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Digital Preservation System (DPS)

The DPS project started in September 2016 to offer an appropriate preservation and access service by the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU). The DPS service must collect, store, preserve and make accessible the digital contents produced by the EU Institutions (including the European University Institute (EUI) with whom the HAEU cooperate) and material deriving from private archives from eminent European politicians or movements and associations that contributed to the EU development. 

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Presentation of the DPS project

The significant properties are tailored on the user requirements of the Designated Community, namely, the  EU Institutions, the  private archives as producers of content, and the end-users, that is  all EU citizens interested in accessing the contents preserved by the DPS.

Through a specific Governing Board (GB) the DPS will guarantee for the deposited digital contents, the maintenance and respect of any issues related to content collection, ownership, copyright, intellectual property, privacy, provenance, security, disaster recovery, legal constraints and ethical principles.

The DPS will be deployed alongside the existing Historical Archive System and Current Archive System and interfaces with both of them in order to exchange data. The focus on digital preservation of a variety of primary historical sources, either digitally born or digitized paper materials, aims to provide academics and researchers with online access to a unique selection of official documents, handwritten texts, emails, photographs and audio and video tracks. These so-called ‘digital holdings’ will be stored on the IT infrastructure physically located in the EUI premises and designed to preserve these sources indefinitely.

The HAEU faces the challenge of long term prospective of its DPS knowledge base with a two-step approach policy:

DPS mission and objectives have been clarified in terms of the current Designated Community, the content collection description, significant properties (e.g., identification, authenticity, integrity, provenance) and relations with other objects, then the current user requirements and the type of service have been described. Obviously all these elements can change in time or coverage, thus an appropriate policy to monitor and update them is put in execution.

The instruments and procedures to develop a ‘trusted digital repository’ were identified (and are under development) in line with the most relevant worldwide criteria and recommendations of the Trusted Digital Repositories guidelines and standards, like the ISO 14721 (OAIS), the PREMIS and the ISO 16363. As clear roles and responsibilities architecture are defined, a Governing Board is set up, while a written IT strategy for LTDP, security plan, and a risk assessment procedure is established with a scheduled check and audit calendar. While IT technologies are intrinsically limited in time, a long term strategy implies that the choice of the most suitable technologies, the definition of the control/updating procedures of technologies, and the definition of the procedures to refresh and verify the data integrity, shall offer guarantees for undetermined preservation.

Last but not least the  DPS will distinguish between the following classes of security management procedures and technologies, for both of them it implements appropriate technologies and controls: perimeter security, including for example security of the data farm access, password policy, user authentication and authorization function, firewall, anti-intrusion control; data integrity, including for example all the checksum and protection technologies, antivirus, fire protection,  backup and remote copying, recovery procedures; cybersecurity.

DPS: where we are

The project is carried out by the joint effort of the HAEU and the Italian information technology group, Dedagroup. For the project implementation, the methodological approach is based on two major releases (Release 1 and Release 2) going together with a number of parallel deliveries and project phases. This approach assures an appropriate transformation management on HAEU processes, including education and training themes and limit the risks associated with the introduction of new information technologies.

The project is heavily based on the use of open source software products such as: Archivematica, Atom, Mule ESB, Alfresco community. 

As from the beginning of the year the following achievements have been reached:

  • the first version of the Preservation Strategic Plan;
  • the DPS Information Model, focusing in particular on the conceptual and logical information model according to the DPS requirements and Archivematica data model. Dedagroup Lab installation with Archivematica; 
  • the setup of the HAEU Test environment servers and Archivematica installation completed by EUI ICT service and Dedagroup teams;
  • the Functional Specifications with Use Cases final review ;
  • the Mapping of Archivematica micro services with  Use Cases and design of DPS Activity Diagrams UML;
  • the table with descriptive metadata for each content category.The analysis phase took more time, due to the decision to describe the complete process from the user point of view, anticipating in Release 1, functionalities of Release 2;
  • the demonstration of Archivematica functionalities for the all the processes Transfer, Backlog, Appraisal, Ingest, Archive, Administration and Preservation Planning using test collection supplied by HAEU.

In the following weeks we foresee to:

  • Finalize and deliver documentation with technical structure with design and configuration specifications for the in scope DPS software components (including API CAS and API HAS, ISILON Integration)
  • Finalize the current development of  the  API HAS-DPS via MULESB.
  • Finalize the HAEU storage platform (Isilon) configuration and the integration test with DPS-AM(Archivematica).
  • Setup the integration between the front-end interface Atom and Archivematica.
  • …and of course write the test plan for all the above!


Cognitive Computing:

The HAEU begin to question the possibility of applying cognitive computing in the context of digital historical archives. New scenarios and sustainable pathways could, in fact, be introduced to develop value through new services of fruition of the preserved heritage.

To begin to develop a vision and a common language we are thinking of organizing meetings with specialists to talk about the subject of cognitive computing  and artificial intelligence through a theoretical description and its potential applicability in "real solutions" applied in particular to the field of historical archives.






Page last updated on 19 August 2017

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