Yale University Library

Digital Preservation Committee (DPC)

Meeting Notes prepared by Bobbie Pilette


Date:  August 17, 2006, 1:00 p.m.


Present: Bobbie Pilette, Kevin Glick, Audrey Novak, Rebekah Irwin, David Gewirtz, E.C. Schroeder


Reviewed draft 3.1 of the Administrative plan.  Bobbie had incorporated suggestions and addressed some confusions as pointed out by Kevin.  This draft with the changes highlighted in yellow is attached to these notes.


Audrey had come up with a series of five talking points regarding the administration and/or where does digital preservation live.  Those are also attached to these notes.


Key points made and/or discussed:

ü      Audrey feels that it is important to bring in the preservation aspects as discussions and development of the digital repository begin.

ü      The digital repository is going to be cross departmental and have a wide range of stakeholders.

ü      The Fedora Preservation Group is identifying services that need to be in place to support preservation.  With Yale’s use of VITL we need to become active in the Fedora Preservation Group.

ü      We develop a virtual core digital curation group/center that would have has its core services:  Preservation [digital preservation planning], metadata, and repository services. 

ü      The virtual digital curation group/center is based on the DPIP model and functions similarly.  To do the work it is estimated to take 2FTE. 



·        Review Matthew Beacom’s email and the PREMIS metadata info for Monday’s meeting.  

·        Audrey will take admin draft 3.1 and her five talking points and blend them into an admin doc for further discussion.


Next Meeting for committee as a whole:

·        Monday, August 20, 2006


Committee members’ meetings unable to attend through September:

·        Kevin:  Sep 11,18

·        Bobbie: August 24, 31, Sept 7


Thoughts About

Functions with Significant Responsibility For

Digital Preservation at Yale University Library











Digital Preservation Committee

Developing the Digital Program



Digital preservation programs are still in their infancy in most research institutions.  Those that are further along the path of digital programs such as Cornell, Stanford, Harvard and University of Michigan are grappling with the preservation aspects of the digital objects whether born digital or reformatted from the analog.  All the above institutions started out with digital activities as part of preservation.  Presumably the logic was:  digital activities initially focused on reformatting and reformatting activities fell under the preservation umbrella.  Therefore it made practical sense to have preservation handle the digital activities.  However, digital activities have grown and deeper technical knowledge has been needed than many ‘traditional’ preservation departments had in order to meet the challenges of preserving digital objects.      


Over the last 3-5 years the above mentioned institutions digital programs have and continue to develop in two different directions. 

DLSS is the information technology production arm of the Stanford Libraries; it serves as the digitization, digital preservation and access systems provider for SULAIR; and it is the research and development unit for new technologies, standards and methodologies related to library systems.  http://library.stanford.edu/depts/dlss/about/index.htm

The DLSS is developing the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) that includes LOCKSS as well as other services. 

The SDR is designed to support the wide variety of digital information being created and used by Stanford communities engaged in learning, scholarship, and research. http://library.stanford.edu/depts/dlss/services/serdigpres.htm


The SULAIR Preservation Department is responsible for the preservation of paper-based materials.  While there is still a reformatting operation in the department it deals only with microfilm at this time.  Any item that is to be digitized is handled through the DLSS’s Media Preservation unit now a part of DLSS. 


However, the current head of the Preservation Department has recently left and there are discussions of emphasizing greater crossover with more preservation input in the development of policies and procedures, especially in the area of reformatting. 



Proposed Yale program

To a certain extent the examples above are extremes of how a digital program and the related digital preservation concerns may be organized and how a ‘traditional’ preservation program is or is not involved.  The Yale Digital Preservation Committee (DPC) is proposing a program that selects components of the above examples, considers Yale’s organizational structure and culture to create a program that fits our needs.  The Yale Digital Preservation Policy and in turn the digital preservation program “supports the preservation of digital resources within the Library’s collection.”  This includes not only analog materials converted by the Library to digital object(s) but the broad spectrum of digital objects existing only in a digital form that have been commercially purchased or produced within the University as well as those digital objects brought into the collections through gift or donation.  It is also a program that provides flexibility and will allow us to grow and change as the field of digital preservation continues to develop.


Building on the Digital Production and Integration Program (DPIP) structure of shared responsibilities and staff strengths, DPC is proposing that a position, Digital Preservation Librarian/Coordinator (DP Librarian), be established that would work across departments, units and function as a conduit or liaison.  The DP Librarian working with the DPIP members, and staff from RaMP, Conservation/Collections Care, E-Collections, Selectors/Curators, Cataloging, ITS and ILTS would constitute a virtual digital preservation department. 


Below are examples of where and how this position may interact or work with staff from the areas mentioned.  This does not attempt to outline completely the areas, staff or types of work that this position would take on.



