The Permafrost Digital Preservation Project (Ontario)

The Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL) and Lakehead University
have been working to develop a hosted digital preservation service that
will be available to all universities in Ontario. The service, named
Permafrost, uses Archivematica software hosted on the Ontario Library
Research Cloud. Providing digital preservation as a hosted service reduces
the obligation on individual libraries and archives to develop and
implement their own systems, and makes digital preservation more
accessible to institutions without strong IT support.
We have developed workflows and training material, which can be useful to
participants and others working in digital preservation. With many
technical challenges resolved, the remaining questions are around
arrangement and metadata practices, and privacy and donor needs. Digital
collections lend themselves to item-level metadata, although this level of
detail is not always available or warranted for archival record. Exporting
existing metadata out of legacy systems is also a challenge. We also need
to consider whether one level of security measures will be adequate for
all records stored in the system, and how privacy and security needs can
be indicated in metadata.
The project has been successful so far, with several test collections of
born-digital and digitized materials. Permafrost will be made available to
more institutions by the end of this year, as the pilot with Lakehead
University concludes.
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