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Preservation Interest Group

Guide to provide a forum to learn and share ideas about the various aspects of preservation.

Meeting Overview

Participants introduced themselves, and then Mark Wolfe, Curator of Digital Collections at the University at Albany, gave a presentation on Cloud Storage as a Preservation Option. HIs presentation included: 

  • Discussion of the fact that it is difficult for librarians and archivists to not have control or ownership of physical items, such as tapes, reels, and books. 
  • Preservation masters are stored outside of access systems. They are high resolution and often too large for access systems to handle. 
  • Digitizing analog audio and video is time-consuming because it is done in real time. 
  • Cloud storage can be a problem if you have a slow network or are prone to internet outages because you need to be connected to the internet for it to work. 
  • Some articles say cloud storage is a dirty technology because it uses so much electricity, but all IT uses electricity. Big organizations like Amazon can work efficiently because the scale is so huge. 
  • Look at both the cost (time and money) of getting into a cloud service and getting out. Always think about your exit plan when coming up with a storage solution. How easy will it be to move your material from where it is stored? 
  • When shopping for vendors, look at price and how long it will take to get your backup files out of storage if you need to. Usually the cheaper the storage, the longer the wait. 
  • You can use Amazon storage for free for a trial period. This is a good way to figure out if it will work for you without investing a lot of resources. 
  • Many different sorts of cloud storage vendors. e.g. : generic for-profit; for-profits that are focused on the library community and provide personalized service; not-for-profits. They all work in similar ways, so choose the vendor that will be easiest for your institution to work with. For instance, some systems may have a lot of documentation for the type of items you want to preserve; your institution may already be using other parts of a vendor's suite. 
  • Having a digital preservation plan using cloud storage is often looked upon favorably by grant funders 
  • University at Albany recently completed a small grant on email preservation. Email and websites can be challenging to preserve. 
  • Every time you move files or folders, there is a chance of changes or corruption. University at Albany uses the Library of Congress's Bagger/BagIt tool to ensure that any file transfers during the digital preservation process happen as seamlessly as possible. This tool is like an inventory or invoice of everything that is supposed to be in the transfer package. 

The program ended with a demonstration of using a bag to transfer files into Amazon Glacier. 

The next meeting of the Preservation Interest Group is scheduled for April 4, 2023, 9:30-11:00 am. Topic to be determined. 


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