ID3601 Level of Preparedness by Country

Summary

The internal deliverable has the aim to present the results of the investigation of the level of preparedness by country. It aims to present the collected information from the APARSEN participants about the level at which European countries are aware and prepared for digital preservation. Since the survey on the level of preparedness was conducted in the frame of the Work Package 36 “Business Cases” , which boldly addresses issues of economic administration of digital preservations, it was given this research orientation. Participants from five countries took part in the survey. Despite the limited participation, the concern for the development of proper business model that could drive digital preservation to viable operational schemata was profound.

Methodology

In the end of August, a short and informal survey was issued and addressed to the APARSEN project participants. The project members were asked to share their knowledge about preparedness testimonies in their countries. More specifically, as the WP36 is concerned with the economic sustainability of digital preservation, the working group for this survey was interested in knowing:

  1. if the APARSEN members were aware of nation-wide studies that discusses economic aspects of digital preservation and whether they could report results of interest
  2. if the APARSEN members were aware of nation-wide initiatives for digital preservation that to some (actually any) extend focus on the economic aspects of digital preservation.

The deadline for the survey was set for September 20, 2011. Five APARSEN members answered the survey questions, which represent 38% of the countries in APARSEN (as well as 16 percent of the APARSEN institutions population). APARSEN members were also asked to submit key studies in the same research region that come from conferences and journals in order to assist the creation of a list of related reading. This list is available at the Appendix A.

Country level reports

Italy

It was reported that in Italy there are no nation-wide initiatives/studies which focus solely on the economic aspects of digital preservation. There is however the panel presentation by FRD (Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale) researchers and other experts, including Aaron Trehub, Bohdana Stoklasova and Neil Grindley about the economic alignments in digital preservation. The panel took place at the ANAPD Conference in Tallinn, Estonia in May 2011 and a full paper is expected to be published in winter 2011. The authors have provided an abstract of the Economic Alignment Panel:

The Economic Alignment Panel, chaired by Maurizio Lunghi of Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, aims to lead a critical discussion about the nature of the economic issues that define and inhibit effective national and international progress in relation to preserving digital cultural heritage materials. Specifically, this panel will present and reflect on multi-institutional experiences and approaches in defining directive elements for efficient workflows and policies in managed digital information environments. Related issues will also be introduced including: service/user relationships; roles and responsibilities throughout the various communities; the choice of suitable business models; and cost analyses as essential components of defining sustainable economic approaches to preservation. In keeping with the aims of the conference, the panel will conclude by considering what a blueprint for success in this area may resemble.

Germany

In Germany Nestor’s working group investigated the grade of transferability and suitability of the BRTF’s recommendations in the German context. The working group focused on the four large areas, such as (a) Legal framework conditions and legal certainty for digital preservation, (b) Public Private Partnerships, (c) Preservation mandates, (d) Investment and Return On Investment in digital preservation. One of the suggestions of the working group was that “on the long term, funders must turn away from project based funding and incorporate funds for digital preservation in archiving institutions’ regular budgets”.

It was further reported that the new Nestor working group on cost issues has recently resumed work. Its goals are to determine cost factors in digital preservation and to issue a guideline that helps long term archives to calculate their costs.

Another effort that was mentioned is the project DP4Lib (Digital Preservation for Libraries). The project features eight partners from all over Germany and among its priorities it is to develop a cost model for a digital preservation services. More specific one of the aims of the project is to “devise a viable procedural model and guidelines for those planning long-term preservation” (our emphasis).

Netherlands

The Netherlands National Digital Preservation Survey, which was published in 2009, has a chapter discussing issues of costs and funding. The findings are similar to the “Sustaining the Digital Investment” report, which was published in 2008. The report is mentioning running figures for the KB’s e-depot program at six million Euros a year and that the funding for digital preservation comes largely from the public sector. The authors of the report believe that private funding not a realistic option. There weren’t mentioned any studies that focus on the economic aspects of digital preservation in national level.

Sweden

In Sweden there aren’t any particular studies focusing on the economic perspectives of digital preservations. However it is evident that a large part of the activity in this area is coordinated by public bodies, such as the National Archives and the Royal Library. It was reported though that there is a strong debate on the employment of proper business models to identify cost parameters in the digital preservation solutions in the cloud.

Greece

In Greece there are no studies that discuss the economic perspectives of digital preservations. One of the primary concerns of the HEAL-Link Consortium, the cooperation of academic libraries, is the long-term preservation of subscribed material, such as e-journals, e-books, etc. The Consortium has investigated many solutions in its pursue to find a viable and cost-effective solution, including subscription to digital archiving services, such as Portico, or in-house mirroring. Among the future plans of Consortium is the development of a central national preservation infrastructure and service, under HEAL-Link umbrella, designed and implemented based to known best practices and standards. The scope of this service will be to provide preservation and long term access services for (a) the content of HEAL-Link’s subscriptions, as described above and (b) the content of HEAL-LINK member libraries digital collections and Institutional Repositories.

Conclusions

Since the participation in the survey was limited, we can not rush into any firm conclusions. However we can assess that there is a growing interest in the economic aspects of digital preservation, in parallel to the interests in workflow management, technical systems and preservation policies. This is reflected in the concern about the Return On Investment models that several projects are currently trying to explore. These models are essential to detach their operation from public/governmental funding and to constitute their efforts viable, productive and profitable. A large part of the funding is coming from governmental agencies and this highlights the need to further strengthen the participation of the private sector in “attractive” Public-Private cooperation schemata. The effort so far seems to focus on the industry area, like in Sweden, and in academia.

Appendix A – Related Literature

A group in Mendeley is freely available to everyone. The group is accessible here.

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