Work package 6: Long-term sustainability (guidelines for long-term preservation of digital files)

Start month: 4
End month: 30
WP-Leader: NIMk


  • Providing partner institutions with guidelines to implement a long time preservation strategy for the digitised material
  • Indicating a best practice method for providing digital storage infrastructure that allows for long time preservation of digital files
  • Identifying the state-of-the-art on use of persistent identifiers

Description of work

Digitising any cultural heritage collection does not stop once the digital reproductions have been made; they should get disclosed online but also be preserved for future consultation. WP6 will provide partner institutions with guidelines on how to develop and implement a long time strategy to preserve the newly created digital reproductions and their metadata in the best possible way. Most of the partners have already been confronted with digital preservation issues in the past. But the smaller partners are often deemed to work with the limited resources to which they have access, and which might result in a rather limited attention towards long time preservation.

While some institutions might already have implemented a well functioning RAID-system, others might still be working with individual CD-ROMs or no back-up at all. WP6 will therefore identify best practices in providing for a digital storage infrastructure for the long time preservation of digital files. A digital storage infrastructure does not automatically mean setting up a physical hardware repository. WP6 will pay attention to new, tailor-made forms of hosting and preserving digital files (e.g. cloud hosting) in order to fit the needs of each individual content provider in the project.

One of the problems Europeana is confronted with at present is the fact that weblinks to digital reproductions on a server get broken. The most common method of discovering and locating resources on the World Wide Web relies today on allocating an identifier to resources. Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs, specify the location of a resource by including a protocol, domain name and the actual name of the file within which the resource resides. Although URLs have been serving the combined purpose of identifying a resource and describing its location for some time now, they are not a satisfactory means of persistently identifying a digital resource. The URL simply points to the current location of the resource. If a resource is moved to a new location, the previous URL is no longer useful and links to the resource that are embedded in other documents or databases also become redundant. A persistent and unique identifier would preserve access to that resource regardless of its location, provided the persistent identifier is maintained with the correct current associated location when the resource is moved. WP6 will identify the state-of-the-art in the use of persistent identifiers, so that DCA content partners will be aware of this solution and be able to implement it for online referring to their digital reproductions.


  • D6.1. Guidelines on the creation of a long time preservation strategy for digital reproductions of and metadata on contemporary artworks (M14)
  • D6.2. Best practices in providing a digital storage infrastructure for long time preservation of digital files (M28)


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