library. The State Library of Tasmania has developed its own procedures and policy for its institutional initiative, Our Digital Island, which is archiving online publications and works closely with the NLA toward joint goals. It is strongly considering using the PANDORA Digital Archiving System with the option of storing files on its own server. The diversity of their approaches has enabled the NLA and the State Library of Tasmania to share lessons learned and to coordinate initiatives, such as developing a scheme for a national persistent identifier. Some areas of the national online collection remain to be covered; among these are the evolving preprint archives.

Incentives for participation in national initiatives vary from sector to sector. For publishers, deposit with the NLA means being included in the national bibliography, greater exposure for their publications, and ongoing access to their publications without the cost of maintaining them. The NLA agrees to restrict access to commercial material so that commercial interests are not threatened by deposit.

For other libraries or institutions, collaboration may secure the following:

  • access to shared infrastructure or policy that would be expensive to procure individually, for example, PANDORA selection guidelines;
  • Stronger advocacy, for example, NLA and ScreenSound Australia’s joint representation on legal deposit; and
  • Access to and sharing of expertise and project learning internationally, for example, involvement in RLG/OCLC working groups.

For all entities participating in national initiatives led by the NLA, a degree of empathy is implicit for securing the cultural heritage of Australia and therefore for supporting the mission of the NLA in achieving this.

National initiatives include the following projects:

PANDORA (Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia)

The NLA and its partners collaboratively maintain PANDORA, the national collection of Australian online publications. PANDORA is internationally recognized as a key initiative in the selective archiving of online materials. The collaboration has extended to include all State libraries and one Territory library, as well as Screensound Australia. Material for inclusion in PANDORA is selected either by the NLA or its partners. There is central storage of material at NLA. The NLA has developed archiving software for distributed selection, gathering, and deposit. Version 2 of this software will allow distributed storage and will accommodate the specific local development within Tasmania.

The NLA, in consultation with the Council of Australian State Librarians (CASL), has developed a template for shared selection guidelines for the National Collection of Australian Online Publications. This provides a consistent basis for developing a distributed national collection of online materials while allowing for institutional collection approaches to be incorporated.

Code of Practice for Providing Long-term Access to Australian Online Publications

The NLA has developed this draft in consultation with the Australian Publishers Association to cover archiving and preservation of, and access to, commercial publications produced in Australia. Given the small size of the Australian commercial publishing industry, the code will not have extensive application outside of Australia for some time. However, it has been invaluable in developing awareness among the commercial publishers and in preparing the ground for discussion of legal deposit of electronic materials.

Australian Digital Resource Identifier

The NLA is developing a national persistent identification scheme for electronic information resources in collaboration with the State Library of Tasmania and on behalf of CASL. The scheme, to be known as the Australian Digital Resource Identifier (ADRI), will provide a guide for organizations to name their resources in a way that will ensure continued access to the resources in the future. CASL endorsed in principle a draft schema for ADRI in November 2001.

Other Australian projects and initiatives include the following:

Our Digital Island (Tasmanian State Library)

The TSL has developed this selective Web archiving initiative for online publications in the State of Tasmania.

Higher Education Sector

There has been relatively little digital preservation work in the Australian higher education sector, although a major conference, “Digital Continuity,” was convened in November 2001 to consider the state of the art and how Australian universities should engage with the issues. There is a national digital theses program with distributed archiving by institutions and a central interface for access. Two university libraries are establishing e-print archives.

Sound Archives

Australia has an active sound archiving community that for years has been using digital formats for archiving.

The NLA and ScreenSound Australia have instituted many evaluation and life testing trials on CD-R and digital audio tapes. The expanding capabilities of mass-storage systems now make them viable for the storage and preservation of large amounts of audio data. The NLA is migrating its audio holdings from CD-R to mass storage.

The radio network of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation has implemented a computer-based digital on-air system. Consequently, they do not generate analog copies of new material and now archive on CD-R.

Picture Australia and Music Australia

There are several significant and innovative national resource discovery initiatives to access outcomes from digitization projects involving the NLA and other partners. These include Picture Australia and Music Australia.

3.1.4 International Initiatives

The NLA believes that international collaboration at many levels is essential in digital preservation; to this end, it wants to work with the U.S. Library of Congress and other international agencies.

Current collaborative international activities include the following:

Preserving Access to Digital Information

Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI) is a digital preservation gateway maintained by NLA and individual and institutional partners in Australia and abroad. It started as a voluntary initiative among a number of Australian organizations; later, a single institution was created to give the program the resources it needed to develop fully. The NLA has led in development of PADI and provides staff and systems support. In 2001, PADI’s functionality was extended to allow registered individuals outside the NLA to enter information directly into the PADI database.

PADI has an international advisory group, and the NLA has sought to develop collaboration in maintaining PADI internationally. Individuals have been able to register as contributors and input directly since 2001. More recently, the NLA and the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC; see section 3.4.3) have agreed to a memorandum of understanding on collaborative activity. This will include DPC input to PADI and a series of links and joint activity. This arrangement could be mirrored in future with other organizations worldwide.

Safekeeping Initiative

The Safekeeping Initiative was established with seed funding from CLIR. It aims to identify key digital preservation resources recorded in PADI and to secure agreements for their long-term preservation. The NLA is evaluating this initiative.

Conference of Directors of National Libraries

The director-general of NLA is chair of the Conference of Directors of National Libraries (CDNL). CDNL has set up a digital issues group, which has an action plan that concentrates on legal deposit, persistent identification and digital archiving, and preservation research needs. This group was instrumental in submitting a digital preservation resolution to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The KB chairs the digital issues group.

International Research Projects

The NLA staff contributes to the OCLC/RLG Working Group on Preservation Metadata and the RLG/OCLC Working Group on Digital Archive Attributes. Through review comments, the NLA has contributed significantly to the OAIS reference model, NEDLIB, and other international projects in digital preservation, including the development of Preservation Management of Digital Materials: A Handbook (Jones and Beagrie 2001).

3.1.5 Future International Collaboration

The following were seen as potentially important areas for future international collaboration by NLA:

  • working on persistent identifiers
  • exploring how national collections can be linked
  • developing a global or distributed software archive
  • documenting and sharing information on preservation dependencies in publications
  • implementing a technology watch for file and media formats
  • sharing and discussing research and evaluations of specific implementations
  • implementing preservation metadata with international publishers
  • developing archive certification models arising out of the RLG/OCLC Working Group on Digital Archive Attributes
  • establishing fail-safe mechanisms globally for collections (it was recognized this is more difficult and sensitive than some of the previous suggestions and might be a lower or long-term priority)

While it is often easy to agree on international collaboration, real progress is difficult unless resources are dedicated to the work. There needs to be rigorous discussion of what is useful for both parties and what resources must be committed.

3.2 France

3.2.1 National Context

Passed in 1992 and implemented in 1993, France’s national legal deposit legislation covers publications of all types produced or distributed in that country. The legislation does not specifically mention electronic publications, but the act has been applied to offline electronic publications such as CD-ROMs that have been produced in France. Under the legislation, responsibilities are divided among the following institutions:

  • The Bibliothèque nationale de France is responsible for all published documents, videos, and multimedia works.
  • The Centre National de la Cinématographie is responsible for film.
  • The Institut National de l’Audiovisuel is responsible for radio and television broadcasts.

There is regional deposit for printed material in 19 regional libraries. However, there is no regional deposit for electronic publications. Two copies of electronic publications that exist in physical formats, such as CD-ROM, must be deposited with BnF.

It is estimated that there are more than 300,000 Web sites in France, excluding hosted sites. In July 2000, a recommendation was made to extend the legal deposit legislation to cover electronic materials on the Web. A legal process is now under way to achieve this. When the law is enacted, producers based in France will be obligated to deposit their Web sites. Producers can meet this obligation by depositing materials directly by ftp or on a physical carrier, or by arranging for the library to harvest the site. The law will not specify whether Web archiving is to be selective or exhaustive, and selection decisions will be at the discretion of the library. Much discussion is expected with producers over implementation of any new law. Any new legislation is unlikely to be declared before 2003Ð2004.

