National Library of Australia Staff Papers, 2009

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Prometheus: managing the Ingest of Media Carriers

Nicholas del Pozo, Douglas Elford, David Pearson


The National Library of Australia has a relatively small but important collection of digital material stored on common carriers such as floppy disks, CDs and DVDs. This includes both published material and unpublished manuscripts in digital form.

In the past, preservation of the Library’s physical format digital collection has been taken care of manually, on a case-by-case basis, but this approach is insufficient to deal effectively with the increasing volume of material requiring preservation.

The Library has produced an application called Prometheus, which provides a semi-automated, scalable process for transferring data from carriers to preservation-managed digital storage. This is helping the Library to mitigate the major risks associated with storing the content on physical carriers: deterioration of the media and obsolescence of the hardware required to access them. Prometheus makes it easier to process the majority of carriers commonly encountered in the Library and to collect and manage metadata about their content. Although not perfect, Prometheus is helping the Library to save digital content before it is too late.

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