Digital Archive Transfer

Only a few years ago the main means of Digital Content Transfer to the Library of Congress was shipping external harddrives. At that point in time, the data was far to large to be sent over the internet. However, with improved technology, it’s become standard to send archives via networks. In this process the data is securely downloaded from the sender. Once the data download is complete, the LC verifies the data. The most efficient way for this to occur is through the use of Bag-It software.

Bag-It software (Bagger) was created by the Library of Congress, California Digital Library and Stanford University. The software program is a way of standardizing the content container, or “bag.” The bags are written simply and contain metadata that is readable by multiple systems.  They work as a manifest of files contained in the archive. “Holey bags” also exist and contain URLs to data for later retrieval. The software that has been developed is open source and available for free download.

A brief explanation of the Bagit file type is shown in the Youtube video below:

Currently the Mississippi Department of Archives and History uses Bagger as a standard for archiving paper records across the state. They provide a detailed tutorial on how to create an archive in bagger for transfer to MDAH available here.

Bagit archiving is a great push forward in the world of digital preservation, which does not have any specific standards. This one small step in digital content management has allowed many collections to be shared.




Personal Archiving

A great way to introduce yourself to the world of digital repositories is to create your own personal digital archive. In our age of technology, we have a plethora of information stored digitally from photos to emails. The Library of Congress points out 6 different items that one might want to include when creating their personal archive:

  • Digital Photographs
  • Digital Audio
  • Digital Video
  • Electronic Mail
  • Personal Digital Records
  • Websites

The LC suggests not only backing up items on another harddrive, but also storing the harddrive at another location than your computer. LC also points out that even if you choose to archive files through a cloud drive, it’s still best to have another backup. They actually recommend 3 different places to store your materials!

Archiving of photographs is noticeably highest on the priority list of those creating personal archives. Social media websites would not be a good place to create your personal photo archive, as they compress the files to reduce space on their servers, and it is most valuable to archive the highest quality raw image file. File format in TIF or JPG are current standards, and images scanned in 300dpi+ are important for archiving quality file storage. Metadata can now be imbedded into digital photo files, which has advanced digital archiving. The website provides a great deal of tutorials into the world of metadata and digital image files.

During ALA’s Preservation Week, Mike Ashenfelder held an in depth webinar on the topic of personal archiving, viewable here:

The UK’s Paradigm project has a great guide to creating your personal archive here. The first point they have in this guide talks about file names and organization. Being concise and consistent are two things to consider in regard to file naming. Picking a date format and version numbers will help you easily find the files later.

Google’s own Data Liberation Front is a team at Google that shows how to integrate or leave Google products. The idea seems a bit strange at first, but Google’s CEO wanted its users to stay with Google if they like it, yet still have the ability to keep whatever data they used in

Google and bring it to another product should they want to leave. This idea makes archiving from Google quite easy. Most notable is the ability to export from Google Drive using Google Takeout.



Digital Repository Software

Digital repositories have started to become a standard in Universities. Currently Wayne State’s Library and Information Science program has taken on their repository project using the popular DSpace open source software (See a great presentation here!). Below are a few software options available for creating repositories.


DSpace was the creation of MIT Libraries and Hewlet Packard. DSpace is most commonly used in research libraries as an institutional repository. It can be installed on any operating system. It is open source Java-based so could be customized to the needs of the user. For example, there are “out of the box” recognized file types, but DSpace has a file format registry so you can add new file types. The minimal requirements to install DSpace are 4GB of RAM and 20 GB of storage.


EPrints prides itself on being the first digital repository software. It was developed by the University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science. Eprints only runs on any Unix-like operating system. It requires a minimum of 1GB of RAM and 20GB of storage. EPrints is web based. EPrints seems to be more geared toward academic articles and thesis rather than multimedia storage.


Fedora, Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture, was developed at Cornell University. Fedora can support any form of digital content, and is also open source. Fedora is the “backend” of digital repositories. Data can be accessed through web based APIs.


CONTENTdm is a commercial software product available for purchase created by OCLC. Along with purchasing the software, users can also purchase hosting. The software supports any file type. One of the sell points of CONTENTdm is that users can upload metadata to Worldcat directly. The software also boasts constant product development and partnerships between user organizations.




