NDSA has released Levels of Digital Preservation v2.0

Originally minted in 2013 (original Matrix at NDSA’s OSF site), the Levels of Digital Preservation provide a matrix by which to assess and guide one’s digital preservation program from a technological point of view. In early 2018, the NDSA sent out a call to the larger digital preservation community asking for interest in updating the Levels of Preservation.  Response was high – 125 individuals responded from across North America and beyond! NDSA then convened the Levels of Preservation Working group, which divided up into subgroups to tackle the many areas the community wanted to see addressed in a Levels Reboot. These subgroups included:

  • Revisions: charged with updating the Levels Matrix, including the normalization of language across the functional areas and levels.
  • Implementation: surveyed the community to see how the Levels had been used in the past and what people did and did not liked about its structure and content.  This information (survey results at NDSA’s OSF site) was one of the sources used to assist with the revisions.  This subgroup collaborated with the Revisions subgroup on an implementation guide Using the Levels of Digital Preservation: an overview for V2.0.
  • Assessment: explored how the Levels had been used to assess digital preservation efforts (report at NDSA’s OSF site), and have developed an Assessment Tool based on the updated Levels Matrix.
  • Curatorial: charged with identifying and crafting the basis of a series of discussion and decision points around how collections materials can be mapped to the Levels and other elements within an organizations’ preservation strategy.

The next steps will be to create a subgroup to address the development of strategy and additional materials to support the Levels of Digital Preservation v2.0 educational and advocacy efforts. Please contact Bradley Daigle at ndsa.digipres [at] gmail [dot] com if you are interested in working on this or being added to the Levels of Preservation Google Group.

New EDUCAUSE Publication: Research Data Curation

Now Available
Research Data Curation: A Framework for an Institution-Wide Services Approach

An EDUCAUSE Working Group Paper

Universities and colleges should consider an institution-wide approach to developing services for managing and curating research data. This paper identifies service areas and includes a framework for institutions to document current research data curation services and responsibilities. This timely, informative paper can also be found in the EDUCAUSE library and on the EDUCAUSE Working Groups website:

The publication is available to all EDUCAUSE members for one year, following which it made public. A full list of member institutions can be found at: For more information about this paper and EDUCAUSE Working Groups, contact

JAO Technology Matters in Archives – “Email: An Appraisal Approach”

The second “Technology Matters in Archives” column has been published, “Email: An Appraisal Approach.”

“For nearly a half-century, we in the archives, records, and information management professions have either taught our institutions and organizations, or been taught, that a record is a record, no matter the media or manner in which it is created. It is the informational value contained within the item that determines whether it is a record. If it is a record, we then need to identify the temporal value of that information to determine its lifecycle, that is how long it should be maintained and its final disposition, either destruction or accessioning to an archive. However, there still is significant pushback from our institutions’ desires to treat electronic or born digital records as something different from those that are paper-based and/or analog-born, and subsequently want to monolithically manage electronic/digital records’ lifecycles as a single record type…This problem exists throughout our organizations from our enterprise systems that manage human resources and financial data, to our shared drives, to the darkest and dankest quagmire of all, our email systems. Had Dante Alighieri been a records or information management professional in the twenty-first century, he may have assigned one level of his hell solely to email.” Join me as I discuss potential solutions for applying sound records management to email.

Visit my “Scholarship” page for additional links to publications and presentations.

“The Person in the Middle” Episode 8 of “An Archivist’s Tale” Podcast

While on a trip to New York City, recently to teach a workshop for the Society of American Archivists, I also had the great pleasure to be interviewed for  “An Archivist’s Tale” podcast ( The podcast entails archivists in conversation with archivists, discussing their work and passions and how they care for the historical record and present the storied past. It is hosted by husband and wife team Karen Trivette and Geof Huth.

Presentation “Balancing the Ideal vs. Real”

I recently participated in a lightning round panel, When the Rubber Hits the Road: Real-World Digital Preservation, at the annual meeting of the Midwest Archives Conference. My presentation, “Balancing the Ideal vs. Real,” examined the challenges we have encountered in implementing digital preservation environment, the Digital Collections system, here at OSU. My fellow panelists included, Laura Alagna, Northwestern University; Nat Wilson, Carleton College; Sarah Dorpinghaus and Doug Boyd, University of Kentucky, Michael Shallcross, University of Michigan; an Cinda
May, Indiana State University.

New column “Technology matters in archives” in the Journal of Archival Organization

The Journal of Archival Organization has been relaunched. I am editing and authoring a new column, “Technology Matter in archives.” New to the Journal of Archival Organization, the column examines how technology affects archives and archivists. The inaugural column explains the nature of the column and sets the stage for topics and issues that it will address. It examines the meaning of the term technology. Further, the column explores the notion of technological dependence—not just dependence on digital or electronic systems—as a lens in which to examine the archival enterprise in grappling with twenty-first century issues. Concluding with the suggestion that technology can be considered from three categorical points of view: soft (philosophical approaches and practices), medium (codified processes, guidelines and standards) and hard technology (hardware and software). I am seeking contributors, so feel free to contact me.

Book Review Published…

My review of Digital Preservation Essentials has been published in The American Archivist. Digital Preservation Essentials is one of the latest installments in Trends in Archives Practice, the Society of American Archivists’ evolving modular series intended to fill significant gaps in the archival literature. The series currently covers topics in sixteen modules that include themes of archival arrangement and description, appraisal and acquisition strategies, becoming a trusted digital repository, rights in the digital era, teaching with primary sources, and this volume on digital preservation basics. Erin O’Meara and Kate Stratton’s two modules—“Preserving Digital Objects” and “Digital Preservation Storage”—in this slim volume pack a punch, proving to be engaging and accessible. Go here for a full listing of publications and presentations…

Down the Rabbit Hole: Data Normalization, Migrations and Access within a Digital Preservation Framework

Down the Rabbit Hole: Data Normalization, Migrations and Access within a Digital Preservation Framework

A presentation to the Digital Library Federation (DLF) in Milwaukee, WI on November 7, 2016 that addresses data wrangling efforts, the creation of workflows, and the challenges encountered while preparing resources for migration. A review of the de-duplication efforts, development of a collection assessment tool and its implementation, and techniques to transform, normalizes, and link metadata to the accompanying digital resources will be discussed.

MOMMMA: Master Objects Migration and Metadata Mapping Activity — A Presentation to CPN-DAM

MOMMMA: Master Objects Migration and Metadata Mapping Activity—A Presentation to CPN-DAM, a virtual conference of the Central Plains Network for Digital Asset Management on November 17, 2016.

So you’ve got nearly 2 million digital files from 8 collecting units with minimum, scattered or unknown metadata—how do you prepare to migrate those objects into a digital preservation repository that acts as a “light archive” providing access to your digital collections? This presentation will delve into data wrangling efforts, the creation of workflows, and the challenges encountered while preparing digital resources for migration from a limited access FTP server into a preservation environment created in FEDORA, layered with Hydra heads for access and other functional requirements. We will discuss project planning, the de-duplication efforts, development of a collection assessment tool and its implementation that allows us to prioritize migration efforts, as well as techniques used to transform, normalize, restructure, and link metadata to the accompanying digital resources.