Memory institutions are facing increasing transfers of electronic documents and other media content for long term preservation. Preservation models are often inspired by ISO 14721:2003, known as “the OAIS model”, where transfers and preservation are built on information packages containing both data and metadata.
Data are normally stored in specific file formats for documents, images, sound, video etc. that are produced by software from different vendors. Even if the transferred files are in standard formats, the implementation of standards cannot be guaranteed. The software implementing standards for the production of the electronic files is not in control neither by the institutions that produces them nor by the memory institutions. Conformance tests of transfers are done, but are not totally reliable. This poses problems in long-term preservation. Data objects meant for preservation, passing through an uncontrolled generative process, can jeopardise the whole preservation exercise.
The overall intention of PREFORMA project (PREservation FORMAts for culture information/e-archives) is to research critical factors in the quality of standard implementation in order to establish a long-term sustainable ecosystem around developed tools with a variety of stakeholder groups. The tools should be innovative and provide a reference implementation of the most common file format standards for the assessment of the collections to be archived and for the correction of the collections.
PREFORMA will target a wide digital preservation community, by providing specifications and feedback to developers, standard bodies and memory institutions.
The pre-commercial-procurement (PCP), following the rules for tenders in public sector, will match the memory institutions professional knowledge and the supplier’s skills in development and promotion of products and create a win-win situation. Joint procurement will enable PREFORMA to build a sustainable network of common interest, where the public procurers can remain in contact and cooperate beyond the EC funding period.
Project website: www.preforma-project.eu (Soon available)