July 1, 2013


Academic libraries are increasing their reliance on digital records every year and archives are being stored digitally more and more.  Because of this trend, many organizations are learning how to use digital preservations. Large library universities are the main organizations that are preserving digital records and are beginning projects to accomplish this objective. They were the forerunners of the digital preservation movement and continue to be role models. 

Two libraries that are currently using digital preservations are The Cornell University Library and The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  CUL is located in Ithaca, New York and is comprised of many levels of libraries.  U of M has many libraries in Ann Arbor but we are going to discuss one library in particular that has been essential to the digital preservation process,

Cornell University Library has been amassing a large amount of digital material since the 1990’s. CUL’s website has valuable resources and information on their past and present projects.  They have teamed together with organizations to digitize and save large amounts of data and material that would have been lost.  CUL is one of the first libraries to begin digital preservation in the 1980’s.  The library has a philosophy of digital preservation of ensuring that knowledge will always be available to anyone.  They wanted to make sure that their print collection was accessible worldwide.

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor began their research in1991.  A librarian, Wendy Lougee was interested in bringing the different departments together to form a partnership of digital preservation.  The Harlan Hatch Graduate library, the technological department and the interdisciplinary school of information were asked to work together in1993 to come up with projects designed to develop ideas for digital preservation.  It took many years of collaboration, project based programs and product oriented developments to come up with the final stages for digital preservation.  It was a very complicated process and continues to be so with so many technological changes.  But U of M-Ann Arbor continues today with ongoing developments and projects for digital preservation. 

Many other libraries are involved in preservations as well. The Smithsonian is one that is involved in digital preservation.  The website is very informative and educational as well as interesting.  The author has listed several websites of interest at the end of this post.  The internet has an endless list of resources on digital preservation. 




1.      Do you think digital preservation will be here to stay?

2.      Will there be advances and increased knowledge on how to better preserve our data?

3.      How important is communication in the digital preservation process?



Learning about digital preservation: classes and professional certificates

Learning about digital preservation can be done in a long-term, professional or semi-professional setting. Many Library and Information Science schools across the United States have certificates in Digital Curation, Digital Information, Digital Forensics, and other related programs. The Library of Congress has a vast list of courses across the country, some free and some at a cost, that can lead to professional certificates or as a way for an individual interested in digital preservation to get more comfortable with the topic.

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Digital Curriculum Laboratory (2013)

LIS certificates for digital preservation examples:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science offers a Digital Curation certificate that includes classes such as a Seminar in Digital Curation, and Issues in Digital Video Retrieval.

The University of Washington offers a Certificate in Digital Forensics that includes classes such as Digital Forensics Tools and Processes and Applied Digital Forensics: Case Studies.

The Digital Archives Specialist Curriculum and Certificate Program, run by the Society of American Archivists, offers foundational courses, transformational courses, tactical and strategic courses, and tools and services courses.

The Certificate of Advanced Studies in Digital Preservation from Kent State University offers classes such as Introduction to Digital Preservation, Digital Curation, and Technologies for Digital Preservation and Web Archiving.

Digital preservation courses:

The following courses are offered from 6/24/2013 – 2/24/2014 or anytime. This list is from the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education initiative of the Library of Congress.

Start Date Course Course Format Location Cost Range
06/24/2013 Digital Humanities Data Curation Institutes Workshop: Summer 2013 Workshop University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign See Website
06/24/2013 Digital Forensics for Archivists, Part I and Part II #1386 Workshop University of Michigan Library $185-285
06/28/2013 Accessioning and Ingest of Electronic Records #1368 Training Course Brigham Young University $185-285
07/02/2013 SPRUCE Mashup London 2 Hackathon London, England Free
07/10/2013 Born-Digital Materials: Theory & Practice Training Course University of Virginia $1095-1195
07/15/2013 Digital Preservation Advanced Practitioner Training Training Course Glasgow, Scotland $150GBP
07/15/2013 Preserving Digital Archives: Concepts and Competencies #1421 Training Course New York, New York $185-285
07/16/2013 Digital Humanities 2013 Conference Lincoln, Nebraska $225-500
07/17/2013 XML in Action: Creating Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Texts Training Course University of Virginia $1095-1195
07/17/2013 Digitizing the Historical Record Training Course University of Virginia $1095-1195
07/17/2013 Bay Area Video Coalition Preservation Access Program Application Due Bay Area Video Coalition 30%-70% off
07/21/2013 Digital Directions: Fundamentals of Creating and Managing Digital Collections Conference with workshops Ann Arbor, Michigan $499-550
07/22/2013 Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL) 2013 Annual Conference and Workshops Indianapolis, Indiana See Website
07/22/2013 1st International Workshop on the Digital Preservation of Research Methods and Artefacts (DPRMA 2013) Annual Conference and Workshops Indianapolis, Indiana (Co-Located with JCDL) See Website
07/22/2013 Legal Issues in Digital Archives: Copyright, Privacy and Confidentiality Training Workshop Honolulu, HI $185-415
07/26/2013 Curate Camp at JCDL 2013 Unconference Indianapolis, Indiana (Co-Located with JCDL) See Website
07/28/2013 The 36th Annual ACM SIGIR Conference Annual Conference and Workshops Dublin, Ireland TBD
07/29/2013 Curating and Managing Research Data for Re-Use Workshop Ann Arbor, Michigan $1001 – 1,500
07/31/2013 Connecting to Collections Preservation Boot Camp Training Workshop Worthington, Ohio TBD
Start Date Course Course Format Location Cost Range
08/30/2013 Thinking Digital…A Practical Session to Help You Get Started (ends August 30th) Webinar Not Applicable $145-175
09/02/2013 iPres and Dublin Core 2013 Joint Annual Conference Lisbon, Portugal See Website
09/19/2013 Digital Scholarship Co-Operative’s Digital Frontiers Conference with Workshops TBD TBD
09/20/2013 Digital Preservation Workshop on Computer Science Day Conference with Workshops Koblenz,
See Website
09/22/2013 17th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries Conference with Workshops Valletta,
See Website
09/23/2013 Data Information Literacy Symposium Symposium Lafayette,
09/26/2013 Cultural Heritage Archives: Networks, Innovation & Collaboration Conference with Workshops Library of Congress,
Washington, D.C.
10/04/2013 Getting Started in Digital Preservation 2013 (Glasgow) Training Workshop Glasgow University £20
10/28/2013 Digital Curation: Creating an Environment for Success Workshop Princeton University
Princeton, NJ
10/28/2013 Digital Heritage International Conference 2013 Syposium, workshop, Annual Conference Marseille
11/01/2013 Preserving Digital Archives: Concepts and Competencies Workshop Briscoe Library
San Antonio, TX
11/3/2013 2013 Digital Library Federation (DLF) Forum Annual Conference Austin,
11/6/2013 AMIA Annual Conference 2013 Annual Conference The Marriott Richmond
Richmond, VA
11/6/2013 INFuture 2013 Annual Conference Zagreb
75-350 Euros
11/18/2013 Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation II Conference National Library of Catalonia
Barcelona, Spain
See Website
12/09/2013 Privacy and Confidentiality Issues in Digital Archives #1406 Training Workshop Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA
12/31/2013 Archival Content Management Systems (ends December 31st) Webinar Online $145-175
2/24/2014 9th International Digital Curation Conference Webinar Online $145-175
Start Date Course Course Format Location Cost Range
Anytime DPE Digital Preservation Video Training Online Not Applicable Free
Anytime Using and Understanding PDF/A as a Preservation Format  Online Not Applicable $145-175
Anytime Standards for Digital Archives Online Not Applicable $145-175
Anytime Electronic Records, The Next Step! Online Not Applicable $145-175
Anytime Information Architecture Online Not Applicable $145-175
Anytime (PASIG) Boot-Camp Webinar Online Not Applicable $20 or less
Anytime Digital Preservation: An Introduction to the Basic Concepts Online Not Applicable $50 or less
Anytime Metadata Interoperability Online Not Applicable $39
Anytime NCDCR Digital Preservation Education Videos, Tutorials and Webinars Online Not Applicable Free

 Discussion Questions

1. What type of access problems come with trying to learn about digital preservation in a professional or semi-professional manner?

