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Subject: Report on trusted digital repositories

Report on trusted digital repositories

From: Robin L. Dale <robin_dale>
Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2002
RLG and OCLC have released a new report on long-term preservation of
and access to research materials in digital form.  "Trusted Digital
Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities" (
<URL:>) is available at
the RLG Web site.

This report is primarily intended for cultural institutions such as
libraries, archives, museums, and scholarly publishers and is
specifically aimed at those with traditional or legal
responsibilities for the preservation of cultural heritage. It is
written to aid senior administrators as well as those implementing
digital archiving services.

Following a short historical introduction, the report presents a
brief definition of "trusted digital repositories," provides some
examples of the circumstances in which institutions are undertaking
their creation, and speaks to the nature and achievement of trust.
It addresses the seven attributes such repositories must have and
discusses requisite responsibilities at both the higher
organizational/curatorial level and the operational level. Finally,
the report looks at how repositories can be certified and summarizes
seven key recommendations.

An appendix to the RLG-OCLC report provides technical overviews of
the "Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System"
(OAIS);--a common framework for describing and comparing
architectures and operations of digital archives. (Compliance with
this model is a defining attribute of a trusted digital repository.
In January 2002 RLG established an OAIS resources page and
discussion list at its Web site to assist implementers.) An
operational responsibilities checklist, a glossary, and selected
additional resources round out the report.

"Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities"
benefits from international discussion and excellent feedback on a
draft that RLG and OCLC released for community comment in August
2001. Stakeholders in the effort to preserve digital materials were
urged to contact RLG program officer Robin Dale with their comments
on the earlier "Attributes of a Trusted Digital Repository: Meeting
the Needs of Research Resources." Dale continues to welcome comments
and ideas on the final publication.

Colin Webb, director of the Preservation Services Branch of the
National Library of Australia, and a working group member, says:

   "Just how to ensure reliable access to digital information over
    the long term seems to raise questions from all directions. It's
    vital that we take the time and effort to focus on discrete sets
    of questions--such as what a trustworthy digital repository
    would look like and what it would do. In this way we lay down
    foundations for effective action. It's also very important that
    this report has been accomplished by an international,
    collaborative effort drawing on perspectives from a range of
    working environments, experiences, and agendas."

   "The completed report gives us a shared basis for further
    coordinated work with our members and other like-minded
    institutions," says Dale. "For example, RLG is particularly
    interested in the design and implementation of a certification
    program for trusted digital repositories. This will produce
    tools and guidance for institutions responsible for digital
    collections - whether they are creating their own repositories,
    working with publishers, or planning to contract for third-party

   "This report will be very useful to our members as they consider
    digitization and preservation issues," says Meg Bellinger, vice
    president, OCLC Digital and Preservation Resources. "It has
    distilled and confirmed some key concepts, and can serve as a
    guide for institutions addressing the digital archiving

The expert working group charged by RLG and OCLC to develop the
information and consensus embodied in the report comprised Neil
Beagrie, Joint Information Systems Committee (UK); Meg Bellinger,
OCLC Digital and Preservation Resources; Robin Dale, RLG; Marianne
Doerr, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek; Margaret Hedstrom, University of
Michigan; Anne Kenney, Cornell University; Maggie Jones, Cedars
Project (CURL Exemplars in Digital Archives, UK); Catherine
Lupovici, Bibliotheque national de France; Kelly Russell, Cedars
Project (CURL Exemplars in Digital Archives, UK); Colin Webb,
National Library of Australia; and Deborah Woodyard, British

Robin L. Dale
RLG Member Programs and Initiatives
1200 Villa Street
Mountain View, CA  94041-1100
Fax: 650.964.0943

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:76
                   Distributed: Friday, May 10, 2002
                       Message Id: cdl-15-76-009
Received on Tuesday, 7 May, 2002

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