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Digital Preservation

A key strategic priority for Archives Records Council Wales (ARCW) for a number of years has been how its members are going to cope with the challenge of digital preservation.  Survey work was undertaken which revealed that in most cases there were no measures in place and no idea of the best direction to take for what was commonly accepted as a major challenge.

To determine a practical and realistic way to proceed ARCW developed a business case in 2010.  The project objectives defined in this business case were largely based on the Open Archive Information System (OAIS) reference model but crucially also included the objective that the solution could be adopted by all members of ARCW regardless of size. The conclusion of the business case, further reinforced by the current financial climate, was that the best way to progress was by establishing a consortium working as a Community of the Willing. The business case also stressed the need to raise the level of skills, and lower the level of fear, by adopting a practical approach where people could start to actually handle digital objects and learn by doing.

All organisations that are a part of ARCW were invited to join the consortium, to nominate a representative, outline the resources they could allocate (largely in staff time) and any particular digital preservation issues they faced.

The consortium has been supported by grants from CyMAL which have enabled a temporary project officer to be employed. One of his first tasks was the evaluation of open source tools which could be used to carry out the OAIS processes.  After looking at numerous systems a decision was taken to adopt Archivematica for use by all consortium members.