Digitizing/scanning of materials is happening in locations across the Yale Library and the University.  Based on the DCAPS model, the DPIP goal is to identify and coordinate these dispersed activities.  In the Digital Preservation Policy the Digital Preservation Principle Statement states in part:

…Digital preservation decisions are made on the basis of this Policy, the Library's Strategic Plan, the digital resources’ enduring value and the feasibility of the digital resources’ preservation. When possible, decisions about the need for preservation are made at the time of creation, acquisition, or licensing of digital resources. (emphasis added)


Working with DPIP Core, it is the DP Librarian’s responsibility to ensure that any party proposing a project consider whether or not preservation of the digital object is a part of the project. the DP Librarian should advocate digital preservation for every digital project.  However, it is the responsibility of the party proposing and carrying out the project to create collections that are capable of being preserved with the DP Librarian providing the guidance to do so.  If preservation is to be a part of any given project, it is the DP Librarian’s responsibility to guide and/or provide to the party carrying out the project the necessary information, procedures, file format information, etc that will enable ingest, data management, access and administration of the digital objects in the digital preservation repository.



The Preservation Department’s RaMP unit is moving into digital (already true for audio and visual media) as a preservation reformatting option.  With its long history of reformatting there are key areas of expertise that can be offered to DPIP and to the DP Librarian.  RaMP brings to digitization a thorough knowledge of workflow and vendor relations.  In the area of vendor relations RaMP has developed a list of trusted vendors for microfilm and is developing a similar list for scanning of text, and conversion of audio/visual media. Workflow issues for information capture issues are similar regardless of format (Appendix A). 


At its most basic this relationship will provide the DP Librarian with a list of trusted outside vendors and established workflows. The RaMP staff will be able to work with the DP Librarian in making sure that file formats and metadata are appropriate for preserving the digital object.


Conservation/Collections Care

In the scanning of paper based materials whether books, drawings or manuscripts the Conservation Lab and/or Collections Care operation should be consulted in the handling of materials.  These units may prepare the analog object for scanning through cleaning and/or repair so as to present the ‘best face’ or perhaps to assist with disbanding or actual handling to allow for the best capture and the least damage to the physical object.  This can be done through helping with special cradles to hold objects and instructions to camera operators.  Consultation with appropriate treatment staff when planning a project can save objects, time and result in better scanned images.


With the DP Librarian involved early on with projects s/he will be able to alert project planners when it appropriate to involve Conservation/Collections Care in repair/preparation of materials and/or actual handling of materials during the information capture process.



[e-collections would act as an intermediary between collectors and the DPL.  They would be asked to implement preservation planning policies, etc]



[metadata  who creates descriptive metadata and develops applications to collect and/or extract the technical and contextual metadata necessary for long term preservation]



The preservation of digital objects would be within the realm of the ILTS and the University’s ITS.  ITS and ILTS would take on data management and archival storage and contribute their knowledge to ingest and general administration of preserving digital objects. 


The DP Librarian would be responsible for digital preservation planning but would coordinate relevant associated activities with ITS and ILTS, examples of such activities are: ingest, setting and updating standards, and deciding what reports are needed when.


The DP Librarian digital preservation planning would include monitoring technology not only for technical obsolescence but also for user expectations.   Frequently users have identified new ways to use information but that use is constrained by the current technology. 


The Yale Digital Preservation Program (DPP)

The DP Librarian/Coordinator position would act as the nexus of all digital preservation activities and give the program a ‘face’, single person, who may not have all the answers but is responsible for finding the people and departments who may be able to provide the needed answers.  Appendix B is a graphic depiction of how wide ranging the interactions and issues are for preserving digital objects.


Appendix A


The table below highlights the parts of any reformatting project for information capture processes.  The steps are very similar regardless of whether it is analog or digital:





selection of materials

working with selectors and curators

working with selectors and curators; DPIP Consulting Services

making sure the materials are in condition to provide the best information capture possible

Working with preservation staff and selectors

Working with preservation staff and selectors

establishing specifications for handling of materials

working with preservation staff

working with preservation staff; DPIP Digital Production

prepping the material for information capture

working with technicians who collate

working with technicians who collate, inspect and/or Intellectual Property experts; DPIP Digital Production

assisting with selection of vendor [writing/vetting RFPs or contracts] for information capture

Following RLG guidelines for microfilm; and best practices as outlined by xxxx for audio and moving image

working with ILTS and technical experts on standards and best practices; following digital preservation guidelines; DPIP Digital Production

appropriate care of original after information capture

Selectors and conservators

Selectors and conservators

QC of information capture

Appropriately trained technical staff

Appropriately trained technical staff; DPIP Digital Production

cataloging/metadata for original and surrogate

Working with catalogers

working with the metadata specialist and catalogers; DPIP Digital Production

proper ‘housing’ of surrogate

Preservation staff

working with ILTS and technical specialists; DPIP Digital Production


Appendix B



Below is a schema reflecting the initial relationships.  Solid black lines          indicate direct reports, solid blue lines            indicate interaction; solid red line           indicates a partnership: