The National Library of Australia uses a range of means to share information about digital preservation including:
- active membership of international organisations
- collaboration with international organisations and initiatives
- hosting and maintaining the Mediapedia, a media identification tool
More information on some of our digitial archiving and preservation collaborative activities is provided below and is available in related staff papers:
- International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC)
- IFLA-CDNL Alliance for Digital Strategies (ICADS)
- IFLA-CDNL Alliance for Bibliographic Standards (ICABS)
- Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR)
- IASA guidelines
- UNESCO guidelines
- Preservation metadata
The National Library of Australia is a member of the IIPC, a consortium originally chartered in 2003 by eleven national libraries and the Internet Archive, which has the following goals:
- To enable the collection, preservation and long-term access of a rich body of Internet content from around the world.
- To foster the development and use of common tools, techniques and standards for the creation of international archives.
- To be a strong international advocate for initiatives and legislation that encourage the collection, preservation and access to Internet content.
- To encourage and support libraries, archives, museums and cultural heritage institutions everywhere to address Internet content collecting and preservation.
The work of the IIPC is carried out through various working groups. The Library is currently a member of the Preservation Working Group and was a member of the IIPC Steering Committee until 2009. The Library has also been a member of the Framework, Researcher Requirements, Content Management, and Metrics and Testbed Working Groups and was leader of, and active contributor to, the Deep Web Working Group. This group developed methods and tools for the identification of web sites that are inaccessible to crawlers, the collection and storage of these sites, and the provision of access to them.
ICADS is a joint alliance between IFLA and the Conference of Directors of National Libraries (CDNL), established in August 2008. ICADS focuses on strategic and state of the art digital library developments. It provides a web directory of projects at national libraries within three broad themes:
- Creating and building digital collections
- Managing digital collections
- Accessing digital collections.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Core Activity on Preservation and Conservation (PAC) operates from national libraries around the World. The goals of the program include raising awareness about preservation issues, encouraging research in preservation and conservation, and promoting training in these areas. The National Library of Australia is a designated IFLA-PAC Regional Centre for South East Asia and Oceania, and a designated IFLA-PAC centre of excellence in digital preservation.
ICABS was an alliance between IFLA and national libraries (August 2003 to August 2008) which continued and expanded the coordination work formerly done by the IFLA UBCIM (Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC) and UDT (Universal Dataflow and Telecommunications) Core Programme Offices.
It was a joint alliance between the National Library of Australia, the Library of Congress, The British Library, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and Die Deutsche Bibliothek together with the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, IFLA and CDNL (Conference of Directors of National Libraries) to assure ongoing coordination, communication and support for key activities in the areas of bibliographic and resource control for all types of resources and related format and protocol standards.The objectives of ICABS were to be realised through a series of goals and actions agreed to during the IFLA Berlin Conference in 2003.
The National Library of Australia took responsibility for two actions related to long term archiving of electronic resources: Action 3.3 Web harvesting; and Action 3.4 Preservation of digital materials. The Library progressed the first of these actions through three activities:
- membership of the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC), in particular leading the work of the Deep Web Working Group
- holding an international conference on digital archiving (Archiving Web Resources International Conference held 9-11 November 2004)
- automated deposit and archiving of online government resources (through the Commonwealth Metadata Pilot Project, Jan 2003-2004).
Led by the Australian National University (ANU), the APSR project (2004-2007) encompassed the development of demonstrator repositories and support for the continuity and sustainability of digital collections and the management of scholarly assets in digital format . Partners included major research universities (ANU, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney), the National Library of Australia, and APAC (the Australian Partnership for Advanced Computing).
In 2004 a senior member of the Library's Digital Preservation team, Kevin Bradley led the the preparation of the Guidlelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects for the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA). A second edition of the guidelines was published in 2009.
The Charter on the Preservation of Digital Heritage and the Guidelines for the Preservation of Digital Heritage (March 2003) are available from UNESCO. The UNESCO Division of Information Society contracted the National Library of Australia to prepare guidelines, assist in drafting the Charter, and to organise a regional Consultation Meeting for Asia and the Pacific (held in Canberra November 2002). Further meetings were held in Managua (for Latin America and the Caribbean), Addis Ababa (for Africa), Riga (for the Baltic States) and Budapest for Eastern Europe.
The Guidelines focus on principles behind the preservation-related decisions needed throughout the life of digital information. Further information about the preparation of the Charter and Guidelines is available in a paper by Colin Webb, UNESCO Campaign to Preserve the "Digital Heritage" - and Consultations in Asia and the Pacific.
To ensure long-term access to digital resources, information about them must be recorded that will enable them to be managed as hardware and software changes. This information called preservation metadata stores technical details on the format, structure and use of the digital content, the history of all actions performed on the resource (including changes and decisions), authenticity information (such as technical features or custody history), and the responsibilities and rights information applicable to preservation actions.
The National Library of Australia is aware of the importance of preservation metadata in maintaining long-term access to its own digital collections. In 1999 it issued an exposure draft, Preservation Metadata for Digital Collections, which defined 25 elements of information the Library believed necessary for this purpose.
As a result of this work the Library was invited to join the OCLC/RLG Preservation Metadata Framework Working Group, which published Preservation Metadata for Digital Objects: A Review of the the State of the Art in 2001, and A Metadata Framework to Support the Preservation of Digital Objects in 2002. Following on from this work the Library had a representative on the PREMIS editorial committee which contributed to the development of PREMIS 1. PREMIS is maintained by the Library of Congress.