Roughly weekly/monthly news and opinions from the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Head of Research and Practice, Paul Wheatley. Opinions are the opinions of Paul and those featured. Not the DPC. They’re just opinions, ok?

Let’s kick off with Jen’s write up of this autumn’s PASIG in NYC:

We helped establish a new task force on email preservation:

A highlight from our current DPC webinar series:

Project wrap up for this great development for Archivematica:

Incredible stats from our colleagues across the pond:

Congrats to Adrian:

A top read from the latest Diginews:

Got PDFs? Got PDF/As? Got preservation worries? We need your help testing this great new preservation tool. Please give me a shout if you want to get involved:

More adventures in file format identification:

Read this. Now. I mean it:

It’s wrap up time (otherwise known as my excuse to go a little off topic), and frankly it’s been difficult to keep the big events in the news away from my twitter dependent meta blogging. So what is going on with this year? It just seems to get worse and worse…

Thanks Ed. Don’t sugar coat it, tell it to us straight… Let’s try and redress the balance by trivialising things with a computer game reference:

No, it’s still looking desperate. There must be something we can do about it…

…no matter where you look there seems to be evil snakes coming at us from every direction. Wait, what? It’s just Planet Earth 2?

No, still not enough of a distraction? Find some good news. Quick!

And a few DP one liners to round things off. There’s some humdingers this week:

Actually a worthwhile longer read as well, but I like the quote:

Polite? You’re a potty mouth, Fay! This is a family digital preservation news blog I’ll have you know. Fair point though.

This week’s final say goes to the recent NDSA award winning Dave Rice:

Don’t panic



Roughly weekly news and opinions from the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Head of Research and Practice, Paul Wheatley. Opinions are the opinions of Paul and those featured. Not the DPC. They’re just opinions, ok?

Yes despite the somewhat erroneous interpretation of the usual (most of the time) italics at the start of my blogs, you can’t get rid of me that easily…

…despite best efforts. Thanks Euan…

So here’s the usual news in digital preservation…

By popular demand (not kidding, we can barely keep up), the DPC’s introduction to the world of digital preservation. We’re also in the midst of delivering our intermediate level workshop “Making Progress” which is almost sold out but check the website:

Following my afore mentioned thoughts on iPRES 2016 and where we are as a community….

….Barbara Sierman takes a slightly different tack on the broader vision we have (or are maybe lacking) now that we’re starting to get (lost?) in the detail.

Great event from OPF and all those that contributed:

The DPASSH call is open:

There’s also an E-ARK conference to check out, following the project’s high profile at the recent iPRES conference:

And, perhaps most importantly, no actually I’ll say it, definitely most importantly, it’s the 2016 Digital Preservation Awards! As well as a fabulous live event synced with the upcoming Pericles conference, you’ll be able to tune in to a live stream even if you can’t make it in person. Here at DPC towers we’ve been putting together a brand new sounds, pictures and live streaming setup so we can capture, share and transmit all our face to face events for our growing international membership. So, yes, you can blame me when it all goes wrong and you’re left staring at an animated buffering logo:

Speaking of which, we’re expanding further into the good old US of A. Exciting times and I’m really looking forward to working with the guys at the Academic Preservation Trust:

In other DPC news, we’ve had some fantastic webinars recently, including Nancy McGovern and Rhiannon Betivia. DPC members only I’m afraid. No login? You know what to do…

Following on from recently reported EU copyright law news, here is a chance to share your thoughts:

In a month when I saw a traditional archive announce the digitisation and launch of the “biggest archive of” sound recordings in a particular niche, while noting that an enthusiast (and now foundation backed effort) to crowd source recordings in same said niche had twice as many recordings in it (not to mention the fact it’s growing at a phenomenal rate), it’s good to see some “archivists” are living in the real world and are solving real world problems:

And a catch up on some slightly older news that happened while I was yapping about iPRES…..

Great news for BitCurator, which seems to be going from strength to strength:

It’s good top see the problems of murky, rapidly evolving file formats have been sorted out, and the future for digital preservationalistas will be much more strightforward. Wait, what?

Crikey, steady on. Always essential reading from the Lynch:

It’s time to wrap things up, and after a recent big denial of service attack that exploited internet enabled household items, this was the one liner that summed it up:

Digital preservation quote of the week came from the PASIG conference in NYC:

Geek out time. Amazing to see this, and for those not familiar with RiscOS, this was an operating system that ran on Acorn produced Archimedes and RiscPC computers back when the UK had a “proper computer industry”.

