May 2014

Invitation to comment: New Edition of Digital Preservation Handbook

We are scoping and planning for a new edition of the online Digital Preservation Handbook and would be very grateful if you could contribute your needs and views to this work.

The Digital Preservation Handbook, written by Neil Beagrie and Maggie Jones, is hosted by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), which makes the Handbook freely available as an online resource. The Handbook provides an internationally authoritative and practical online guide that is heavily used for continuous professional development, for university students, and for training in digital preservation.

The National Archives is working together with other stakeholders including Jisc and the British Library, to support the Digital Preservation Coalition in updating and revamping the Handbook. It is anticipated that its revision will be modular and undertaken over a two year period. We request your input via a short online survey.

There are a maximum of 13 questions in total and the survey should take around 10 minutes of your time to complete.

The online questionnaire is accessible at: and the survey will close on Wednesday 16th June.

Thank you in advance for your participation. Your input will make a significant contribution to the scoping of this important online resource and the scheduling of modules for publication.

William Kilbride (Executive Director, Digital Preservation Coalition)

Neil Beagrie (lead author and editor)

New Publications: TNA Guidance and Case Studies on Cloud Storage and Digital Preservation

We are pleased to announce that The National Archives (TNA) has published our new guidance on Cloud Storage and Digital Preservation, with five accompanying case studies.

The Guidance and case studies have been created for TNA to address questions archivists have raised about digital preservation and cloud storage. The guidance is written by a Charles Beagrie team comprising of Neil Beagrie, Paul Miller, and Andrew Charlesworth.

The Guidance is now available to download here.

Of particular interest to many archivists will be the experience of our case studies, which are available as separate PDFs from the url above. These are as follows: Dorset History Centre, Parliamentary Archives, Tate Gallery, University of Oxford, and the Archives and Records Council Wales Digital Preservation Consortium.

To accompany the publication of the Guidance, we held a webinar for archivists on digital preservation and the cloud on 13May 2014, the recording of which will be accessible soon on TNA’s website. A further announcement will be made when that is available.

New ‘Preserving eBooks’ Technology Watch Report released to DPC members

Charles Beagrie Ltd and the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) are delighted to announce the release of a preview version to DPC members of “Preserving eBooks”, the latest in the series of DPC Technology Watch Reports.

Written by Amy Kirchhoff and Sheila Morrissey of Portico and published by the DPC in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd, this report discusses current developments and issues with which libraries, publishers, aggregators, and preservation institutions must contend to ensure long-term access to eBook content. These issues include legal questions about the use, reuse, sharing and preservation of eBook objects; format issues, including the sometimes tight coupling of eBook content with particular hardware platforms; the embedding of digital rights management artefacts in eBook files to restrict access to them; and the diverse business ecosystem of eBook publication, with its associated complexities of communities of use and, ultimately, expectations for preservation.

‘There are some serious preservation risks associated with the formats in which eBooks are created, explained the authors.  ‘This is particularly true for proprietary formats, and those tied to a commercial vendor’s hardware platform or distribution system.’

Although the report stands up on its own, it has strong connections to other reports in the series especially Preserving eJournals and Web Archiving, which were published last year.  In that sense it’s the third volume of an informal ‘Preserving e-Publications’ trilogy.

The report is available to DPC members now on the DPC website (login required) and will be released to the wider public in late June.

Work starting on a New Edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook

We are delighted to announce that The National Archives is working with the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), Charles Beagrie Ltd, Jisc and the British Library to update and revamp a key online resource for managing digital resources over time, the online edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook.

The Handbook authored by Neil Beagrie and Maggie Jones, was first published in 2001 in a print edition by the British Library with support from Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries (whose functions have subsequently transferred to The National Archives and the Arts Council)and Jisc. The online edition was launched in 2002 on the Digital Preservation Coalition website. It remains heavily used by archivists and other information professionals.

The National Archives and the Digital Preservation Coalition and ourselves will work with expert partners over the next two years to develop the new look Handbook as an interactive online resource.

‘I’m delighted to be working with The National Archives on this important project’, said William Kilbride of the DPC.  The original handbook remains very popular so we have been loathed to take it down, but we’ve been aware for a while that it was becoming increasingly out of date.  Our experience shows that there is a real demand for concise and practical advice on preservation so I am confident that this new edition will be immediately popular’.

The project to deliver the resource is a joint venture between The National Archives, the DPC and Neil Beagrie (Charles Beagrie Ltd), one of the original authors of the report, with further contributions from Jisc which was one of the initial co-funders and the British Library who published the original handbook.

‘I’m looking forward to starting this important revision’, said Neil Beagrie.  ‘It’s not just a few updates to the text: we will be basing the new handbook on an extensive process of consultation to make sure that the new edition measures up to people’s real and emerging need and, to make sure that it highlights good practice.  We aim to make sure it binds together other sources of advice (including the many excellent reports in the DPC Technology Watch series) and that it provides authoritative and concise advice for topics that are not supported by other resources.’

The online element will ensure the Handbook can be easily updated over time, incorporating case studies and a view from current practitioners to ensure it is relevant to a wide audience, from beginners to those with more specialist needs. We hope the Handbook will help individuals from a wide range of organisations adopt a step-by-step approach to addressing their digital resource management needs.