Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Digisam has a new website

Digisam has moved from Blogger to our own site. We will continue our blog on digisam.se!

Monday, November 26, 2012

DCH-RP Digital Cultural Heritage Roadmap for Preservation

For a few weeks ago, I participated at the 4th International Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Cultural Heritage - EUROMED 2012 in Limassol, Cyprus. The conference was a large multidisciplinary event focusing on research related to digital cultural heritage and new technologies. At the conference, I participated at the session about e-Infrastructure Programmes, where four different projects about digital infrastructures were presented.

The title of my presentation was “Cultural institutions and the e-infrastructures: DC-Net, Indicate, DCH-RP projects” and was about the overall vision of the common data infrastructure for digital cultural heritage by presenting the background picture with the two inter-related projects that were carried out, funded by the European Commission under the FP7: DC-NET, (Digital Cultural Heritage Network) and INDICATE(International Network for a Digital Cultural Heritage e-Infrastructure) that were the basis for the DCH-RP project. Research infrastructures play today an important role for digital cultural heritage as a potential channel for the delivery of advanced services to the digital cultural heritage. 

DCH-RP (Digital Cultural Heritage Roadmap for Preservation) project is a coordination action supported by EC FP7 e-Infrastructures Programme. The project aims to produce and validate a "Roadmap for Preservation," which describes how to preserve the digital heritage through an integrated e-infrastructure. Roadmap will be validated through the "proofs of concept", where cultural heritage institutions will experiment with e-infrastructure services, in collaboration with e-infrastructure providers. Practical tools for decision-makers will also be developed.

The project started on 1 October 2012 and will run for 24 months.

More information is available on the project website.

Sanja Halling, Digisam

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Europeana opens up digital cultural metadata for re-use!

Carl Curman, 1900, Swedish National Heritage Board

Europeana opens up over 20 million digital metadata for free re-use with CCO licenses (Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain Dedication). This is an important step towards open access to data. The descriptive data about European digital cultural heritage is now accessible for educational and creative purposes, developing of apps, new web services, etc.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Welcome to the English version of our blog! This is an abbreviation of the Swedish version where we would like to share some of our blog posts relevant for our international visitors.

Workshop in Stockholm: “European Cultural Heritage online. Aggregation and semantic web”

Photograph: Caspar Almelander

On the 23rd of May 2012 the EU funded project Linked Heritage and Digisam (the Swedish national coordination secretariat for digitisation of cultural heritage) at the Swedish National Archives have organised a workshop in Stockholm on two main themes: ”Cultural Heritage Aggregation in Europe” and ”Semantic web”. Audiences were the Linked Heritage project consortium and professionals from the cultural heritage institutions in Sweden. 

The workshop started with a welcome message from Börje Justrell, director of the ICT Departement at The National Archives (Swedish partner in the Linked Heritage project) who also made a brief presentation of the project and it’s main objectives - aggregating content to Europeana and coordinating standards and technologies for the enrichment of Europeana.

Breandán Knowlton, programme manager at Europeana Foundation, presented Europeana project, initiative of the European Commission, mostly known today as a continuously growing online access point for millions of digital items (photos, books, paintings, films, archival records, etc) from the cultural heritage institutions from all over Europe. Breandán highlighted also the importance of publishing digital files as Linked Open Data, which means files are licensed for free use and easily accessible, usable and re-usable.

After this Rolf Källman, director of Digisam presented the secretariat and our work with coordination of digitisation, access and preservation of digital cultural heritage in Sweden.

Christophe Dessaux from the French Ministry of Culture and Communication presented the aggregation of digital cultural heritage data to Europeana, demonstrated by examples from various European projects, followed by more detailed presentations of some of the projects, in particular Linked Heritage project. Henrik Summanen, National Heritage Board presented SOCH (Swedish Open Cultural Heritage) and Peder Andrén from the National Archives presented EU-funded project APE-net (Archives Portal Europe). Main topics were the use of the standards and possible options in developing the aggregation process. Focus was particularly on LIDO-standard, which was presented by Regine Stein from the German Documentation Center for Art History.

The second theme was dealing with how cultural information is presented on the web portals today and what possibilities there are for optimising search options. The potential in semantic web, through the use of linked open data was presented by Gordon McKenna from CollectionsTrust.

Marie-Véronique Leroi, French Ministry of Culture and Communication, presented terminologies and multilingualism for digital cultural heritage were specially highlighted as well as collaboration with Wikipedia and their role as a forthcoming actor in this field. Jakob Hammarbäck made a presentation of Wikimedia Sweden.