All librarians in French research libraries, which include the university libraries and the national library, are civil servants employed by the Ministry of Education. For this reason, there is a regular movement of staff between the national library and the provinces. There is a single national school for training librarians.

There is substantial government investment in scientific research, and the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (INRIA) is one of the three centers for the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C).

The French archives law sets out rules for managing public archives and for protecting private archives. The law applies to all local and national public organizations. Although French archives are under central direction through the Archives of France (a directorate of the French Ministry of Culture), they are highly decentralized; the National Archives, for example, consists of five separate centers.

There is growing interest in long-term preservation of digital information across many sectors in France. This is reflected in a number of international conferences arranged there on the topic in the last year.

3.2.2 The French National Library (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) is funded through the French Ministry of Culture and has a staff of 2,800. It has an annual budget of 1 billion French francs for operating costs. This sum excludes salaries, which are controlled by and paid for separately by the Ministry of Education (the librarians) or the Ministry of Culture (other staff). Six hundred staff members are on short-term contracts funded from the operating costs. The library does not lend materials or supply documents. It is solely a library of last resort with on-site access to any material in copyright that has been deposited.

Digitization of collections started in 1992 and includes materials in the national library and in associated library collections. There has been a strong focus on digitizing public-domain print collections, and they are made available through the Gallica Web site. The digitized collection consists of homogenous documented formats and has already been migrated once. A large program for digitizing video has just started.

Digital Systems

The library has 100 Unix servers, 150 NT servers, and 3,000 workstations. There is a 150-MB ATM network internally and a 150-MB connection externally through the research network in Paris. There is distributed computing power and 24/7 service capability across the library; however, a central archival store is considered a necessary future development. The current main approach to long-term preservation is to develop a preservation metadata database to inform migration and preservation decisions across these distributed storage systems.


Digital preservation initiatives are funded through the operational budget. Funds are reallocated to support experimentation with Web archiving. However, additional funding is being sought to continue this work in 2003.

Digital Preservation Policy and Actions

There is a separate workflow for electronic legal deposit publications within BnF. The audiovisual department takes all electronic deposit materials because it already has equipment for accessing recorded CDs and digital tapes. Of the two deposit copies, one is retained within the audiovisual department and the other is sent to a BnF conservation building outside Paris.

The library has just formed a working group to develop digital preservation across all its departments. It includes representatives from the Digital Library Project team and the library’s audiovisual, IT, conservation, and collections departments. The working group will gather information on the scale of work needed across the library, what is being done, and what is being considered. It will adopt the OAIS model and apply it within BnF. Julien Masanès is the group’s coordinator and serves as project leader for evaluating Web site archiving.

In December 2000, BnF launched a set of experiments on archiving the national Web domain. No access is given to materials in this experimental Web archive. Future public access on-site at the BnF will depend on arrangements in any revised legal deposit legislation. The goal of these experiments is to evaluate costs and to define procedures for selection, transfer, and preservation that can be applied for any new legal deposit law extension to online materials.

The library is working with INRIA to test their XYLEME software as a tool for Web archiving. The project leader is working with collections staff to see whether the automated weighting this software provides can be used to help in the selection of Web sites for archiving.

3.2.3 National and Institutional Initiatives

The division of responsibility for legal deposit is set out in legislation. The load is divided according to the type of material, as noted above. A scientific committee oversees implementation of the legislation.

The Ministry of Culture has funded coordinated research on technology, including research on producing archival-quality CDs.

The Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) has led the development of the OAIS reference model standard in France and has coordinated development of an informal group, Pérennisation des Informations Numériques (PIN), that is working on this and other standards and guidelines.

