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Blue Ribbon Task Force
Report: Other Recommendations


February 26, 2010

By Jan Zverina 

The Final Report from the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access includes a wide range of recommendations for decision makers and stakeholders to consider as they seek economically sustainable preservation practices for digital information. The following divides recommendations according to various entities, from national and international agencies to individuals:

National and international agencies: Trusted international, national, and public institutions i.e. libraries, archives, museums, research institutes, and consortia.

  • Create mechanisms for public/private partnerships to align or reconcile commercial and cultural forms of benefits. Such organizations play a critical convening role, seeding cooperation and collaboration, and ensuring representation of all stakeholders.
  • Convene expert communities to address the selection and preservation needs of materials of particular interest to the public for which there is no natural stewardship (Web-based materials, digital orphans).
  • Take expeditious actions to reform national and international copyright legislation to address digital preservation needs.
  • Create financial incentives to encourage private entities to preserve digital materials on the public behalf.

Funders and sponsors of data creation: Private and public agencies, and foundations. 

  • Create preservation mandates when possible, ensuring they adhere to community selection criteria, specifying roles and responsibilities either to individuals or, more appropriately, to the institutions.
  • Invest in building capacity. The Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Science Foundation, and JISC have set important precedents for supporting capacity building within specific communities of practice. But the need to seed stewardship capacity and to develop sustainable funding models should be a high priority for all funders.
  • Provide leadership in training and education for 21st century preservation. Organizations such as the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, National Agricultural Library, National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowments for the Arts and for the Humanities in the U.S.; and the British Library, National Archives, and JISC in the United Kingdom each have a remit for promoting digital preservation skills.
  • Fund the modeling and testing of preservation strategies such as options, working out domain-specific understandings of lifecycle to create a timeline of predictable risks, strategies to meet them, and triggering mechanisms to address them.

Organizations with a stake in long-term access: Universities, research institutions, private companies, third-party archives, professional societies, and trade organizations.

  • Secure preservation of high-value institutional materials by making explicit roles and responsibilities across organizational boundaries.
  • Develop preservation strategies that assign responsibilities for achieving outcomes. Service-level agreements, MOUs with third-party archives should include contingency plans for handoffs; and putting such monitoring systems in place internally.
  • Leverage resources, and create economies of scope and economies of scale by partnering with related organizations.
  • Work with domain and preservation experts to ensure that personnel are fully equipped with needed technical skills in selecting and curating materials.

Individuals: Principal investigators, data creators, individual authors, creators, and scholars.

  • Provide nonexclusive rights to preserve content they create in the public domain or distributed on publicly accessible venues.
  • Partner with preservation experts early in the lifecycle of their digital data, to ensure data are ready to hand off to an archive.
  • Actively participate in professional societies and relevant organizations in the development of stewardship best practices and selection priorities.

 

 

Media Contact:
Jan Zverina, BRTF-SDPA Communications, (858) 534-5111 or jzverina@sdsc.edu



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