2. How would some of these classes or certificates be helpful in your present career pathway?


Digital Curriculum Laboratory (2013) Publications & Presentations Retrieved from

Kent State University (2013) Advanced Study in Digital Preservation Certificate (Post Master’s)  Retrieved from

The Library of Congress (2013) Digital Preservation Outreach & Education Retrieved from

Society for American Archivists (2013) Digital Archives Specialist Retrieved from

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2013) Certificate in Digital Curation Retrieved from

University of Washington (2013) Digital Forensics Certificate Retrieved from

Stages of Digital Preservation




Clements library, U of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Digital preservation is very important and there are several different methods of preserving our data.  University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has a great website explaining the different methods. It can be a very complicated and daunting process.  For further information, visit the website below. For now, a condensed definition of the preservation stages will be discussed.


The five stages of digital preservation are as follows.

 1- Acknowledge, 2- Act, 3 – Consolidate, 4-Institutionalize, and 5- Externalize. 

Stage 1- Acknowledge- It is vital to realize how important digital preservation is for everyone, not just a select few.  Acknowledgement is the first step in preservation.  More and more organizations are realizing the important of preserving our data, whether it is historical, educational, or otherwise.

Stage 2- Action- This is the planning stage where the projects begin and money is received.  Often, the projects are very short term and of limited nature.  But this is an important stage because skills are acquired during this period.  

Stage 3- Consolidate- This stage is the turning point from planning to implementing the ideas.  Funding is needed at this stage and a reliable and ongoing source needs to be found.  Short term digital preservation projects are implemented at this stage. 

Stage 4- Institutionalize- This step completes the process and gets the data ready for publishing or   storing the data.  New methods are being developed currently.    All the organizations involved get together and collaborate on the project at hand and complete the preservation. 

Stage 5- Externalize- This stage may involve building a digital archive to store the data and finding a safe location.  Organizations will be involved to finish this stage and one specific organization will maintain the storage facility online or in an office.  This stage is very vital because if the data is not safe guarded and maintained, all the work will have been wasted.  Hopefully, by this stage, everyone will be dedicated and understand how important maintaining the data preservation is for the long term success.  Data storage needs to be secure and safe. 




1. Why is it vital to preserve our data?

2. Do we already preserve data and  in what ways?




Learning about digital preservation: Helpful webinars

There are many ways to go about learning what digital preservation is, how it should be done, and how individuals can impact digital preservation in their communities. One of these helpful learning tools would be webinars.

Many great websites and organizations have hosted webinars for discussing digital preservation. Many of these webinars are presented on websites for long periods of time, for any and all to peruse at their convenience.

Webinars often are hosted as interactive learning experiences by an individual or a group of knowledgeable instructors. Webinars can be held as PowerPoint presentations, videos, or other multimedia presentations.


Possible information contained within helpful webinars about digital preservation:

Glossary of terms – what types of words you should be on the lookout for and what they mean

Short videos – can contain information from outside sources such as media clips to get a certain point across.

Blog listings – great places to learn more about what people in the information science profession think about digital preservation

Networking information

Listservs related to digital preservation, or group hosting the site.

Information from the American Library Association Preservation and Reformatting Section

Digital preservation standards – different standards from different organizations/viewpoints.


Lists and links of webinars currently available for an introduction to digital preservation:

Discussion Questions:

1. In your opinion, are webinars the best way to learn about digital preservation? Why or why not?

2. What do you think makes for a great/helpful/informative/interesting webinar?


American Library Association (2013) Preservation Webinars Retrieved from

Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (2013) Archived Webinar Materials Retrieved from

Connecting to Connections (2013) Caring for Digital Materials: Preventing a Digital Dark Age Retrieved from

Institute of Museum and Library Services (2013) Digital Preservation Retrieved from

The Library of Congress (2013) Digital Preservation in a Box Retrieved from

Library of Michigan (2013) Introduction to digital preservation Retrieved from