I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want!

Today, I’m multitasking writing a blog post for my external audience and conducting system tests for my internal audience (more on that another day!), whilst making random notes that will hopefully help me develop workflow documentation later (also worthy of a blog post another day). So in all a pretty fun and active day!

So what am I blogging about today? Well my journey to the development of a digital strong room has led me to ask the question…what do we want of a digital preservation system (one that will ingest and manage digital content)?

The best way I found to answer that is firstly to understand the institutional drivers for preserving digital content, the scope of what it will manage, the departmental and wider organisational strategic goals, the departmental objectives for managing digital assets and what the users needs are. Edinburgh University has a wealth of information on that score freely available on its website so it didn’t take much digging to source that, but I also used the brief I developed for the project as well as the policy I’ve drafted, which you can read about in an earlier blog post.

Given one of our ultimate goals is to pursue trusted digital accreditation through the EU framework it was of course important to take the assessment criteria for the various accreditation levels on board when making our list of needs and wants. For this I used the ISO 14721:2012 OAIS magenta book, and the ISO 16363 Self Assessment template spreadsheet. I also reviewed the PREMIS Data Dictionary and made decisions on the level of preservation metadata I felt were appropriate to capture for our needs. Armed with a mountain of information I was able to distil from that a constructive list of what I wanted a preservation system to do. But I didn’t stop there, oh no! Being a bit of a realist I know that there’s no way one, or indeed any, technical solution is going to satisfy all my needs in one fell swoop. To that end it was important to begin to classify the essential and desirable criteria. This I achieved by assessing each criteria based on practicality, applicability to preservation function, likelihood that the criteria would be best achieved through alternate processes or systems and relevance. This gave me a healthy 48 essential and 19 desirable criteria. I think that’s more than enough to be getting on with, don’t you!

Stay tuned for my assessment of Archivematica!


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