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Let all talk about digital preservation

When we talk about digital preservation or institutional repositories, not everyone has the same perspective, or the same terminology, for the work we are engaged in. For example, the institutional repository will have to work with people from all parts of the institution, including IT, data centre, legal, etc. staff. A recent report might help to build a common understanding.

Building a Terminology Bridge: Guidelines for Digital Information Retention and Preservation Practices in the Datacenter, SNIA, May 2009 (it’s a 48pp pdf)

SNIA is the Storage Networking Industry Association. If this all sounds dry and uninteresting, actually it is really quite revealing.

SNIA has a vested interest in selling storage systems, but it has put this aside in the storage growth example in the executive summary: “The current process is broken, does not scale, is pure overhead, and paradoxically not where any business organization wants to be spending its time and money.”

Next we learn that not everyone is a digital librarian: “In 2008, recognition of the role and importance of metadata was elevated. Now, not only is all ESI (electronically stored information) discoverable, but its metadata may also be required. IT systems and business applications were not designed to fully utilize and preserve metadata. Changes in IT and storage practices are needed.”

When we get to the terminology, it’s not short dictionary definitions, but well researched, and often anecdotal, collections of views on a term. Recommended.

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  1. Michael Peterson says

    As the principle author of this report, I want to thank you for the review. It is important to get the word out that this resource is available and that it can be put to use influencing your management and organizations to help your cause. In the 100 Year Archive Requirements Survey I produced for SNIA in 2006, we identified that one of the (paradoxical) requirements of a successful long-term preservation system is elevating the importance of the job, the budget, and the roles of the people engaged in it. This report and the methods is proposes will help you teach and motivate your organizations.

    Thanks again. We do have an open discussion board on the report at

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