Our team of highly skilled and experienced digital preservation experts are ready to help you understand your digital preservation needs
What we do
Almost every organisation today depends on the use of digital content. The need to keep digital materials varies; there may be compelling legal drivers for retention, including data protection, copyright, or compliance with company law; there may be conditions of funding dependent on the preservation of research data sets; or you may be keeping materials for heritage and historical reasons.
Whatever the reason, if you find yourself dependent on digital content for your work, and there is a need for continued access, processing, and replay of such content, then you have a digital preservation need.
This is where we come in.
What we offer
We offer consultancy in four broad areas:
1. Strategic Planning: This can include digital preservation, but can also bring improvements and economies in intellectual control, workflows, records management, and storage.
2. Bespoke training: See this page for our range of currently available training courses.
3. Custom training: Tell us your training needs, and we’ll develop a course and bring the training to you. We can bring in external specialists as needed.
4. Facilitated Workshops: Not sure what needs doing? We’ll lead a structured workshop for you and your stakeholders, through a combination of mini-presentations, brainstorming, and discussions, then write up the results for you with options and suggested action plans.
Our team of experts come from professional backgrounds in archives and libraries, and have considerable experience in the fields of records management, digital preservation, research data management, project management, and working with IT developers. They also have extensive experience delivering training and providing consultancy.
Click here to see our values with regards to digital preservation.
Who could benefit?
We have provided consultancy to:
Many commercial organisations create and store digital assets that represent significant value. They have reuse value in the form of financial investment, legal protection, or as brand content for future re-marketing. Investment in digital preservation for these assets represents investment in the company.
Memory institutions are dedicated to the preservation and protection of historical and heritage content. While larger memory institutions are evolving their own digital preservation approaches, smaller archives and local history offices may lack the skills, experience or in-house expertise to deal with digital preservation confidently. No matter what level you’re at, we can help.
HEIs are faced with a growing institutional requirement to address digital preservation of research datasets, sometimes compelled to do so by research funding bodies. Storage is at a premium and the size and complexity of these datasets present considerable challenges, not all of which can be solved by the Institutional Repository or the research data management plan. We can help you develop your digital preservation strategy.
While many UK government bodies can rely on their own and TNA’s digital preservation programmes, there remain instances where non-governmental agencies are involved, or cross-sectoral projects where the responsibility for preservation is not clear. Where there is still a need for public access to the outputs, whether digitised records or born-digital content, we are able to provide strategic advice and suggest suitable capture methods and preservation strategies.
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Client: Commercial design studio
What was the need: Studio recognized the potential historic and cultural long-term value of their designs, which only exist in digital form (CAD files, 3-D models, Adobe products, etc.) and wanted to preserve them
What was our approach: Assessment of client needs; determination of systems, formats, and applications in scope; identification of stakeholders
What was the solution: A strategy which allowed for integration of digital preservation with their existing paper archive, allowing for continuity with cataloguing and conformance with archive standards
What was the outcome: A snapshot approach for the capture of important stages in the life of design projects, leading to preservation of outputs in neutral formats such as XML
Client: Multinational alcoholic drinks company
What was the need: Wanted to create a digital archiving and preservation strategy and system
What was our approach: Assessment of current practices using benchmarking tools and reference models; interviews with staff; appraisal of existing systems
What was the solution: Re-purpose an existing supported and funded CMS to serve as a preservation system
What was the outcome: We created a workflow for doing this; persuaded the system owner to co-operate. This represented a considerable saving in investment as a viable alternative to purchasing an expensive
Client: Multinational alcoholic drinks company
What was the need: Expand archival collection strategy to include company websites
What was our approach: Investigated how websites and social media were being used to promote the brands; identified owners of accounts and content creators
What was the solution: Raised awareness of the value of the resources; developed workflows for content capture based around the timelines of company projects
What was the outcome: Archives started to become central to business needs; valuable content, otherwise lost, became a useful resource
Archives and Libraries
Client: Specialist subject library / collecting agency within an HFE Institution
What was the need: An updated selection policy that took account of the special needs of born-digital and digitized content; and a preservation strategy
What was our approach: Assessment of capability using benchmarking tools; interviews with curators and collections managers
What was the solution: Scaling-up of the delivery mechanisms for digital content, especially the picture library, using a database, more sophisticated metadata, better web delivery, and improved copyright mechanisms
What was the outcome: Library ready to begin first steps towards digital preservation and improved services, through collaboration with internal departments, IT staff and external funders
Client: Information and research service whose remit is to provide impartial advice to its members
What was the need: Feasibility study to digitize over 100 years of printed volumes, and make them available online
What was our approach: Shelf counts; estimates; interviews with stakeholders; assessment of support
What was the solution: Scan on demand; implement a selective, phased approach; keep project in-house; create finding aids first
What was the outcome: Searchable online catalogue of resources, scans created and supplied in line with consumer demand
Higher Education Institutions
Client: A human resources department in a large Higher Education Institution
What was the need: To reduce office space taken up by paper HR records; and to realise efficiency, benefits and costs savings from the scanning and digitization of such content
What was our approach: Staff interviews and surveys; assessment of business needs; assessment of existing systems
What was the solution: Design of workflows, metadata schemas, and improved content management approaches
What was the outcome: Machine-readable scans; agreed common terminology for identifying important business records; better sharing and dissemination of content; long-term HR records preserved in line with legislative requirements and obligations
Client: Centre for excellence in providing sustainable education content for Higher Education
What was our approach: Intensive testing of resources, identification of barriers, finding where the desired content was being kept
What was the solution: Proposed rethinking the resources as content that could be stored and replayed in a repository, rather than on a website; devised ways to remove the dependency on Flash and other deprecated elements
What was the outcome: Transformed unmanaged web content into a managed repository of useful resources
Client: Higher education institution and its library
What was the need: Problems with backlog of digital materials, some of which whose use and purpose was unclear, and some of which were taking up too much space. Further, certain content types were not suitable for network storage.
