The second day of the Digital Preservation Training Programme (DPTP) was homework day. Delegates had prepared short presentations about a wide variety of digital preservation (DP) tools. With delegates being given a tool each on day one, we were able to cover 23 tools. Day two also saw us continuing to explore the OAIS model and also to look at rights management – the legal part of DP which often requires management of all kinds of rights in connection to the rights of both producers of content.
Fortunately, no dogs ate any homework, and we had a lively session learning about DP tools. Tools are not just technical systems or applications. At their most basic level, they are anything that help with the task of digital preservation, such as models like OAIS as well as more obvious applications that help with check sums and other DP tasks. There is even a board game, to help ease the pain of meticulous DP planning! The session started with ‘pin the tool on the OAIS model’, where delegates used post-it notes to show where exactly the tools they had researched would best fit in. It was great to hear the feedback from individual delegates who had assessed their tools in great detail. Some useful guidelines grew out of the session which could be applied to any DP tool you might consider using.
Our collective top five guiding questions were –
- How much does the tool cost?
- If there is a cost, is this a one-off payment or does it involve regular renewal payments?
- Is the tool active and in use, with an active user community around it? (particularly important for free tools)
- Would the tool save time and/or money?
- Would this tool be compatible with existing systems being used?
On the legal front, we looked into rights management both as a requirement and how it can be slotted in to the OAIS model at various stages. Rights management can be seen as restrictive, but for sensitive and confidential content, good handling of the rights of both the people who own and produced the original material (the producers) and the people who access and use the digitised material (the consumers) can mean the difference between making nothing accessible or making 90% of the material accessible.
We also considered the current UK law as applied to making digital copies for preservation purposes, and how restrictive the law is for anyone working in digital preservation. Fighting the law could be a little extreme, but people working in areas of DP, whether based in libraries, archives or records management need to be aware that the current situation is not an ideal on in which to be be working. In his ‘Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property & Growth’, Professor Ian Hargreaves reviews the current state of IPR in the digital world and makes a number of suggestions that would properly support copying for DP purposes. We might not actually be fighting the law, but we need to make our voices heard on this topic. And perhaps we can help the law, as applied to digital preservation, win.