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DigiCULT 61
and prototypes at the European level'. Given a com-
mitment on the European level based on such a mas-
terplan, `the actuality should be developed over the
ensuing five years: say 2006-2011'.
Technologies for persistent and perpetual
availability of digital heritage resources
Hilde Van Wijngaarden (Digital Preservation Offic-
er, National Library of the Netherlands) gave a concise
summary of the general state-of-play in technolog-
ical and organisational requirements for the long-
term preservation of digital heritage resources. She
described this as follows: `Recent years have seen
growing awareness and activity in the area of digit-
al preservation of cultural heritage. Secure storage has
been the first issue to have been addressed, permanent
access issues have now emerged as the focus of atten-
tion. Looking at the work that has been done, espe-
cially during the last two years, a lot can be achieved
over the next 10-15 years.'
Wijngaarden summarised the overall technologi-
cal challenge as `developing tools that can carry digital
artefacts through time without damaging their authen-
ticity on the one hand and facilitating user access on
the other'. With respect to the organisational dimen-
sion, she called for the setting up of `cross-sectoral
co-operation (data-institutes, commercial companies
and the cultural heritage sector have to work togeth-
er) with distributed services and shared knowledge
and tools.' Wijngaarden added, highlighting the need
to proceed on the organisational level: `Both techni-
cal and organisational aspects can advance enormous-
ly during the next 10 years. This is because most of
the knowledge is there, so we can advance to the next
step of developing and setting up the organisational
structures.' In particular, such structures would `need to
cross the boundaries of the cultural heritage sector to
work.... When the CH sector can work together with
technical sciences, major steps forward can be taken.'
While emphasising organisational issues, Wijn-
gaarden also summarised the major RTD challeng-
es for the next ten or more years. These included: `An
urgent step is the development of working tools and
worked out procedures for permanent access to dig-
ital objects. Migration/conversion has to be tested
and evaluated and emulation has to receive the atten-
tion it deserves to develop a working tool for the
future. Emulation can offer a solution for maintaining
the accessibility to complex digital objects but never
has been developed yet for preservation purposes (the
National Library and National Archives of the Neth-
erlands will start a project beginning of 2005).' Given
the necessary funding and willingness of technolo-
gy partners (commercial and scientific), Wijngaarden
expected the development of the aforementioned tools
and the setting up of cross-sectoral cooperation in the
years 2005-2010, and the implementation of power-
ful distributed preservation services in 2005-2015. She
added, `the next few years are crucial and a lot can be
Gavan McCarthy (Director, Australian Science and
Technology Heritage Centre, University of Mel-
bourne) stated that this theme addressed `the long
term problem and one that has been a thorn in the
side of the digital world'. He considered a gener-
al understanding of `persistent identity management
and open network citability' as two essential require-
ments to start with, `but looking further ahead we will
need greater computing and processing power and the
ability to share the processing load in a grid environ-
ment'. McCarthy thought that the required easy shar-
ing of data and processing resources would demand a
re-thinking of established process and business models.
Therefore, as a major step ahead, which should hap-
pen in the next few years [2005-2008], he suggested
`a general change in thinking and the tapping into the
science processing grids for access to computer storage
and processing power'.
George Abbott (Director, Library Media Services
Department, Syracuse University Library, USA) con-
sidered the following as worthwhile RTD aims in
the area of digital preservation and perpetual access:
`Exploration into the development of self-replicat-
ing systems. Through the use of such standard prac-
tices as routine backups of digital data on servers and
others online (as opposed to offline) storage systems
applications can be developed to automatically migrate
data to benefit from technological development. The
development of applications to perform unattend-
ed reformatting with built in automatic controls for
maintaining and/or improving the quality and func-
tionality of the original.'
As some current RTD limitations or gaps towards
achieving this, Abbott mentioned `maintaining acces-
sibility across a number of platforms for access. Need
for more open source applications. The design of
many web pages today is optimized for specific brows-
ers making migration and long-term preservation
more difficult.' Regarding digital migration he saw no
major steps or breakthroughs in RTD needed: `Most
of the major steps are human resources related, pro-
viding support and the work force to accomplish the
migration. The research breakthroughs revolve around
some sort of automated reformatting and preservation
ideally preserving all steps in the reformatting proc-
ess. Dedicated centers should be developed devoted to
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