All the presentations from the workshop are available at the Linked Heritage website.

Workshop was also followed by an additional workshop on virtual exhibitions, organised by MICHAEL Culture Foundation working group on innovative services, presenting some best practices examples and innovative projects on virtual exhibitions. See here for more information:

Questions and Answers

Building labourer on a stone being hoisted up to building, Pitt St, Sydney, c. 1930s, by Sam Hood

No known copyright restrictions.

Currently we are going through and updating the currently existing recommendations on digitisation, regarding among other things the planning of digitisation projects, the digitisation processes, standards, formats, equipment, and much more. In the "FAQ" (see link here or in the right column) we discuss the most often used recommendations and reports on digitisation. We begin on a smaller scale, and plan to gradually build up a more extensive "virtual guide" for digitisation work (in Swedish).

Welcome to contribute with your own questions and problems and to follow our work!


Digital preservation as a requirement for the use of the digital cultural heritage of today and tomorrow

 Computer Catalog : Consolidated/Convair Aircraft Factory San Diego Equipment, San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive, 1950s, No known copyright restrictions.

Discussing digitisation of the cultural heritage is often very complicated. There are many and various debates regarding digitisation processes and digital access, often concerning difficulties caused by different types of material in different cultural heritage institutions. However, when talking about digital preservation there is an overall agreement about the importance of it. In the responses received from departments and agencies which served as a basis for a work process preceding the national strategy for digitisation, digital access and digital preservation established by the Swedish Government in 2011, there was an overall agreement on the necessity of a coordinated solution for long-term digital preservation for the cultural heritage sector.

We in Digisam are now considering what is needed in order to create coordinated preservation solutions. As a first step we arranged a seminar about digital preservation together with professionals from the National Archives.  We examined the way in which National Archives deal with digital preservation today, something they started with already in the 1970s when the first digital deliveries of archive material from government agencies begun.

The first issue to address is what digital preservation actually is. Usually, in the cultural heritage sector, we talk about ​​digital long-term preservation. But behind this term there is a whole variety of concepts and choices. Sometimes we also talk about short and medium term digital preservation solutions.

There are several different definitions of long-term digital preservation, often depending on the context. The LDP Centre (Centre for long-term digital preservation) website contains the following definition (originally in Swedish): which I think sums up the complexity in a good way: "Long-term preservation: A time period that is longer than the lifetime of the system (hardware and software). Preserving with a thought of "the next generations." Nowadays the average lifespan of digital systems is considered to be between three to seven years."

The LDP-center definition points out the essential question – that digital content managent should be done in the same strategic way as the preservation of analog information. In Swedish archival context, there is no upper time limit for the public documents that the public administration shall keep, which means that the freedom of information legislation  is not time limited. Much of the problem is that software and hardware only have a lifespan of a few years because of the fast development of technology. This means that you constantly need to migrate the digital information to ensure that it can be preserved for the future.

To handle the information in the future you also need to have comprehensible technical metadata of various kinds, not only in regard to the content itself but also metadata describing the structure and context. The archives sector often use conceptual models as the OAIS model, where the "archive packages" of metadata describes how the information should be read and also how the technological environment in which the information was created looked like. In recent years, several EU projects played an important role for working with digital preservation, including CASPAR, PLANETS, etc. The National Archives has also participated in the work on digital preservation in various European contexts, for example as a coordinator of PROTAGE, a research project that was about the application of agent technology in digital preservation.

EU project DC-Net has published a study on services for digital preservation: "Digital preservation services: state of the art analysis" which is available as a pdf from the project website. The report is based on the analysis that provides an overview of 190 available tools and services that support digital preservation. DC-Net project has also published "Service Priorities and best practices for digital cultural heritage", which also can be downloaded as a pdf file from the project website. It points on the long-term digital preservation as the most important priority.

In our dialogue with representatives of cultural heritage institutions, several expressed a desire to investigate whether a centrally managed cloud solution could be an option. It is almost certainly more cost-and resource-efficient, as opposite to all institutions investing resources in expertise, staff and building their own technological solutions. But to make it possible, it is extremely important to define the needs for preservation at different institutions in order to select the most suitable preservation solution. All digital information is not to be preserved "forever" but the preservation aspect is crucial even before the digitisation process starts. We have just begun our work with this complex issue and will write continuously as our work progresses. Do you work with digital preservation in the cultural heritage sector? Please send us your feedback!