May 28, 2020

MetaArchive Member Profile: Oregon State University Libraries

By: Michael Boock, Associate Professor/Scholarly Communication Librarian

MetaArchive Member Profiles

Tell us a bit about the digital preservation program at your organization?

Oregon State University Libraries has been firmly committed to the long term preservation of the scholarship of the university and its unique digital assets as far back as 2008 when Terry Reese was appointed to an endowed position with responsibilities for building the digital preservation infrastructure of the Libraries. During his tenure, the Libraries began using LOCKSS for preserving journal content and joined the MetaArchive Cooperative as a sustaining member.  Our digital preservation operations were vastly improved after 2012 with the hire of Brian Davis as Digital Production Unit Head , who developed format-specific identification, validation, characterization, and fixity checking of digitized content. The Libraries further committed to digital preservation in a 2012-2017 strategic plan that called for the creation of a “robust and flexible digital preservation and curation infrastructure” and “a long-term preservation system for university scholarship and digital collections developed and curated by OSU Libraries and Press.”

Looking ahead, what are you excited about, or what’s on the horizon for your program?

Brian and I presented a report to library leadership in 2017 that described the current state of the library’s digital preservation efforts and recommended next steps for preserving the Libraries digital objects. Emblematic of how quickly things are changing in the digital preservation space, many of the report recommendations have shifted over the last couple of years, but I am thrilled to say that some of the recommendations, in particular upgrading the library’s backup and storage systems to include monthly and incremental daily backups and the increased use of Archivematica for processing digital objects before repository ingest.

MetaArchive Member Profile: Oregon State University Libraries. Aside from our use of MetaArchive to preserve substantial amounts of our most important digital content, I value MetaArchive for its community of experts. It is immensely valuable to be able to learn from leaders in our field.
” Aside from our use of MetaArchive to preserve substantial amounts of our most important digital content, I value MetaArchive for its community of experts. It is immensely valuable to be able to learn from leaders in our field.
Pictured, Top Row, L-R: Michael Boock, Associate Professor/Scholarly Communication Librarian; Brian Davis, Digital Production Unit Supervisor. Bottom Row, L-R: Hui Zhang, Associate Professor/Digital Services Librarian; Margaret Mellinger, Associate Professor/Director, Emerging Technologies and Services

Tell us a bit about your local workflow. How has the MetaArchive preservation storage service been incorporated?

As noted, for digitized objects, a breadth of preservation work is done to ensure content validation and fixity for digitized objects. The master, preservation-level files are then moved onto ZFS storage systems via a BagIt protocol. For born-digital scholarship housed in the Samvera/Fedora based ScholarsArchive@OSU institutional repository, file integrity using a checksum tool is checked as part of file ingestion. Dr. Hui Zhang, digital services librarian, uses a script that traverses the hierarchy of repository objects in the institutional repository to locate and export binary files with the RDF metadata from specific repository collections. The generated BAGs are then moved to temporary Amazon Web Services storage for MetaArchive harvesting.

What types of digital collections are you focusing on for preservation in MetaArchive? What will preserving those collections for the long-term mean for their users or your institution? How are some of those collections used now?

The Libraries first used MetaArchive to replicate the university’s corpus of Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Theses and dissertations represent the breadth of significant research and scholarship conducted at the university over its entire history, and also serve as an important historical record of the OSU research and teaching interests. MetaArchive is also used to replicate all of the University’s Extension and Experiment Station Communication Publications (EESC). As noted in this editorial from the Corvallis Gazette-Times, published after the EESC collection of over 6,000 technical reports were digitized and made available in the IR, many of the same issues that were important to Oregon residents 100 years ago continue to be important today. Preserving this content with MetaArchive’s robust Private LOCKSS network helps to ensure that it will be available to citizens today and long into the future.

An Editorial from the Corvallis Gazette-Times: After 100 years, Extension still valuable.

Editorial from the Corvallis Gazette-Times, published after the EESC collection of over 6,000 technical reports were digitized and made available in the IR, noted that many of the same issues that were important to Oregon residents 100 years ago continue to be important today.

Tell us about your experience in participating in the MetaArchive community. How has it influenced you or your work?

