Introduction to preservation tools

Preservation of digital materials for their future access and reuse is a process that requires appropriate software support. The balance between what can be done fully automatically and what can or should be done manually is a not sharply defined, but nonetheless it is obvious that some software processing is required, whether for simply viewing a digital object, editing representation information, establishing checksums, or many other tasks. Preservation tools can be considered as applications for a particular purpose in digital preservation, normally standalone and with clearly defined inputs and outputs. This last aspect distinguishes tools from preservation services, which may be offered by third parties to multiple users, might run remotely and might form part of a more complex workflow—though the distinction is admittedly imprecise.

Many tools have been produced for supporting different aspects of digital preservation, and some are listed in the links from this page. When considering which tools are suitable for use in a particular repository or preservation task, it is always desirable to ask what is the evidence for their utility, and particularly for their suitability in particular domains or application areas.

Relevant project documents

APARSEN has not produced a report on preservation tools as such, but many of the project’s reports make some reference to tools within their scope.
The deliverable [Download not found] includes a discussion of the role of services and tools in digital preservation, and the distinction between them; some of the services described could also be implemented (at least partially) as tools.

The deliverable [Download not found] on interoperability strategies includes a description of a prototype tool for dependency management in usability of digital objects.

Other documents on preservation tools

APARSEN’s tool repository

External tool registries