Yale University Library

Digital Preservation Committee (DPC)

Meeting Notes prepared by Bobbie Pilette


Date:  August 28, 2006, 10:30a.m.


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

Absent:  Rebekah Irwin


Reviewed the attached document with David’s comments.  Most of the comments were accepted.


There was discussion on how to include the ‘administration/policy services’ in the description of the proposed program since this need to be made clear that this is not related to staff administration.  Audrey will work on that aspect without necessarily making it a listed service.


 There was some discussion over the use of ‘Center’ and what the implications were; that is, what the University means when the term ‘Center’ is used.  For the moment the decision is to go with the term ‘program’. 




·        Audrey:  rework the document including making reference to DPC policy Statement and explaining and defining Digital Curation Program.  

·        Bobbie:  add further information regarding the University of Michigan’s digital program.


Next Meeting for committee as a whole:

·        Thursday, August 31, 2006, HGS


Committee members’ meetings unable to attend through September:

·        Kevin:  Sep 11,18 (Out of office Sept 9-21)

·        Bobbie: August 31, Sept 7



Digital Preservation Committee

Developing the Administrative and Management Structure

Draft 17 August 2006


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 of these 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. Digital activities, however, 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 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. 


The University of Michigan in the past eighteen months has separated the digital activities from preservation activities.  The Preservation & Conservation Services (CPS) operations according to the web site “treat the book as a physical object: to prevent damage, to extend the book’s useable life, or to repair damage.”  Digital Conversion Services, the reformatting operation had been almost exclusively digital for a number of years, has become a part of the Digital Library Production Services (DLPS).   [I am not finding any information regarding digital preservation on their sites.  Anyone aware of what they are doing?] Digital preservation at the University of Michigan (not necessarily the Library) has taken the form of outsourcing to a commercial aggregator (google) and as a participant in the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) through the establishment of the DataPASS project (see this link)  http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/DATAPASS/.  “The goal is to ensure the long-term preservation of our holdings and of materials that we have not yet collected. We seek to acquire and preserve data at-risk of being lost to the research community, from opinion polls, voting records, large-scale surveys, and other social science studies.”             

Proposed Yale program

The Yale Digital Preservation Committee (DPC) is proposing a program that selects components of the above examples, considers Yale’s organizational structure, culture, other initiatives and programs 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.


Modeled after the Digital Production and Integration Program (DPIP) structure of shared responsibilities and staff strengths, DPC is proposing a similar organizational structure for the coordination and management of digital preservation at YUL.  The following functions share primary responsibility for the creation and administration of digital preservation services at Yale and constitute the core of this structure: (While the three services below are core to preservation they are insufficient to establish a trusted digital repository.  These services must be orchestrated and managed by an administrative function that Regean and Moore (2006) suggest can be automated.

·        Metadata services

·        Repository services

·        Preservation services

·        Administrative/Policy Services


The DPC proposes that existing staff within YUL and ITS technology partners with expertise in these areas be re-deployed to form this digital preservation core. We further recommend that the core represent 2 FTEs.


This model acknowledges the following state of digital preservation at YUL: 






The DPC further recommends that this core be conceived as a virtual Digital Curation Center. (At the University Administrative level Centers are a touchy word; I would suggest that we substitute “function” for Center. Also we should define what we mean by digital curation – “The Digital Curation Centre's current definition of the term is: Digital curation, broadly interpreted, is about maintaining and adding value to, a trusted

body of digital information for current and future use.”  Curation recognizes that technology changes always have the potential to revive or enhance the value of a digital object to a scholar. Therefore the digital curation function accounts for long term preservation of digital objects or resources;


Special collections and library departments (e.g., BRBL, MSS/A, Maps, Medical, Law, Divinity), DPIP, RaMP, galleries, museums and special projects are significant production units for the creation of digital resources through reformatting. Special collections and e-collections are significant acquisition units for born digital and acquired digital resources. These groups are major consumers of digital curation (is this the same as repository services; if not what are they?) services at all levels but do not have the responsibility to create and maintain these services. As major consumers they are also key stakeholders in the development of the Digital Curation Center and the implementation of individual digital curation projects.  The DPC recommends an initial, term limited, DCC Working Group be formed to participate in the establishment of the Center. Furthermore, on a recurring, work-driven basis, working groups will be created to address individual projects. (The more I think about this idea the more I grow concerned about the response that other stakeholders in YUL may have to the concept. While I support the concept of digital curation it implications to others may generate significant push back to this committee as going well beyond its scope.)


The following diagram illustrates the proposed structure:


Oval: DCC Working Group (1 yr?)