Ahhh the trials and tribulations of our favourite file format hacker…

Brexin, brexout, brexin, brexout, shake the UK all about



Roughly annual iPRES news and opinions from the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Head of Research and Practice, Paul Wheatley. Opinions are the opinions of Paul and those featured. Not the DPC. They’re just opinions, ok?

So it was iPRES2016 and quite a sizeable proportion of the DP community descended on the beautiful Swiss capital of Bern. It was a top conference! High quality all the way through and a great audience to interact with. It’s taken me this long to recover, so finally, here’s a whistle stop review with some pointers to more information in case there’s something you’d like to dig into into in a little more detail….

Robert E Khan‘s keynote was something of a sea change for this kind of event, getting into some really meaty preservation topics. I much prefer something like this to one of those ladedah “inspirational” bits. Or as I put it on the day:

There seemed to be quite a lot of work from the preservation community that Bob wasn’t aware of (somewhat Vint like in the delivery perhaps?) but he touched on a lot of interesting topics and got the conference off to a great start

The DPC was present in full force, including our DPC Scholars(TM). A new initiative where we provide funding to early career digital preservationalistas to attend conferences like iPRES. Really proud of the DPC to be doing this kind of thing, even if it involves me loitering around at the back looking a bit weird:

And even better, our scholars blogged some of the best bits of the conference. In particular, I really enjoyed the panel discussion on software sustainability. It was great to hear a *positive* take on a subject that can often get bogged down in dead end discussions on IPR:

In particular I was struck by a couple of really interesting points. Firstly, that by working with deltas of emulator images, a ‘standard’ setup could be augmented for particular preservation cases. Furthermore this could be shared in an open manner, and constructed collaboratively. Really quite simple, but potentially very powerful:

And secondly that the Persist Project seems to be making headway in licensing discussions with the big vendors. This would of course be great, as we don’t have much chance ‘on our own’:

The results of the E-ARK Project got a lot of attention at the conference, and deservedly so, In particular the developments around the revamp of SIARD and the associated database preservation toolkit:


A whole morning was devoted to the preservation of digital art (and emulation), first with a keynote from Sabine Himmelsbach and then a series of presentations. Excellent commentary here from Simon Whibley at the BL who has been working with some of the emulation technologies featured:

The panel session on OAIS was also of note, not least of which for taping in the audience so they couldn’t escape:

Of course it all got deep pretty quickly:

And words, predictably, weren’t felt sufficient to describe our FEELINGS:

That was a few of my highlights, but what was iPRES2016 *really* all about? For me, there seemed to be quite a lot of reflection at iPRES2016. Not just on how to solve digital preservation, but on how we *did* solve preservation, and did we actually get it right/expend appropriate effort/use the best strategy/etc. Seeing this reflection and evaluation focused on genuine experience of working with data suggests a real step forward in maturity for this community. The presentation from Peter McKinney was a great example of this:

After exhausting us with 3 days of presentations and chat, we then went into a day and a half of workshops, which I (and those I talked to who were elsewhere) thought were excellent. In particular, the “OSS4Pres 2.0: Building Bridges and Filling Gaps” was very productive and there should be some results available soon. Obviously, watch this space…

I’ve barely scratched the surface, so if you still want more…

…and also from Rachel:

So for even more further reading you can download the proceedings in one huge lumpy PDF file here. I wonder how much more traction this stuff would get if it was done properly?

It’s almost time to wrap up, so what else happened at iPRES? Well there were memes…

…Improbable stories about massive bitstreams that got away…

…There was lego, everyone’s favourite visualisation tool…

…And of course funky programmatically generated visualisations that were too small and complex for anyone to comprehend. Oh look, that’s me  in the middle. I of course prefer to see myself as hanging around on the left (field) somewhere:

And of course it was a lot of fun:

Hang on, I forgot to mention the chocolate….




