All you need to know about Digital Preservation




APARSEN is a Network of Excellence, bringing together views on digital preservation from researchers, institutions, universities, associations and commercial companies. It is a Digital Preservation Technologies project funded by the European Union 7th Framework Program RTD (research and development) that aims to ensure that the benefits from digital preservation/curation are realized effectively and efficiently.

Conceived to create a “Virtual Center of Excellence”(VCOE), APARSEN main objective relies on creating a common vision and continuing the journey of integration of the European digital preservation landscape. This is a fairly new organizational concept, that describes the aim to bring together the capabilities, knowledge and expertise from diverse teams across geographical and organization boundaries to create something exemplary and outstanding within its domain.

The VCOE is not a single centralized organization. Its skills reside largely in its members but it acts as a support mechanism to help to improve the way digital preservation is carried out.

The key to a successful VCOE is the vision which is shared by all members, including the know-how and “know-why” of digital preservation. The networks link expertise includes who to ask about particular areas. The unique feature of APARSEN is that it is building on the already established Alliance for Permanent Access (APA), a membership organization of major European stakeholders in digital data and digital preservation.

APARSEN will focus a considerable effort on promoting and supporting the spread of digital preservation best practice. This will include the production of publications, development of training courses and curricula, and hosting of workshops.

APARSEN will be examining issues relating to interoperability, intelligibility and scalability to help develop a roadmap for how data and digital objects can remain useable and understandable in the long-term.

APARSEN will provide some of the answers to how access can be maintained through work on identifiers and citability, data policies and governance, and digital rights.

APARSEN will address issues of trust through work on testing environments, authenticity and provenance, annotation and data quality, and repository certification.

APARSEN work on topics such as cost/benefit analysis, preservation services, storage, and business cases will seeks to bring together disparate research to help build sustainable repositories.

Who benefits

  • Researchers in digital preservation will have a common understanding of the digital preservation landscape, a common set of testing procedures and test data and a common repository of tools. Researchers in digital preservation will share a similar standing in almost every university as any other mainstream academic areas of research such as Physics or Humanities, with large numbers of graduates in digital preservation supplying a large demand in commerce, culture and society.
  • Research data users will be able to find, access and use a wider variety of digital objects than previously possible. In the long term they should be able to access, understand and use the massive range of digital information available to them from across the globe and across time
  • Research data producers will increasingly find preservation being built in to the workflows used to create data.
  • Information curators will find it more affordable to preserve digitally encoded information, which will be reflected in their cost models and preservation plans. Ultimately, they will have choice of well tested, robust, cost effective ways of preserving their digital holdings, and will have more confidence in their ability to preserve their holdings.
  • Decision makers will have a consistent overview of digital preservation and a view on cost/benefits; enabling them to take well founded decisions. External certification of the repositories for which they are responsible.
  • Suppliers will create products for preservation and use of digital objects based on the identification of standards, common services and tools.
  • Society will have an interoperable set of tools which will help them to survive and swim in, and even benefit from,the tidal wave of data.


Leading the vision: David Giaretta

A doctorate in Theoretical Physics and former astronomer, David Giaretta is charged with bringing all the strands of APARSEN together.

David has an extensive experience in planning, developing and running scientific and digital preservation initiatives, as revealed through a vast portfolio of projects –such CASPAR,PARSE.Insight, SCIDIP-ES-, workshops and many scientific papers and articles. Chairman of the panel which produced the OAIS Reference Model, member of the program committee of the PV series of conferences which focuses on preservation and adding value to scientific and technical data, David Giaretta took up the role of Director of the Alliance for Permanent Access in July 2010.

In 2003 he was awarded a ‘Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ for services to Space Science. In 2005 he co-organised the Warwick workshop “Digital Curation and Preservation: Defining the research agenda for the next decade”, which proved to be very influential in the UK and internationally. More recently he was rapporteur for the EU High Level Group on Scientific Data whose report “Riding the Wave” put forward a vision for 2030.

