Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information Summary of
Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information Summary of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access Anne Van Camp June 16, 2010 University of Toronto Digital Curation Institute Launch Task Force Sponsors Thank you Cohen Acoustical AK Consulting Task Force and Beyond
Move the conversation from the Blue Ribbon Task Force to the broader community Do something now get ahead of the problem of digital data loss and degradation, create some urgency Focus on concrete actions for key common scenarios: Research Data Scholarly Discourse Collectively-produced web content Commercially-owned cultural content We Depend on Digital Information E-Government E-Business Research and Education
Digital Entertainment Communication and Information Access to Information Tomorrow Requires Preservation Today Digital Access and Preservation is a technical, management, policy, regulatory, social, and economic problem Key issues to resolve: What should we preserve? Who is responsible for digital information? Who pays for digital information and its supporting cyberinfrastructure?
How do we currently support access to digital information? Subscription Federal grants Advertisements Pay per service Donations, etc. Focus on the Long-term: The Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access BRTF Charge: 1. Conduct a comprehensive analysis of sustainable digital preservation
2. Identify and evaluate best practices 3. Make specific recommendations for action 4. Articulate next steps for further work brtf.sdsc.edu BRTF Deliverables December 2008: Interim Report Foci: Understand current practices Synthesize major themes Identify systemic challenges February 2010: Final
Report Foci: Structural analysis of 4 common scenarios Recommendations and Actions Next steps The BRTF Interim Report: Exploring the Landscape What are the requirements for economic sustainability of digital information? What are the roadblocks? What are the current challenges? What are best practices?
Economic Sustainability requires Recognition of the benefits of long-term access and preservation Incentives for decision-makers to act Means of selecting valued information for long-term preservation Mechanisms to support ongoing, efficient allocation of resources Appropriate organization and governance of preservation and access activities * From Blue Ribbon Task Force Interim Report What are the roadblocks? Systemic Challenges to Digital Preservation Long-term preservation funded by short-term allocations
Lack of alignment between stakeholders, roles, and responsibilities Inadequate institutional, enterprise and/or community incentives Findings from Blue Ribbon Task Force Interim Report Alignment Challenges: The Stakeholder Problem Many Stakeholders in digital preservation Stakeholders who benefit from use of the preserved asset Stakeholders who select what to preserve Stakeholders who own the asset Stakeholders who preserve the asset Stakeholders who pay
The greater the alignment between key stakeholder groups, the better the prospects for sustainable preservation Findings from Blue Ribbon Task Force Final Report Challenges for Stakeholders Prioritizing the value of digital preservation over more pressing short-term objectives Complacency that current practices are good enough Fear that digital access and preservation is too big to take on. Digital preservation is as big as the Information Age and as small as the resources you have control over Findings from Blue Ribbon Task Force Interim Report
Funding and Incentives Lessons Learned Diversity of funding streams is critical Non-monetary incentives are important. Corporate recognition and reputation enhancement are also incentives Multiple options to consider when selecting an economic model to support digital preservation.
Think out of the box: Public-spirited, mission-driven institutions sometimes resistant to monetizing and charging for a social good Findings from Blue Ribbon Task Force Interim Report Context to Findings Interim Report: Problem Space, Experience Economic Framework 4 Common Scenarios Final Report: General Findings & Recommendations BRTF Final Report:
Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet http://brtf.sdsc.edu/biblio/BRTF_Final_Report.pdf Key Finding sustainable economics for digital preservation is not just about finding more funds. It is about building an economic activity firmly rooted in a compelling value proposition, clear incentives to act, and well-defined preservation roles and responsibilities. Key Themes Value Expected benefits Judgment about priorities
Demand Incentives Motivation to act Vary across stakeholders & time Supply Roles & Responsibilities Who benefits? Preserves? Pays? Supply & Demand Scholarly Discourse Sustainability
Challenges Consensus about value, (less so for emerging forms) Actions Selection criteria for emerging forms Incentives can be misaligned Diffuse right to preserve to those willing to act in the public interest Roles & responsibilities
rooted in print era Align responsibilities with digital environment Research Data Sustainability Challenges Actions Vast amounts of data; uncertain future value, Establish priorities in data selection
Incentives diminish as decision-making becomes more granular Leading role for funders in mandating preservation Fragmented decisionmaking/preservation Coordination and scale can leverage value and reduce costs Commercially-Owned Cultural Content Sustainability Challenges
Actions Variable/diffuse demand; digital cultural heritage uncertain Define digital cultural heritage to aid selection Lack of hand-off mechanisms Public-private partnerships to ensure lifecycle curation Establish public right Private & public incentives to preserve that protects
private interests; enhance to preserve often private incentives competing Collectively-Produced Web Content Sustainability Challenges Actions Future demand not clearly Gather stakeholders under leadership of stewardship articulated organizations Incentives to preserve are Use public policy to
weak strengthen incentives Ownership diffused; no Contributors and hosting clear preservation services should lower actor among current barriers to 3rd-party archives stakeholders Some General Principles
Dynamics: Preservation is a series of decisions Benefits: Value of preservation based on use Selection: Scarce resources = prioritization Incentives: Strengthen, align, create Organization/Governance: Responsibilities must be clear; handoffs secure Resources: reflect community norms, flexible in face of disruptions, leverage economies of scale & scope Whos Involved: BRTF-SDPA Participants Blue Ribbon Task Force:
Fran Berman, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute [co-Chair] Brian Lavoie, OCLC [co-Chair] Paul Ayris, University College London Sayeed Choudhury, Johns Hopkins University
Elizabeth Cohen, AMPAS/Stanford Paul Courant, University of Michigan Lee Dirks, Microsoft Amy Friedlander, CLIR Vijay Gurbaxani, UC Irvine Anita Jones, University of Virginia Ann Kerr, Consultant Cliff Lynch, CNI Dan Rubinfeld, UC Berkeley Chris Rusbridge, DCC Roger Schonfeld, Ithaka Abby Smith Rumsey, Consultant Anne Van Camp, Smithsonian Liaisons
NSF: Chris Greer, Lucy Nowell, Sylvia Spengler, Phil Bogden Mellon Foundation: Don Waters Library of Congress: Laura Campbell, Martha Anderson NARA: Robert Chadduck Staff and Students Task Force Administration:
Susan Rathbun Communications: Jan Zverina, Ben Tolo Graduate Student Interns: Lori Eakin, Liz Bedford Resource Page Blue Ribbon Task Force home http://brtf.sdsc.edu/about.html Includes publications, bibliography, presentations, news coverage and much more
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