background image
DigiCULT
.
Info
35
W
hile the strategy highlights and
presents many digital preservation
issues, it does not include intense analysis of
the topics. This tends to be performed by
the projects it supports. These projects are
often very valuable to the digital preserva-
tion community and produce both practical
and theoretical outputs that can be further
developed. The strategy not only provides
a base from which JISC can propose fund-
ing and projects, but also a starting point
from which UK institutions can develop
ideas. JISC is promoting higher education
research and supporting best practice prod-
ucts. In this respect, this strategy will help
JISC develop a community and assist it in
realising its goals.
NLNZ PRESERVATION METADATA
EXTRACT TOOL
T
he Preservation Metadata Extract Tool
is the latest release in the National
Library of New Zealand's digital preser-
vation strategy. The tool `programmati-
cally extracts preservation metadata from
the headers of a range of file formats'39
and shows that technical metadata can be
extracted automatically and separately from
semantic metadata. Metadata informa-
tion is collected according to the NLNZ
Preservation Metadata schema; however, it
is possible to add further schema options.
Although NLNZ is distributing the tool,
there seems to be little publicly availa-
ble documentation describing its underly-
ing design in detail. The project team will
have raised and answered many practical
questions and the development and imple-
mentation cycle is of interest. Although
time consuming to produce and release,
it is likely that this information will be
beneficial to the digital preservation
community.
A
lso of interest is the recent announce-
ment of the Open Source jHove
application (http://hul.harvard.edu/jhove/
jhove.html). Like the NLNZ tool, jHove
extracts technical information regarding
a set of file formats. The benefits of the
open-source paradigm along with the over-
lapping fields of work may result in a strong
developmental model.
T
he National Library of New Zealand
has a clear direction in which it is
heading. Its metadata schema is very clear-
ly defined and aimed at the Library's insti-
tutional needs. This tool builds upon the
metadata schema and highlights NLNZ's
advance into preserving its digital heritage.
WELLCOME LIBRARY/JISC WEB
ARCHIVING PROJECT
40
I
n March 2002, the Wellcome Library and
JISC commissioned a feasibility study
into Web archiving, intended to analyse
the challenges presented by current tech-
nologies and provide a set of recommen-
dations for how these may be approached.
The study consists of two reports, investi-
gating the technical and legal problems pre-
sented. Although little practical work was
performed, the report evaluated a variety of
Web archiving initiatives and provides both
an introduction and an in-depth look at the
issues discovered.
T
he value of evaluative reports such as
these should not be overlooked. Using
these documents, institutions will have a
greater understanding of how to generate
practical Web archiving solutions, and be
aware of organisations to contact for further
research. The small scale of the project but
wide audience for the results highlights the
benefit that can be obtained by performing
clear, well-directed evaluative work when a
gap in a subject area is perceived.
THE CAMILEON PROJECT
C
AMiLEON (http://www.si.umich.
edu/CAMILEON/), a partnership
between Michigan and Leeds universities,
ran from October 1999 to late 2003. The
group successfully developed and evaluated
a variety of digital preservation strategies.
A number of high-profile applications were
produced alongside a selection of respect-
ed publications. In particular, the work
on the BBC Domesday project received
much press attention41 and their innova-
tive Migration on Request concept remains
under much discussion among the digital
preservation community.
T
he work performed is of direct
benefit to the UK: the team has
raised the profile of the digital preserva-
tion community here and has provided
the foundation for a number of areas in
which further development can proceed.
Migration, emulation, programming prac-
tice, and the OAIS model have all been
discussed and evaluated. CAMiLEON was
not only limited to theoretical work. The
Domesday project overcame both hard-
ware and software problems, proving a
large emulation project was feasible, while
the Migration on Request vector graphic
prototype successfully proved the feasibil-
ity of the Migration on Request concept.
Importantly, the source code for this was
released together with extensive docu-
mentation. With a relatively small team,
CAMiLEON has given leadership, attract-
ed public attention, advanced both theory
and practice, and highlighted many of
the issues involved in digital preservation
today.
WHO DESERVES TO WIN?
T
he successful applicant should serve
as a good example to the rest of the
community. This is difficult to determine as
39 See http://www.natlib.govt.nz/files/Project
Description_v3-final.pdf.
40 http://www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=project_
webarchiving
41 An interview with Paul Wheatley of the CAMiLEON
project appears in Issue 4 of DigiCULT.Info and is available
from http://www.digicult.info/pages/newsletter.php.