I have personally served as OSU’s representative on the MetaArchive Steering Team since 2015 and as this year’s Chair of the Steering Team.  When I joined the Steering Team five years ago, I had a strong interest in digital preservation, but I had very little idea about how to do it. As noted above, OSU Libraries has invested in staff and resources to improve digital preservation operations, but this work should not be done in a vacuum. Aside from our use of MetaArchive to preserve substantial amounts of our most important digital content, I value MetaArchive for its community of experts. It is immensely valuable to be able to learn from leaders in our field such as Katherine Skinner, Matt Schultz, and Sam Meister (former MetaArchive Community Manager), and to learn from colleagues from a variety of different library and museum types about their preservation work.

Tell us a bit about your experience participating in the Changing for Continued Impact Series? What have been some of your key takeaways from the series thus far?

As Katherine Skinner (Executive Director of Educopia) noted to members last year, MetaArchive, as the world’s longest tenured distributed digital preservation solution in the world, has been in place and operating within the same technology base and governance structure since its inception. As part of this Series, our community has had an opportunity to hear from experts in the field about alternative technological approaches. It has been invaluable to me to learn from experts in the field, and MetaArchive’s own experts like Nathan Tallman (Penn State) and Zach Vowell (Cal State Poly), that there are alternative solutions that are ripe for further exploration by the community. Another key takeaway for me is that MetaArchive will remain viable as a preservation network only so long as we are prepared to transition to meet the needs of the community. Fortunately, the transparency of the network and its governance structure helps to ensure that the community’s needs will continue to be met.

Editorial note: “Since late 2019 the MetaArchive community has been undergoing a series of intensive evaluations of both their organizational model as well as their technical approaches to distributed digital preservation (DDP). This is the Changing for Continued Impact (CFCI) Series, a facilitated framework led by Educopia that engages the MetaArchive members in a series of focused-discussions and work-sessions. This generative and co-creative process got underway in earnest this past Fall 2019, and will continue through Spring 2020 leading up to the next Annual MetaArchive Membership Meeting.”


April 15, 2020

MetaArchive Member Profile: Virginia Tech University Libraries

By: Alex Kinnaman, Digital Preservation Coordinator, and Nathan Hall, Director of Digital Imaging and Preservation

MetaArchive Member Profiles

Tell us a bit about the digital preservation program at your organization?

Virginia Tech University Libraries was a founding member of the MetaArchive Cooperative and has hosted a LOCKSS cache since 2007. Our preservation system has evolved since then, including the addition of a second distributed digital preservation service with APTrust, the hiring of two digital preservation faculty members in 2017, and the ongoing development of a preservation-centric Digital Library Platform. The preservation system is managed by the Director of Digital Imaging and Preservation Services, the Digital Preservation Coordinator, and the Digital Preservation Technologist, and it is implemented by the Digital Library Development team in the Library. This group is responsible for developing and maintaining policies, overseeing workflows, and collaborating with our content producers. We are currently working on our Digital Preservation Program Priorities and Deliverables, outlining policies, services, and automations to be integrated with our new platform in development.

Looking ahead, what are you excited about, or what’s on the horizon for your program?

We have recently received a grant to digitize the Virginia Tech Insect Collection in 3D using photogrammetry in collaboration with the Entomology Department. 3D objects are complex and dynamic objects that present a preservation challenge, and we are investigating how our preservation workflow for these objects will differ from workflows for simpler objects. We are also developing a more robust Digital Humanities support system in the Libraries and are collaborating with VT Publishing to develop preservation levels for the variety of DH projects we hope to host. Ultimately, we are excited to have an automated preservation system built into the Digital Library Platform that communicates directly with MetaArchive.

MetaArchive is integral to our preservation system, particularly since the MetaArchive network is where we store or most unique and valuable content.
MetaArchive is integral to our preservation system, particularly since the MetaArchive network is where we store or most unique and valuable content.
L-R: Nathan Hall, Director of Digital Imaging and Preservation; Alex Kinnaman, Digital Preservation Coordinator; and Luke Menzies, Digital Preservation Technologist

Tell us a bit about your local workflow. How has the MetaArchive preservation storage service been incorporated?

Our current workflows are under revision as our new Digital Library Platform is in its beta form. In the past we performed our MetaArchive ingests manually; we are working on a MetaArchive Automation Service to better streamline our preservation system. MetaArchive currently holds all of our digitized bound theses and dissertations prior to 2017. While we have not ingested content into MetaArchive during our preservation system development, we have maintained an active role in hosting our cache and staying active within the community.

