Archivematica fills the digital preservation gap – report now available

Phase 1 of our Jisc Research Data Spring project “Filling the Digital Preservation Gap” is now complete.

Over the 3 months of this project, the team from the Universities of York and Hull have been testing Archivematica, talking to other users, exploring the nature of research data, and thinking about workflows and the wider RDM infrastructure. 

In conclusion, we are happy to recommend Archivematica as a solution for the preservation of research data for the following reasons:

Source: Julie Allinson
  • It is freely available
  • It is an evolving and developing system
  • It has an engaged international user community (who directly help fund and drive developments and improvements)
  • It is configurable to the needs of different institutions
  • Automated workflows can be created
  • It is standards compliant

We have produced a report that details our findings and this is now available on Figshare:

The report has two distinct parts:

  • Part A has been created as a series of FAQs that answer the main questions you might have about using Archivematica for research data. This is a summary of the questions in our mind at the start of the project and pulls together some of the conclusions  we have reached as the project has progressed. We hope this will provide a quick and easy reference to those who just want to know a little bit more about Archivematica, digital preservation and research data including information on how you could use Archivematica and what it might cost to do so.
  • Part B contains more detail about the project  findings and what areas we have been working in and provides evidence for the conclusions in part A. It includes information about file formats for research data, our testing of Archivematica, technical details of how Archivematica works and our plans for developing and enhancing Archivematica should we get funding for phase 2 of the project. Report appendices focus on our digital preservation requirements for research data and how Archivematica meets these, technical details of our local Archivematica implementations (and how we have configured them) and a brief analysis of how research data file formats are currently represented in PRONOM.

We are confident that this report will be of interest not just to the growing community of Archivematica users, but to those who are still in the early stages of thinking about digital preservation. Though much of the report is focussed specifically on Archivematica, there are also several sections that will be relevant to those who are considering using other digital preservation systems for research data. It should also be noted that though the project has looked specifically at research data many of the lessons and findings are transferable to other data types or workflows.

Please do tell us what you think!

Jenny Mitcham, Digital Archivist


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