Library experts on cultural heritage preservation take care of open source tools
Working together on open source tools based on open standards is very important for those involved in the preservation of digital information, says Barbara Sierman, board member of the Open Preservation Foundation.
The foundation, some 15 libraries in Europe and the US, is maintaining a growing collection of open source solutions used for digital preservation.
Preserving digital files and objects is an expensive task, Sierman said, speaking at the ODF Plugfest in The Hague, earlier this week. “We’re still looking for the best approach”, the foundation board member added. “There are a lot of file formats, and a lot of different digital objects. Every time, we need to investigate what is the best way to preserve these. Collaboration is very important here.”
In the Hague, Sierman applauded the developers of tools implementing the Open Docucment Standard ODF. “The work you are doing benefits us, because we struggle with preserving file formats.” The association is in it for the long-term, she explained, aiming to preserve digital objects for decades, “and for eternity”.
“Our vision is to find shared solutions for effective digital preservation. It is a relatively new activity, it has only been around for twenty years.”
The Open Preservation Foundation is stewarding dozens of software tools. Some of these are mature; the result of research projects funded by the EU, others are still being developed in new and ongoing digital conservation projects.
One example is image validation tool Jpylyzer, one of the results of the Scape Project, a digital conservation research project that ended in 2014, and was funded in part by the European Union (FP7). The Open Preservation Foundation took over the project.
Another example is Jhove, an extensible software framework for performing format identification, validation, and characterization of digital objects. Development of JHOVE was funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York.
The foundation is also working on the ultimate PDF/A validator, the veraPDF validation library. “There are many tools that can create PDFs, but not many PDFs are strictly conform the specification. This causes problems for us, librarians and archivists”, Ms Sierman said.