I hope many archivists working in local authority services in the UK have completed the survey on digital preservation which is currently running. The results of the survey will be fed into an open consultation event to be held at The National Archives on 12 November 2008. Those of us who have been working on the survey and event planning are hoping that this will provide a first step towards a new alliance of interested organisations in the UK to co-ordinate action on digital preservation.
Throughout my Fellowship, I will be encountering examples of successful partnerships which have attempted to address the challenges of digital preservation. In Australia, I was particularly interested in two partnerships – the Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative (ADRI) and the Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR).
ADRI is the partnership most immediately applicable to the local authority sector in the UK, as it is an initiative formed solely of public record keeping authorities across Australia and New Zealand. Both initiatives, however, identified similar strengths and aims:
- enabling information sharing on best practice
- offering encouragement, support and reassurance to practitioners (archivists, librarians) and external stakeholders (eg record creators, users, government) alike
- identifying areas of joint interest
- providing a framework for recognition of partners’ work on new models and paradigms for digital preservation (eg testbed software solutions, model business cases, proposed standards for digital preservation)
Both projects also rely heavily on practical contributions from their member organisations, yet emphasise that these are generally projects which the members would be commited to doing anyway. The benefit to the community comes from pooling these resources towards a common Australasian approach to digital preservation and access within their respective communities (public records bodies in the case of ADRI; University Libraries in the case of APSR).