Roughly weekly news and opinions from the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Head of Research and Practice, Paul Wheatley. Opinions are the opinions of Paul and those featured. Not the DPC. They’re just opinions, ok?

iPRES2016 is almost upon us:

And it’s great to see the look back and look forward into DP returned to. Not quite sure I agree with all the conclusions here, and there is plenty more evidence to add. A shame it’s a PDF as I wanted to chip in…

The final judges meeting for the Digital Preservation Awards is also not far off. Our members have a chance to have their say. Don’t miss out:

veraPDF has a new mailing list. Development is proceeding at pace so this is a great way to stay in the loop:

Great post on how to use Bagit in all it’s myriad forms:

An almost crude visualisation that actually works really well. Very cool:

“The biggest outcome of the event may have been the energy and inherent value in having engineers and technical program managers spending lightly structured face time exchanging information and collaborating”+1 :

More on the DLP:

Guest post, following in Jen’s series of file format profiles. Very interesting to see the breakdown for a local authority archive (in the UK):

Great to see an early statement of digital intent from Carla Hayden at the LoC but I was hoping for a mention of born digital and maybe that link through from Rosa Parks to preserving present day protest:

Sort of a job advert, but also a really interesting insight into digital preservation at NLNZ from Jay Gattuso:

David Rosenthal fact checks the hyperbole on storage:

It’s wrap up time so dip into the world of the first business computer… “Basically “Leo” is what is popularly known as an “electronic brain”…”:

This is also quite retro:

Let’s bring it back up to date:

I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable.



Roughly weekly news and opinions from the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Head of Research and Practice, Paul Wheatley. Opinions are the opinions of Paul and those featured. Not the DPC. They’re just opinions, ok?

A minor disturbance in the open source force was felt when the libtiff website went offline…

Nice concise post (and paper) coming out of a life sciences source but pretty universal stuff:

It’s no longer a leak, it’s official:

Much of the concern still lies, perhaps unsurprisingly, around the exceptions:

And the hacks aren’t too happy, again quelle surprise:

Although the expected exception for preservation (for “cultural heritages institutions”) is (still) present. Good news there, albeit without anything revolutionary:

“Member States should therefore be required to provide for an exception to permit cultural heritage institutions to reproduce works and other subject-matter permanently in their collections for preservation purposes, for example to address technological obsolescence or the degradation of original supports. Such an exception should allow for the making of copies by the appropriate preservation tool, means or technology, in the required number and at any point in the life of a work or other subject-matter to the extent required in order to produce a copy for preservation purposes only.”

A lot of other aspects will of course have an impact on preservation, albeit an indirect one. This is a very accessible summary of the key points of the proposal as a whole:

Right, lets have some good news. She’s in! And look she’s on twitter!

A couple of tweets to try and sum it all up:

Great to see lessons learned sharing on these kinds of interactive events.:

The new DPC website is coming on a treat. We can’t wait to share with the world…

In other DPC news…

Great to see the establishment of the new National Videogame Foundation. Decent write up in the Grundian with reference to the new energies going into cultural and educational work. Hopefully also some preservation…

…and a little more here:

And of course the DP Awards are on at the same time as this great conference, so get the date in your diary if for some reason it’s not already there:

Update on the UK Archivematica community:

Here’s a final thought and a half on some pretty private privacy panic:




Roughly weekly news and opinions from the Digital Preservation Coalition’s Head of Research and Practice, Paul Wheatley. Opinions are the opinions of Paul and those featured. Not the DPC. They’re just opinions, ok?

We’ve been busy at DPC Towers, and this is (just some) of what we’re laying on for the coming year…

…Don’t forget, DPC is now open to international membership, although we’re pretty international as it is…

Date for the diary, Scots peeps:

More good stuff from the Future Proof folks:

A highlight from the last issue of Dlib magazine on visualising a software preservation process relating to research data:

The remaining Digital Preservation Awards shortlists have been announced and voting is now open to DPC members!

In a world of cuts and ‘doing more with less’ <cringe> it’s about time we had a good news story:

The good news continues (although not for long) with what seems to have been the death of withering copyright onslaught (and bringer of other nasty corporate stuff) TTIP over the last few months. But, hey, whaddya know? There’s plenty more where that came from…

…I am of course guessing that it will involve copyright nastiness, but hey, anyone want to bet against me?

Another great blog post on file format signatures on the OPF site:


Somehow missed this OAIS bashing last week. Obviously I’m paraphrasing slightly:

It’s always worth a reminder that climate change is one of our biggest preservation threats so, especially if I’m using XKCD to do the reminding:

Hmm. Well that was a bit depressing, if rendered with genius. Here’s some proper geekery to cheer you up:

A little off topic, but I’m claiming this as valid for my usual “final thoughts” tweets, as this is pretty awesome:

You may now turn over your papers…