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KeepIt course 4: putting a preservation plan into EPrints

KeepIt course module 4, Southampton, 18-19 March 2010
Tools this module: Plato, EPrints preservation apps
Tags Find out more about: this module KeepIt course 4, the full KeepIt course
Presentations and tutorial exercises course 4 (source files)

So far in the practical work in KeepIt course 4 we have managed some storage services from our EPrints repository, then deposited some image files in the repository and performed preliminary format identification and risk analysis. We exported those files and used Plato to produce a preservation plan for that format.

These tools were only trivially connected by the export and use of common files. In other words, you could have done these courses on EPrints and Plato independently. Further, since the stated aim of this course module was to put preservation in the repository interface, you might ask how this is achieved when all we have done so far is copy content from the repository and instead used Plato.

Here is the clever part …

and it’s simple compared with the previous session. Recall the repository interface when we exported our GIF files. There are no presentation slides for this final session in course 4, just instruction sheets for our remaining practical work, so an illustration of this interface is reproduced here.


Under the preservation actions button we used to download and export our GIF files to Plato is another button, to upload a preservation plan. This is the plan we have just produced and saved from Plato, as an XML file. So select that file and with one click we are back in the repository, with a preservation plan. In this case our simple plan chooses to migrate GIF images, considered high risk (hypothetically) to PNGs, our choice of low-risk (hypothetically) image formats.

We can now follow the instruction sheets for this session to complete our work for this module.

  • Actions: find the original GIFs, upload the plan, view the result.

Each image record now contains a migrated version, the PNG, as well as the original GIF.

We can now update our earlier format risk screen, which shows the new PNGs as low risk objects and includes our GIFs in the same category, because they have migrated versions, but with a red bar to indicate they were originally considered to be high risk. Below this screen is shown the list of preservation plans relating to these objects.

A further short exercise demonstrates that when we deposit new objects in this format, we don’t have to reload the preservation plan. The appropriate plan is recognised and an Enact Plan button appears for our high-risk objects.

The exercise completes with a short demonstration of provenance. As we learned in KeepIt course 3, the provenance of an object is a verified record of its past history. Since our image files have been converted we have a provenance record for them. In EPrints this relational information is stored as Linked Data, and in this exercise we learn how to view these relations.

EPrints-Plato KeepIt course 4 summary

We said at the outset of KeepIt course 4 that we would put preservation in the repository interface, and we have done this for storage, risk analysis and preservation planning. We believe this is the first time this range of preservation support has been available in a major repository platform.

We also said that while you could do courses on EPrints and Plato separately, this is the only course to combine the two. We have shown here how the value multiplies by combining the different tools.

Versions of this EPrints-Plato course have been given in Corfu (ECDL, Sept. 2009) and Madrid (OR, July 2010), as well as this one in Southampton as part of the KeepIt course, and was just presented for the final time in Vienna (iPres, Sept. 2010).

It remains to me to thank our outstanding presenters for these courses: Andreas Rauber and Hannes Kulovits from PLANETS and Vienna University of Technology, and Dave Tarrant and Adam Field from the EPrints team at the University of Southampton.

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