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:

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