Preservation services are services offered to an organisation (repository, archive) carrying out long-term preservation of digital material, and assisting that organisation in carrying out the tasks relating to preservation. The services might be services in the information technology sense (as in “web services”), or they might be human services such as consultancy or audit. Indeed it is this wide spectrum of possibilities that makes the landscape of services so varied and in need of study.

The party providing the services might be external to the preserving organisation (a commercial supplier, for example), though it need not be—or even if the services originate outside the organisation, they might be configured and operated entirely within it. Services (in the software sense) may be contrasted with tools, which are regarded as standalone special-purpose software typically running on the desktop, though inevitably there is some overlap. In any case services gain their benefit from being widely applicable across a user base, meaning that development effort is for the benefit of all.

Examples of preservation services include:

  • a registry repository of representation information, available for use by different repositories in the same domain
  • a fully functional preservation platform covering ingest operations, backups and integrity checking, and probably other operations as well
  • carrying out audit and certification of a repository to give confidence in its long-term ability to preserve its holdings.

Recognition of where there may be benefits of common infrastructure components will accelerate developments and link in to the e-infrastructures that are being put in place.

Some important types of Services

Relevant project documents

The deliverable D21.1 Overview of preservation services surveys the whole spectrum of services within a framework of high-level service descriptions, including current implementations of the services. These services were then positioned with respect to the ISO and CCSDS standard on audit and certification of trustworthy digital repositories. The resulting analysis highlights some features of the landscape of preservation services.