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DRAMBORA at ULCC

A DRAMBORA workshop took place at ULCC yesterday. DRAMBORA (http://www.repositoryaudit.eu/) was developed jointly by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) and DigitalPreservationEurope (DPE). DRAMBORA stands for Digital Repository Audit Method Based on Risk Assessment and according to their website it ‘represents the main intellectual outcome of a period of pilot repository audits undertaken by the DCC throughout 2006 and 2007. It presents a methodology for self-assessment, encouraging organisations to establish a comprehensive self-awareness of their objectives, activities and assets before identifying, assessing and managing the risks implicit within their organisation.’ Andrew McHugh and Perla Innocenti from the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute in Glasgow (HATII) came down from Glasgow to deliver the workshop.

Within DRAMBORA, digital curation is characterised as a risk-management activity; the job of digital curator is to understand the uncertainties and threats that may make things difficult to maintain digital object authenticity and understandability, transforming them into manageable risks. There are six stages to the DRAMBORA risk assessment process. The first stages requires the curator to develop an organisational profile, describing and documenting the repository’s mandate, objectives, activities and assets. Latterly, risks are derived from each of these, and assessed in terms of their likelihood and potential impact. Finally, curators are encouraged to think of appropriate risk management responses to the identified risk.

The process enables effective resource allocation, enabling repository administrators to identify and categorise the areas where shortcomings are most evident or have the greatest potential for disruption. The process itself is an iterative one and therefore subsequent recursions will evaluate the effectiveness of prior risk management implementations.

Issues that arose for us included using DRAMBORA for hybrid archives (ie those that hold both analogue and digital collections) as well as assessing the value of DRAMBORA process in light of how much time it could take to complete. It is clear that this process must be a collaborative one within an institution and requires much in-depth knowledge of an organization but it gives the curator(s) a feeling of control and a broad assessment of its situation which can only lead to an effective digital preservation management policy.

One thought on “DRAMBORA at ULCC”

  1. I found the workshop provided a useful hands-on insight into DRAMBORA’s ability to foster greater self-awareness of a repository’s strengths and weaknesses. I think that once we’ve inputted all the underlying organisational/risk information, the tool will help to encourage ongoing reflection and improvement as a result. It was made clear that DRAMBORA is NOT a certifying tool (it’s NOT about ‘pass or fail’) nor an OAIS compliance toolkit – it’s about self-awareness and it’s YOU (as an organisation) that sets the benchmark. The interactive methodology contains some helpful practical examples at each stage (based on the experiences/input of related organisations who have identified common functions and risks) and also useful help pages along the way. I was impressed that as well as being able to save current snapshots of the risk information that you’ve entered, the tool also allows you to automatically print out a risk register based on the information inputted. The DCC and DPE are keen to receive further feedback from the digital preservation community in order to make this as effective a tool as possible.

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