What was our approach: Held a workshop to discuss user needs and intended use of digital content; identified processing needs, user needs, context and meaning of the objects, and not just their storage needs
What was the solution: A proposal to build new storage and processing environments which would allow for improved management and cheaper storage of this backlog
What was the outcome: Significant cost savings, and protection of important digital assets
Governmental and Non-governmental Organisations
Client: International non-governmental agency
What was the need: Integration of two extant systems, so that electronic records from one system could be preserved permanently in another; with strict application of access rules and permissions in both systems
What was our approach: Detailed forensic examination of the proposed content, its workflows, its metadata, and its users
What was the solution: We designed a complete workflow for the process, from export to ingest, package building, and access; with close attention paid to authenticity and retention of unique identifiers.
We also devised a method: to maintain links between a live system and the preservation system.
What was the outcome: Our solution was not a simple IT export of content between systems, but one based on sound principles of archival standards, records management principles, and integrity of content.
Client: International non-governmental agency
What was the need: A comprehensive digital preservation strategy, with risks, priorities, cost benefits, and proposals; an understanding of their capability to support it
What was our approach: Benchmark assessments of capability, interviews with content creators and process owners
What was the solution: Integration of electronic record-keeping systems; method for preservation of digitised materials; comprehensive social media preservation programme; an approach to the capture and management of complex content distributed across multiple live systems.
What was the outcome: Agency now equipped to deal with its unique digital preservation issues, through a collaborative and innovative approach
Client: Campaigning body with an interest in the environment
What was the need: Advice on how to digitize back numbers of a periodical and make them freely accessible to members
What was our approach: Meetings with project team to establish actual requirements
What was the solution: Gave advice on best practice, technical considerations, storage, preservation, metadata and rights - above and beyond the original requirements
What was the outcome: A comprehensive guide to carrying out a digitization project that would deliver searchable, shared and accessible content, and provide for its long-term safety
Client: Digital archives of a legislative body
What was the need: Minimum metadata standard for digital preservation of electronic records, websites, and digitized images
What was our approach: Surveyed content owners and understood preservation needs; identified all metadata sources and their creators, comprehensively; identified important events in content creation chain
What was the solution: A tailored version of the PREMIS metadata standard; a mix of technical and descriptive metadata; a clear explanation of how each element was applied
What was the outcome: A fit-for-purpose metadata schema that was a unique fit to the content types, was standards-compliant and allowed for future interoperability
Client: Body with an interest in historically significant artefacts relating to a specific industry
What was the need: Feasibility of building a collection of contemporary websites that relate to aspects of the industry
What was our approach: We ran trial website crawls of a representative sample (10%) of the whole
What was the solution: A focused selection policy, an understanding of the likely crawler traps revealed by the trial study, and how to resolve them
What was the outcome: A managed collection of content held in a preservable state, that would be of immediate and lasting benefit to the industry
Our Values With regards to digital preservation
- We will listen to your needs, your staff, and your users.
- We always respect legal requirements for record creation and record-keeping, and how they impact on digital preservation.
- If something you do is working well, we believe you shouldn’t have to change it because of a digital preservation project, especially when there are suitable practices already in place.
- We don't push a particular product, or piece of software.
- We don't insist on adherence to models or theories.
- We will recommend standards, if they are helpful to the case.
- We provide examples, precedents, case studies, and ideas that will help you to enact digital preservation.
- We believe that selection, appraisal, and understanding of context and provenance will all help you to do digital preservation better.
- We recommend taking a holistic view, based on assessments and an understanding of lifecycle management.
- We simplify complex situations, and we see to the heart of what needs to be preserved.
- We know how to speak to IT managers and find common ground between IT and information professionals (such as librarians and archivists), reflecting our own backgrounds.
- Digital preservation has an important part to play, integrating with your electronic records management.
- We aim to find ways of working that will allow repurposing of existing systems, IT and software; we don’t always recommend buying a new system.
- We are good at bringing staff together who were previously siloed; we help build ad-hoc teams for digital preservation projects.
- We could help your entire organisation or address one specific problem.