Pérennisation des Informations Numériques

The NEDLIB project, described in section 4.2, made extensive use of the draft OAIS reference model standard. This led to initial contact from BnF with staff at the CNES who had been part of the international earth observation and space data community that worked on developing the standard. Organizations interested in discussing the OAIS model met in June 2000, and PIN was then established as an informal forum and discussion list administered by CNES. The purpose of the forum is to contribute to work on developing the OAIS standard and on standards and practices for its implementation, and to share information between organizations. Participation is voluntary and PIN relies on the contribution of effort by the individuals and organizations that attend. Members take turns hosting meetings. Participants include

  • Archives de France
  • Archive-17
  • Bibliothèque nationale de France
  • Centre des Archives Contemporaines, one of the five centers within the National Archives
  • Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique
  • Groupe Mederic
  • Institut Pasteur
Public Records

The Archives of France is developing guidelines for electronic archives. The Archives of France control the National Archives and the regional, departmental, and municipal archive agencies, as well as the archive agencies of organizations that are authorized, by way of derogation, to manage their permanent archives.

The Archives of France is exploring the possibility of cooperating with BnF on archiving government Web sites. Such collaboration would have significant technical benefits, because French archives are decentralized and central IT support is limited. It is anticipated that the Archives will want to process Web sites differently than the BnF does, given archival interests in the hierarchy and administrative context of the documents.

The Institut National de l’Audiovisuel

The INA is responsible for France’s cultural audiovisual heritage. Under legal deposit legislation, INA is responsible for deposits from the country’s six national television channels (public and commercial) and five public radio channels. Under the French communications law, INA is also responsible for maintaining the archive for public radio and television.

INA is one of the three major partners in the PRESTO project, described in section 4.4. It is making heavy use of digitization for preservation and also taking more material in born-digital form.

INA wants to extend its mission to the French Web and is developing a harvester with the École Nationale Supérieure.

Academic Sector

The university libraries are starting a scheme for submitting university theses in electronic formats. The scheme provides style sheets in Word and reformats submissions into XML. The project is based at Lyon University and is just beginning to consider long-term preservation. The institutions will archive the theses and will not deposit them with the BnF.

The Consortium Universitaire des Périodiques Numériques (COUPERIN), the main purchasing consortium for university libraries, is concerned about the archiving of and future access to the journals to which it subscribes. COUPERIN is reluctant to rely solely on publishers for these long-term arrangements. It has begun discussing with the BnF arrangements under which BnF would archive electronic journals that fall outside of legal deposit. BnF would wish to seek payment for this; however, because the costs of digital preservation are uncertain, BnF cannot now make contractual commitments to third parties.

3.2.4 International Initiatives

Networked European Deposit Library

The BnF was a partner in the NEDLIB project, described in section 4.2, and led work on defining preservation metadata. Catherine Lupovici and Julien Masanès coauthored the NEDLIB metadata report (2000).

Open Archival Information System

CNES has had a major involvement in the OAIS standard, described in section 4.3. It is currently leading work within the Archiving Group on Ingest Methodologies.


INA is one of the three lead partners in the PRESTO project, described in section 4.4.

3.2.5 Future International Initiatives

The BnF is keen to take part in international activities, but time pressures make it hard to participate on any scale or to follow everything that is happening or that has been disseminated through e-mail lists or digital preservation gateways. They highlighted the following as areas of priority for future international collaboration:

  • The library would like to see joint research in technical areas such as harvesting the Web or reformatting databases behind database-driven Web sites into XML. They believe this area would also be of interest to the Library of Congress.
  • The NEDLIB project was highly regarded by the BnF, and the library would like to see some practical extension of this activity among national libraries.

3.3 The Netherlands

3.3.1 National Context

There is no legal deposit legislation in the Netherlands for either print or electronic publications. Consequently, the KB has worked in this area on its own initiative and as a natural extension of its mission to safeguard the nation’s published heritage.

The KB has developed voluntary agreements on deposit of electronic publications with publishers. It first formed bilateral agreements with Elsevier and Kluwer, which dominate Dutch publishing and provide most of the electronic journal titles accessioned by the KB. In June 1999, the library signed a general agreement with the Dutch Publishers Association.

Voluntary agreements have limitations in that publishers do not always have rights in third-party materials. Only statutory provisions could resolve these difficulties. For this reason, The KB still wishes to see a statutory right to archive publications, perhaps through the national implementation of exceptions in the European Union (EU) Copyright Directive.

