Digital Preservation Projects

Current Projects:
  • PapersPast: A Current Digital Library of New Zealand that consists of newspapers and periodicals from 1839 to 1945.
  • The Internet Archive: Founded in 1996 by Brewster Kahle, which provides resources in many forms of digital media, like audio books and poetry collections.
  • The Wayback Machine is a free internet service that allows users to see archived versions of Web pages over time.
  • The British Library provides many new projects that concentrate on the preservation of digital materials. 
1.    LIFE2: Lifecycle Information for E-Literature is a digitization project, from March 2007 to August 2008, which has developed a methodology to model the digital life cycle and calculate the costs of preserving digital information.


2.    Mellon Foundation: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has given a grant of $695,000 to the British Library in order to fund two projects, including the use of compounds given off by old books to measure the life of the book.


3.   Planets: Preservation and Long-term Access through NETworked Services is a four-year project, which began in 2006 to create sustainable framework to enable long-term preservation of digital content.


 4.    PRESERV: A project conducted by Southampton University, the National Archives, the British Library and Oxford University that covers repository preservation interoperability.


PAST Projects of the British Library
  • Raman Microscopy Research
  • Sepia 2: Safeguarding European Photographic Images for Access
  • Ancient colorants and dyes
  • Archival leather research
  • Deacidification
  • Digital Athenaeum
  • Survey on Conservation of Asian Documents
  • Drying water-damaged books
All past projects of the British Library can be found at http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/stratpolprog/ccare/projects/pastprojects/index.html

Domesday Book: Project Failure
The domesday book project began in 1986, which commemorated the 900th anniversary of the Domesday book.  The project was conducted by BBC in London and asked people across the nation to submit information and images into a database that would record how Britain looked in 1986.  There were over a million submissions to the project.  However, the creators did not anticipate the cost of the laser disks the information was stored on and within only a few years the system was obsolete.  The project then failed to progress and sat vacant until 1999. The Anglo-American University project began to reevaluate the Domesday project and created an emulator to access the information stored on the disks.  The team, CAMiLEON, created an emulator that allows the Domesday information to be seen on a modern computer.
More information regarding this project can be found on the CAMiLEON website:

Current Digital Preservation Projects of the Library of Congress
The library of congress has created an initiative to preserve state government information.  Four leading projects work with 35 states to collect and preserve governmental information for the long-term.  

Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
Creating an automated information network that collects records, like digital publications, agency records and various court records from multiple states.
Minnesota Historical Society
Exploring better access to legislative digital records from many different states.

North Carolina Center for Geographic Information and Analysis
Concentrate on geospatial content that is at-risk or temporally significant.   This project is also joined by Kentucky and Utah.

Washington State Archives
Creating a centralized regional repository for state and local digital information.  This project is joined by Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana California and Louisiana.

Digital Preservation Strategies
  1. Printing to paper or microfilm: Not used for long-term preservation.
  2. Preserving hardware and software in museums and archives: Not used for long-term preservation.
  3. Duplicating content far and wide: The use of LOCKSS, open source software to allow for copies of materials to be made.  Also the use of a networked system that automatically checks if all copies are the same.
  4. Emulating hardware and software:  Used in the Domesday Project resurrection, but this conversion is a kind of translation, which causes loss of data features.
  5. Migrating systems to newer versions: Migration is cheaper than emulation.

    Migration VS. Emulation

    The methods of migration and emulation are the most often used preservation strategies of digital materials.  However, each method has its advantages and disadvantages.  According to the article Digital Preservation: Problems and Prospects, by Margaret Hedstrom from University of Michigan, the method of migration involves two criticisms, which involves the transformation of the original byte stream and standard issues.  The transformation of the original byte stream may involve the loss of important information, which, according to Hedstrom involves the difficulty of the reuse of the preserved object. Hedstrom also discusses the migration process and the use of standards through potential customization that may involve an analysis of the source file format, a selection of a target file format and a conversion.  Hedstrom also provides a discussion of the method of emulation.  Hedstrom specifies that emulation is difficult in the sense that emulators are written for obsolete systems without any framework for emulator specifications.

    Hedstrom, M. (n.d.) Digital preservation: problems and prospects. Retrieved From http://www.dl.slis.tsukuba.ac.jp/DLjournal/No_20/1-hedstrom/1-hedstrom.html

    Case Studies: Migration and Emulation

    A case study provided by The International Journal of Digital Curation by Jeffrey van de Hoeven from the National Library of the Netherlands, Bram Lhman from the Tessella support services of the United Kingdom and Remco Verdegem from the national Archief of the Netherlands.  This case study evaluates the emulation process and its value to the process of digital preservation. 

    The case study resulted in a new emulation strategy called modular emulation, "emulation of a hardware environment by emulating the components of the hardware architecture as individual emulators and interconnecting them in order to create a full emulation process" (Hoeven, Lhman and Verdegem, 2007, p. 125-126).  Emulating hardware, as suggested by this study, provides the original software to be retained.  There are five elements involved with the modular emulation strategy, which are Universal Virtual Machine, modular emulator, component library, controller and emulator specification document (Hoeven, Lhman and Verdegem, 2007, p. 127).  This version of the modular emulator, called Dioscuri, was released as open source softwares (Hoeven, Lhman and Verdegem, 2007, p.129). 

    They tested Dioscuri and each operating system they used was able to function correctly, which included WordPerfect 5.1, DrawPerfect 1.1, and older computer games (Hoeven, Lhman and Verdegem, 2007, p. 129-130).  In conclusion, the Dioscuri modular emulator was successful.  This process provides transferability to a variety of computer platforms and allows full function of applications that are emulated.  Dioscuri is now apart of the European project Planets that is studying the services and tools necessary to ensure long-term preservation of digital materials (Hoeven, Lhman and Verdegem, 2007, p. 131).

    Hoeven, J., Lohman. B. & Verdegem, R. (2007) Emulation for digital preservation in practice: the results.  The international journal of digital curation. Issue 2 Vol 2.  From http://www.ijdc.net/index.php/ijdc/article/viewFile/50/35


    This case study focuses on software principles from the CAMiLEON project to apply a new migration approach called "Migration on Request" (Mellor, Wheatley and Sergeant 2002).  "Migration on Request shifts the burden of preservation onto a single tool, which is maintained over time. Always returning to the original format enables potential errors to be significantly reduced" (Mellor, Wheatley and Sergeant 2002).  This approach allows the original to be archived and provides modules to be added to the migration tool to be able to create newer data formats as older formats become obsolete (Mellor, Wheatley and Sergeant 2002). 

    "Migration on Request" provides migration accuracy, materials preserved in original form, provides reversible migration at a low cost and as a simpler process, more room for preservation and implementing codes for interpretation only once (Mellor, Wheatley and Sergeant 2002).  For testing this theory, they used a few graphic formats to migrate, which provided successful importation, exportation and transference of these formats (Mellor, Wheatley and Sergeant 2002). 

    In conclusion, the "Migration on Request" approach offers successful preservation because it only deals with the preservation of the original bytestream, which allows this program to run with emulation processes.

    Mellor, P., Wheatley, P. & Sergeant, D. (2002) Migration on request, a practical techniques for preservation. In: Goos, G., Hartmanis, J. and van Leeuwen, J. (eds) Research and advanced Technology for Digital libraries: 6th European Conference, ECDL 2002 Rome, Italy, September 16-18, 2002 Proceedings. From http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/3757/1/wheatleyp1_MigrationOnRequest.pdf
Jennifer Tully