Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Economics and Engineering for Preserving Digital Content

By Dr. H.M. Gladney


The keynote address of ECDL 2007 suggests that progress towards practical long-term digital preservation is stalled. The current article responds by sketching how a modest software development team could implement and deploy a previously described conceptual solution, Trustworthy Digital Object (TDO) methodology, for the technical component of digital preservation. It emphasizes scholarly and cultural digital content, but could be extended to discuss bureaucratic records. Curators cannot afford unique technology, but must exploit marketplace offerings. Macro economic facts suggest shifting most preservation work from repository institutions to their users. Much of the software needed is available. It has, however, not yet been selected, adapted, integrated, or deployed for digital preservation. Our earlier articles describe conceptual solutions for all known challenges of preserving a single object, but do not deal with software development or collection scaling. We describe a practical strategy for detailed design and implementation of software to automate the clerical component of digital preservation. Tools for daily work can embed packaging for preservation without much burdening their users. Document handling is complicated by human sensitivity to communication nuances. Our engineering section therefore suggests how project managers can master the many pertinent details.

Topics: BH Technological obsolescence
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. 27 Tools for “Internet exploits” are widely publicized. For instance, see SANS
  2. (2004). 34 An exception is the BBC PrestoSpace project (
  3. (2004). 40 RDF Working Group, Resource Description Framework, doi
  4. (2007). 41 A digital object is sometimes called a “blob” (binary large object) to emphasize that its internal structure is irrelevant for the conversation of the moment.
  5. (2000). 63 A standard encoding can be used only if it will be durably intelligible. This might be true for JPEG
  6. (2001). 650.0-R-2, Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS), doi
  7. (2000). A standard encoding can be used only if it will be durably intelligible. This might be true for JPEG
  8. (2007). Archiving the Web: the mass preservation challenge,
  9. (2004). Authenticity Task Force, The Long-term Preservation of Authentic Electronic Records: Findings of the InterPARES Project, doi
  10. (2007). Characterizing with a Goal in Mind: The XCL approach,
  11. (2007). E-Infrastructure for Research: Final Report from the OSI Preservation and Curation Working Group,
  12. (2000). For instance, the DPC is too small to keep up with software engineers’ activities and ordinary citizens’ software uptake.36 The pace of information creation greatly exceeds repository 31
  13. (2007). However, nobody has published a persuasive argument that repositories can solve what this literature calls “the challenge.”
  14. (2002). Leonardo’s laptop: Human needs and the new computing technologies, doi
  15. (1976). Medieval Studies: An Introduction,
  16. Of course, how to accomplish this is different for digital documents than it is for paper documents.
  17. (2007). Perform or Perish, doi
  18. (2006). Shortcomings of the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS), doi
  19. The archival storage layer includes only very little code implementing LDP functionality. An exception might be its ingestion component, with logic for deciding whether submitted 6 67 7 See and a JSR 170 Overview
  20. (2002). The Church-Turing Thesis, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, doi
  21. (2005). The Development of a Digital Preservation Standard,
  22. (2007). The Expanding Universe: A Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2010, IDC White Paper,
  23. (2002). The Fifth Blackbird, D-Lib Magazine 14(3/4), March/April 2008. 30 Schwartz, Evan I., The Internet Time Lage:
  24. (2000). The pace of information creation greatly exceeds repository 3 31 1 In
  25. (2001). The Rise and Fall of Analytic Philosophy in Minding Matter and Other Essays in Philosophical Inquiry, Rowman & Littlefield,
  26. (2007). The Semantic Web in Action, doi
  27. (2007). Tibbo in a 15th Oct.
  28. (2007). typifies financial press articles.
  29. (2000). Walking the Web of Trust, doi
  30. (2003). What Do We Mean by Authentic? D-Lib Magazine 9(7), doi
  31. (2004). Working Group, Resource Description Framework, doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.