The Dutch government aims to carry out 25 percent of its transactions with citizens digitally by 2002. There is thus significant investment in a program to develop strategies, methods, techniques, and tools to support e-government and information society initiatives. Concerns about business continuity and electronic records led to the establishment of a Digital Longevity Program as part of these initiatives. There are five projects within this program, including a digital preservation research testbed and a task force to support awareness raising and communication across government agencies.

Activity in the academic sector has focused on establishing e-print and digital archives concerned with access and new models for electronic publishing.

A national plan for preservation, the Delta Plan, has operated since 1991 and has assessed the preservation needs of print and manuscript materials. In 1997, a national program for the preservation of library materials, Metamorfoze, was launched. This is coordinated by the National Preservation Office (NPO) of the Netherlands, which also provide grants to support preservation. The NPO is organized by and housed in the KB. The program focuses on reformatting paper to microfilm, deacidification, and some assessment of digitization as a preservation surrogate.

All publications deposited with the KB are cataloged into the national bibliography. The cataloging is done using a joint system operated by the KB and all the research libraries in the Netherlands. Pica and OCLC technically maintain the joint cataloging system. From the resulting bibliographic database, a national union catalog is produced.

3.3.2 The National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek)

The KB has a staff of 350 (about 260 full-time equivalents) and is funded through the science section of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Its budget in 2002 was 80.4 million guilders (36.5 million euros).

The KB collects the published and literary heritage of the Netherlands. Its collections comprise mainly book and serial publications. This can include multimedia publications, but at present it does not collect any audiovisual, film, or broadcast materials or software, games, or databases. (The KB may collect databases in the future.) The KB is also interested in the future selective archiving of parts of the Dutch Internet domain.

KB initiatives include developing the Digital Archive Store Project (DNEP), a national agreement on voluntary deposit with publishers, a long-term digital preservation study with IBM, and many digitization projects, including the Memory of the Netherlands and Treasures of the National Library. The latter two projects focus on improving access and interoperability with other collections.

Development of Digital Systems

There has been investment in developing access systems and particularly in Web access to the catalogs.

The new deposit system for electronic publications has developed in a number of distinct phases. The KB was the lead partner in the EU-funded NEDLIB project and helped develop its guidelines for electronic deposit systems. These guidelines propose creation of a controlled environment for storing and maintaining electronic publications (the deposit system) and developing transfer procedures for electronic publications to the deposit system. NEDLIB also employed Jeff Rothenberg of the RAND Corporation to investigate the feasibility of emulation as a long-term solution for digital preservation.

In 1999, the KB investigated the feasibility of obtaining an operational deposit system for its electronic publications from commercial information technology suppliers. The KB concluded that the storage and management functions could be obtained from existing vendors. However, for long-term preservation and access, it was clear that no off-the-shelf solutions were available and that KB would need to commission specific research to develop the required functionality.

In September 2000, the KB contracted with IBM-Netherlands to build the new deposit system. The Deposit of Netherlands Electronic Publications-implementation (DNEP-i) contract also includes applied research from IBM to develop new functionality for long-term preservation and access (work referred to as the “LTP study”). A major requirement of the KB was that the system should be compliant with the OAIS standard. The KB required the design of the system to be linked with the LTP study. IBM is developing the data model so that in the near future an operational LTP module can be fitted into to the system.

At the end of 2001, the first module for delivery and capture was made available. The system will be completed in October 2002.

The DNEP-i project aims to yield an OAIS-compliant operational deposit system and to test and demonstrate requirements for the future development of a long-term preservation module, which will need to be added to the deposit system.

This long-term preservation module will be needed to

  • identify digital objects in danger of becoming inaccessible because of technology changes;
  • implement preservation strategies to address these dangers, such as migration and emulation; and
  • supply the technical metadata needed to generate and validate the required viewing environments for digital objects during delivery.
Preservation Actions

The LTP study will involve six months of work over a one-year period and will cost 300,000 guilders (136,134 euros). Its objective is to investigate the functionality required for the long-term (that is, hundreds of years) preservation of the digital information stored in the DNEP. The study began in November 2000, with the start of the DNEP-i project. It aims to cover the following issues:

