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The Preservation of Digital Materials

The Preservation of Digital Materials Library Technology Reports Feb/Mar 2008

  • "As a specialty, digital preservation has to be one of the most interesting areas ever to emerge in the domain of information science." — "The Preservation of Digital Materials,"

Library Technology Reports 44:2, "Introduction" Priscilla Caplan, author of the second issue of Library Technology Reports in 2008, is Assistant Director for Digital Library Services at the Florida Center for Library Automation, where she oversees the Florida Digital Archive, a preservation repository for use by the eleven state universities in Florida.

Caplan, who has been involved with digital preservation for more than ten years and has published widely on the subject, lends her expert perspective to this fascinating and extremely important area of information science in "The Preservation of Digital Materials."

"This issue of Library Technology Reports," she notes, "is intended to provide a relatively brief, relatively comprehensive introduction to digital preservation."

Digital Preservation Defined
In the February/March 2008 issue of LTR, chapter 1 ("What Is Digital Preservation?") describes digital preservation in terms of what it is (definitions) and what it does (goals and strategies), and chapter 2 ("Preservation Practices") provides a look at preservation strategies and the management of materials.

Chapter 3, "Foundations and Standards," introduces core frameworks and standards, while chapter 4 ("Support for Digital Formats") delves into the heart of digital preservation, digital formats.

The Who and What of Digital Preservation
In chapter 5, "Preservation Programs and Initiatives," Caplan reviews various initiatives around the globe, including NDIIPP (National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program) in the U.S., the United Kingdom's Digital Preservation Coalition and Digital Curation Centre, and the European Commission's Digital Preservation Europe and PLANETS and CASPAR. And in chapter 6, "Repository Applications," Caplan covers institutional repositories, such as DSpace, Fedora, and EPrints. The author also delineates such applications as DAITSS, LOCKSS, and aDORe in this chapter.

Finally, in chapter 7 ("Special Topics") Caplan outlines unique projects, including electronic journals, records and archives, Web harvesting, databases, new media art, and personal collections.

About the Author
Priscilla Caplan is Assistant Director for Digital Library Services at the Florida Center for Library Automation, where she oversees the Florida Digital Archive, a preservation repository for the use of the eleven state universities of Florida. She has been involved with digital preservation for nearly ten years and has published several articles on the subject, including “The Florida Digital Archive and DAITSS: A Working Preservation Repository Based on Format Migration” (International Journal on Digital Libraries, March 2007) and “Ten Years After” (Library Hi Tech 25, no. 4, 2007). She co-chaired with Rebecca Guenther the OCLC/RLG working group that produced the PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata, and she currently serves as a member of the PREMIS Editorial Committee.

She is also interested in standards for digital libraries and has chaired several standards committees, including the NISO Standards Development Committee (1997–2002) and the NISO/EDItEUR Joint Working Party on the Exchange of Serials Subscription Information (2002–2006). She is the author of Metadata Fundamentals for All Librarians (ALA Editions, 2003). She holds an MLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2007 she received the LITA/Library Hi-Tech Award for Outstanding Communication for Continuing Education.

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