International Conference on Digital Preservation iPRES 2021 is this year held as a hybrid event at the National Science Library in Beijing and on Zoom. It is co-hosted by the National Science and Technology Library (NSTL) and the National Science Library of Chinese Academy of Sciences (NSL).
Intact Digital paper on Executable Archives has been included in the main programme as part of the Paper Session 4 on Wednesday, 20 October 2021. The presentation discusses data integrity and software integrity requirements for the long-term preservation and use of archived research studies.
During the presentation, Natasa Milic-Frayling introduced the Executable Archive Framework and demonstrated how it informed the design of the INTACT Software Library, a software hosting platform and services that complement electronic data archives by providing validated installations of software for reliable readability of data and research study reconstruction.
On 21 October 2021, Members of the UNESCO MoW Preservation Sub-Committee, Ms Lai Tee Phang (Chair), Ms Natasa Milic-Frayling, Mr Robert Buckley and Mr Kevin Bradley are coordinating a panel on the “Digital Documenter Heritage: Securing Reliable and Sustainable Access”.
The panel is moderated by Ms Lai-Tee Phang, the Chair of the UNESCO MoW Preservation Sub-Committee, and includes experts in digital preservation and long-term access to documentary heritage:
With this iPRES panel, UNESCO MoW Programme continues a policy dialogue with the preservation community, focusing on issues of long-term and sustainable access to digital content. There are many challenges to safeguarding digitized and born digital content, including the continuous and rapid obsolescence of digital technologies. The issues are considered with the aim to identify policy interventions that UNESCO can facilitate.
In October 2020, UNESCO held a two-session Virtual Policy Dialogue (Programme) and in September 2020 released a report with main outcomes. Video recordings of the sessions are available on the UNESCOPERSIST Web site.
On 21 - 22 September 2021, UNESCO is holding the 2nd Memory of the World (MoW) Global Policy Forum on Disaster Risk Reduction and Management for Sustainable Preservation of Documentary Heritage organized as a hybrid event. The Forum is taking place at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France and incorporates physical and virtual participation.
The forum is part of the UNESCO MoW’s effort to provide a strategic support to policymakers, memory institutions, and other stakeholders seeking to implement the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the preservation of, and access to, documentary heritage including in digital form. It aims to build a momentum towards creating a global policy framework for disaster risk reduction and management to achieve sustainable preservation of documentary heritage. Live and recorded Zoom sessions are available: see programme.
Natasa Milic-Frayling, Intact Digital Founder and CEO, is a member of the UNESCO Preservation Sub-Committee and Chair of the UNESCO PERSIST Working group for Technology and Research. In her contribution to the Forum, she discusses the policy gaps that have been highlighted during the UNESCO Policy Dialogue on Digital Preservation of analogue and born digital documentary heritage, (view recording).
UNESCO 2nd Memory of the World Global Policy Forum, 21 - 22 September 2021, UNESCO HQ, Paris, France.
“Towards Building an International Policy Agenda for the Preservation of Analogue and Digital Documentary Heritage”, presented by Dr Natasa Milic-Frayling, CEO, Intact Digital.
While digitization has been successfully used to create representations of the cultural material at risk, the digital medium itself presents risks that must be managed carefully. INTACT Software Library and INTACT Digital Continuity services have important roles in enabling long-term use of digital through a systematic and principled management of software technologies that are essential for accessing digital content.
Dr Natasa Milic-Frayling, Founder & CEO at Intact Digital and Cate Ovington, Director of The Knowlogy are featured in the SelectScience Editorial Article: Digital obsolescence: Is your research data at risk?, discussing how rapid technological innovation results in a ‘graveyard of software’ and how to mitigate digital obsolescence risks to valuable digital data. They focus on key challenges that organisations and scientific labs face due to rapid aging of software and discuss how INTACT Software Library and INTACT Digital Continuity Services help overcome these challenges.
Natasa points to advances in IT and computing as essential for safeguarding vital data: “Our expertise is in computing and IT, and we use state-of-the-art techniques to handle problems with aging technologies. We provide a solution that enables researchers to read their data for as long as they need it. It doesn't matter how old the data is, it doesn't matter how old the software is — researchers can access and process the data safely and reliably.”
Cate highlighted the regulatory concerns that organizations and labs have due to digital obsolescence. They often resort to practices that are not compliant with the ALCOA+ principles for long-term retention of data. She explains: “There is a regulatory requirement to make sure that the digital data is enduring, available, and complete for as long as it is required. For that one needs software but, as we can see, technology is moving at such a fast pace that this is a challenge for research. As a quality assurance auditor, I have not observed a long-term solution. It is great that we now have a plausible solution. With the Intact Digital approach, data is used in its original electronic form which ensures it stays dynamic and complete. People can go back and review it in the future. And it's also helpful for auditors and regulators to know that the data is still available.”
The editorial article “Digital obsolescence: Is your research data at risk?” is available on the SelectScience portal.