The APARSEN Rainbow

The APARSEN partners come from across the digital preservation spectrum. There are 30 partners in all, from research organisations, the cultural heritage sector, libraries, and private industry:

  • Coordinator: Science and Technology Facilities Council

  • Airbus Operations SAS
  • Alliance for Permanent Access to the Records of Science
  • Austrian National Library
  • CERN European Organisation for Nuclear Research
  • Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per l’Informatica
  • CSC – Tieteen tietotekniikan keskus Oy
  • Data Archiving and Networked Services
  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
  • Digital Preservation Coalition
  • European Space Agency
  • Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale-Nuove Tecnologie Per I Beni Culturali
  • Forschungsinstitut für Telekommunikation E.V
  • Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas, Institute of Computer Science
  • Globit – Global Information Technology GmbH
  • Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung,Helmholtz Association
  • Ibm Israel – Science and Technology Ltd
  • InConTec GmbH
  • INMARK Estudios y Estrategias
  • Koninklijke Bibliotheek
  • Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen – Knaw
  • Luleå University of Technology
  • Secure Business Austria
  • Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Stichting LIBER
  • Stichting Secretariaat van de International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers
  • Tessella
  • The British Library
  • University of Essex
  • University of Patras
  • University of Trento

Mark in your calendar

September 27, 2012

APARSEN workshop to be held at Open Access Days in Vienna,15:15 at University Vienna

More details click here.

November 6-7, 2012

APA conference to be held in ESA/ESRIN site in Frascati, near Rome. For more information click here.

December 10 2012

Data Seal of Approval conference, Florence, see here for more details.

December 11-12 2012

Cultural Heritage on line-Trusted Digital Repositories & Trusted Professionals, Florence. For more details see here.

Achievements after the first year

The APARSEN team has been working hard over the past year and some of the results about the important issue of Trust and digital preservation are now available. Key questions are addressed in the reports:

Research programmes in digital preservation are evolving and is still a dynamic process in many institutions. In APARSEN we will follow, document and compare upcoming strategies in digital preservation as being an indicator of relevance for institutions and a measure of integration. will provide key evidence as to the effectiveness of our defragmentation activities. What we would hope to see is an increasing coming together in the directions of research activities.

  • D11.1 Comparison of research programmes as a measure of integration. The aim in this first version is to capture the context of the digital preservation activities for most of the APARSEN members, then to bring together high level views of individual members’ digital preservation activities.
  • D11.2 Report on a Common Vision of Digital Preservation. This document, and its annual updates, provides snapshots of the discussions and plans and preparations, and recording the agreements reached on our common vision, for the creation of the VCoE arising from the APARSEN project.

APARSEN is working on an overview about standards, recommendations and projects dedicated to preservation activities in the different domains. Starting with the OAIS standard which is the base for most of the reviewed standards and standardisation activities APARSEN will give an overview about the current standard situation in different communities, and will describe preservation initiatives that have been working on to establish preservation standards, methods, tools and services in European and national funded projects.

  • D13.1 Intermediate Report about the Coordination of Common Standards

Persistent Identifiers– there are so many to choose from; will they all survive? The importance of linking data to people to organisations to publications, each with their own identifier systems – raises important challenges. We propose a practical framework to address these challenges.

Authenticity– how can we be sure the right evidence is collected as digital holdings are transformed and handed on to the next in the chain of preservation, and how can people evaluate that evidence coming from a multitude of systems? We have some of the answers

What about data quality? Can we be sure that the data sets supporting publications are also peer reviewed? We have no answers here but we at least identify the problems clearly – perhaps you have the solution.

Which repositories can be trusted to look after our valuable digitally encoded information?

The birth of the European Framework for Audit and Certification of Digital Repositories is described “warts and all” but it looks practical – not inventing a new standard but bringing together the DSA, DIN 31644 and ISO 16363 into a consistent 3 level system.

As digital preservation is an emerging field for research and development it needs reflection in education and training. APARSEN as a Network of Excellence will help to train the next generation of digital preservation experts by designing different types of curricula. APARSEN aims to define courses and develop training materials for digital preservation practitioners, providing instruction on topics covered by APARSEN’s research and integration activities as well as general digital preservation best practice.

APARSEN does background research in order to set the objectives and strategies for the development of training courses for digital preservation practitioners within the Network of Excellence.

  • D43.1 Survey for the assessment of training material/ Assessment of digital curation requirements

The aim of this background research was to draw together a comprehensive picture of the digital preservation training that is currently available and to identify the training needs of practitioners working within the field. It is essential that the training developed in this work package meets the highest standards of content, delivery and relevance as this training provision will mature into a core component of the Virtual Centre of Excellence that will evolve out of APARSEN.

  • D44.1 Communication Plan
  • D45.1 Stakeholder identification and communication strategy

For more details see our website at http://www.aparsen.eu

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