  • Implementation of Long-term Preservation. The initial DNEP system has a limited functionality for maintaining the technical data (hardware and software components) needed to render the stored digital objects. One of the main responsibilities of the LTP study is to define the functional requirements of the preservation subsystem not considered in the initial DNEP release. In the end, the preservation subsystem should maintain all the technical metadata needed to render the digital objects.
  • Universal Virtual Computer Proof of Concept. The preservation approach advocated by Raymond Lorie at the IBM Almaden Research Center, based on the use of a Universal Virtual Computer, is being refined and validated in the context of the KB.
  • Large Media Migration. Electronic deposit applications face specific problems while migrating information from one medium to another because of the high volume of data involved. The impact of these volume-specific requirements on the DNEP system has to be assessed.
  • Authenticity. A workable framework to define authenticity of digital objects is needed to evaluate the success of the preservation activities of any electronic deposit.

The KBM and IBM are jointly producing five LTP study reports (one report on the four issues just described and a general synthesis).

In addition to the work just described, the KB has engaged in the following initiatives:

  • The KB is participating as a test site in the final year extension of the Cedars Project (see section 3.3.4).
  • The KB undertook an experiment with the NEDLIB Web harvester to investigate the Dutch Web domain. It found that only 20 percent of sites were of interest to the KB and that a significant number of these were database driven.
  • The KB has undertaken research on workflows for electronic journals that are being implemented in the new system. It is also developing a new workflow for CD-ROMs that will be integrated into the new deposit system.

The KB has a national role in the public interest and therefore supports its activities with government funding. The KB believes its public service role is paramount and does not wish to adopt a commercial model. Fees for services are set only to recover costs.

Between 1998 and 2001, the KB received 3.2 million guilders (1.45 million euros) plus some research funding to prepare for the development of the new deposit system. Beginning in 2003, annual funding of 2.5 million guilders (1.14 million euros) will be available to support this activity.

The KB currently holds the Dutch imprint of the Elsevier group under a voluntary deposit arrangement, and it has been archiving a subset of Elsevier’s electronic journals for some years. It has agreed to archive a copy of all Elsevier’s electronic titles. This extension of the KB’s activities might need additional funding, depending on the range and nature of the services to be delivered. Economic models to support this work are under investigation. The KB would not wish to charge users other than for cost recovery of specific services. The KB is interested in funding models where such services are free to the user but paid for by the producer, who recovers the cost in product pricing. Examples of the application of this funding model in other areas include the models developed to support use of the digital object identifier (DOI) in publishing, or barcodes in retailing.

Most collaborative initiatives are not funded and must rely on matching contributions in staff time and other resources from the partners.

3.3.3 National and Institutional Initiatives

Digital Longevity (Digitale Duurzaamheid)

There are five projects within the government’s Digital Longevity Program, including a digital preservation research testbed (described in the next section) and a task force to support awareness raising and communication across government agencies. Other projects concern central government databases, record-keeping systems, and quality of records. The program is run by ICTU, an agency established to oversee the e-government program.

The KB is a member of the task force for the Digital Longevity Program. As part of the program, the National Archives has been discussing renting part of the storage space on the KB platform to provide interim storage for electronic records transferred from government departments.

Digital Preservation Testbed (Testbed Digitale Bewaring)

The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (the National Archives) established a three-year digital preservation testbed as part of the Digital Longevity Program. The project began in October 2000 and will conclude in September 2003. The testbed was preceded by a research study by Rothenberg and Bikson (1999). The digital preservation testbed is carrying out experiments according to defined research questions. It is researching three approaches to long-term digital preservation: migration, emulation, and XML. It is experimenting with text documents, spreadsheets, e-mail messages, and databases of different size, format, complexity, and nature. The effectiveness of each approach for different material is being evaluated, as are their limitations, costs, and application potential.

The following outcomes are expected:

  • advice on approaches for current digital records in government departments
  • recommendations for the best preservation approaches for specific circumstances
  • functional system requirements for preservation
  • cost models for different preservation approaches
  • preservation approach decision trees
  • recommendations for new legislation

The project has so far produced a research base. A list of relevant projects and a white paper on migration are available online.


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