July 2013

Public Release of New ‘Preserving Computer Aided Design (CAD)’ DPC Technology Watch Report

Charles Beagrie Ltd and The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) are delighted to announce the public release of  the latest in the series of topical Technology Watch Reports, Preserving Computer-Aided Design (CAD). Written by Alex Ball, and published electronically, this report provides a comprehensive overview of the development of CAD technologies, the threat caused by its own innovative application and its vendors’ drive to add ever more features which can render valuable and strategically vital information unusable.

A specialist in digital curation at the Digital Curation Centre and UKOLN at the University of Bath, Alex writes ‘CAD is an area of constant innovation…, resulting in CAD systems that are ephemeral and largely incompatible with each other.’ The report examines the key standards, techniques and technologies developed in an attempt to slow the seemingly inevitable obsolescence associated with native CAD formats.

Having outlined some of the critical issues surrounding CAD preservation, as well as some of the potential solutions, Alex reminds us that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to the problem. He urges anyone with an interest in the long term viability of CAD data to ‘consider an advocacy programme which raises awareness of the importance of standard formats and high quality format migration,’ with a view to providing greater interoperability and better support for CAD users.

Dr Ray Moore of the Archaeological Data Service (ADS) explains that ‘within archaeological practice CAD continues to play an important role, and this report provides useful background information that augments the recently updated Guides to Good Practice produced by ADS and Digital Antiquity.’ He elaborates, stating that ‘the report proves a useful starting point for those wishing to understand and develop preservation strategies and compliments subject specific guidelines.’

UK Principal Technical Expert in long term preservation for the aerospace sector, Sean Barker goes further, calling the report ‘compulsory reading for anyone with CAD data that they expect to last more than ten years.’

The report is primarily aimed at those responsible for managing repositories with CAD content, but will also appeal to creators of CAD content who want to make their models more amenable to preservation.

The report is published by the DPC in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd  and with Neil Beagrie as Principal Investigator and managing editor of the series.

Read Alex Ball’s report ‘Preserving Computer-Aided Design (CAD)’ by downloading from the DPC website now: http://dx.doi.org/10.7207/twr13-02

Public Release of New ‘Preservation Metadata (Second Edition)’ DPC Technology Watch Report

Charles Beagrie Ltd and the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) are delighted to announce the public release of the latest study in the series of topical Technology Watch Reports. The second edition of ‘Preservation Metadata,’ written by Brian Lavoie and Richard Gartner, focuses on new developments in preservation metadata, since the first edition of the report (published Sept 2005), made possible by the emergence of PREMIS as a de facto international standard.

Specialists in the field of electronic information provision for digital preservation at OCLC Research and the Centre for e-Research at Kings College London, Brian and Richard pick up from the first edition of the report, reminding us ‘it is no exaggeration to assert that preservation metadata, and the PREMIS Data Dictionary in particular, have become part of best practice underpinning responsible long-term stewardship of digital materials.’

The report goes on to outline key implementation topics that have emerged since the publication of the PREMIS Data Dictionary, including community outreach, packaging, tools, PREMIS implementations in digital preservation systems and implementation resources.

Neil Beagrie, Director of Charles Beagrie Ltd and Managing Editor of the DPC Technology Watch Reports praises the new edition, noting that it “is a deservedly popular report first published in 2005 …extensively updated to reflect developments over the past eight years in preservation metadata practice.”

Adrian Brown, Director of the Parliamentary Archives concurs, calling it ‘an excellent report, clearly and accessibly written, neutral, thorough, and fulfilling the brief. It is likely to be of interest to the DPC membership, and also to a much wider audience.’

The report will be well received by digital preservation practitioners interested in learning about the key developments in preservation metadata, especially as these developments concern the PREMIS Data Dictionary; and will appeal to anyone seeking to learn more about the general topic of preservation metadata.

The not-for-profit DPC is an advocate and catalyst for digital preservation. The coalition ensures its members can continue to deliver resilient long-term access to digital content and services through knowledge exchange, capacity building, assurance, advocacy and partnership. Its primary objective is raising awareness of the importance of the preservation of digital material and the attendant strategic, cultural and technological issues. The DPC Technology Watch Reports support this objective through an advanced introduction to topics that have a major bearing on its vision to ‘make our digital memory accessible today.

The second edition of ‘Preservation Metadata’ is the latest in the state of the art Technology Watch Reports that give an advanced introduction to ensuring that high-value and vulnerable digital resources can be managed beyond the limits of technological obsolescence.

Read Brian Lavoie and Richard Gartner’s report ‘Preservation Metadata’ by downloading from the DPC website at: http://dx.doi.org/10.7207/twr13-03