Tell us about your experience in participating in the MetaArchive community. How has it influenced you or your work?

Virginia Tech University Libraries has been an active member in MetaArchive since 2004, both as a cache host and in the community, including Steering Committee participation, and committee participation. The Change for Continued Impact Series has enabled us to engage more in the community and offer feedback. We have often relied on this community for advice or discussion in making our preservation decisions. MetaArchive is integral to our preservation system, particularly since the MetaArchive network is where we store our most unique and valuable content.

Tell us a bit about your experience participating in the Changing for Continued Impact Series? What have been some of your key takeaways from the series thus far?

We have been active in the Changed for Continued Impact Series, and appreciate the expanded interest in community needs and comprehensive engagement. One of the most valuable outcomes thus far has been the MetaArchive-LOCKSS Sustainability Evaluations provided by Penn State and Cal Poly, as they are in line with our needs at Virginia Tech as we develop an automated system.

Editorial note: “Since late 2019 the MetaArchive community has been undergoing a series of intensive evaluations of both their organizational model as well as their technical approaches to distributed digital preservation (DDP). This is the Changing for Continued Impact (CFCI) Series, a facilitated framework led by Educopia that engages the MetaArchive members in a series of focused-discussions and work-sessions. This generative and co-creative process got underway in earnest this past Fall 2019, and will continue through Spring 2020 leading up to the next Annual MetaArchive Membership Meeting.”


March 25, 2020

MetaArchive Member Profile: University of Louisville Archives & Special Collections

By: Kyna Herzinger, Archivist for Record Management, and Rachel Howard, Digital Initiatives Librarian

MetaArchive Member Profiles

Tell us a bit about the digital preservation program at your organization?

Our colleague, Rare Books Curator Delinda Buie, happened to be in the right place at the right time when Martin Halbert and others discussed applying for an NDIIPP (National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program) grant to explore distributed digital preservation at an ARL (Association of Research Libraries) meeting in 2003. At the time, UofL did not have a formal digitization program, but the Special Collections department, in which Delinda worked, had been doing ad hoc digitization for customer orders and exhibits for several years. The successful NDIIPP grant evolved into the MetaArchive Cooperative, and locally led to the creation of the Digital Initiatives program, in which Rachel Howard has served since 2006 and has overseen Digital Collections of cultural heritage materials and an institutional repository of university scholarship. UofL’s digital preservation efforts focused on digitized images and oral histories. In 2017, after Kyna Herzinger had joined the team, UofL took steps to develop a framework for a digital preservation program, drafting policies, exploring tools, and documenting workflows.  At that time, UofL’s digital preservation expanded to include born-digital university records, oral histories, and community collections.

Looking ahead, what are you excited about, or what’s on the horizon for your program?

In terms of content, we are looking forward to preserving our electronic theses and dissertations, which are currently backed up in the cloud. We plan to establish a workflow to have them harvested into the MetaArchive network. In terms of maturing our overall program, we have identified two areas of focus. Having no single position that is responsible for handling born-digital content, we are still ensuring that our curators can accession and process their own born-digital collections.  This means fine-tuning workflows. We are also starting to shift focus toward improving access to born-digital content, both in terms of discovery and researcher support.

“We both enjoy knowing a welcoming community of people who are engaged in similar work and are always willing to share advice or lend an ear. As we assess the resources at our disposal, we are especially cognizant of the role that MetaArchive plays as our most robust storage option. It provides what we could not have done ourselves: secure, distributed, bit-level preservation.”
In photo, L-R: Rachel Howard, Kyna Herzinger

Tell us a bit about your local workflow. How has the MetaArchive preservation storage service been incorporated?

For digitized content, after creating master and access files and metadata and launching a digital collection to the public, Rachel would copy master files and an XML file of the metadata to a staging server and organize them into archival units (AUs) of acceptable size for ingest into the MetaArchive network. The size of those AUs grew over time as we tested network capabilities, so that, for example, our yearbooks, whose master files ballooned to as much as 50 GB per yearbook, could each be treated as a single AU, thus requiring less “data wrangling”. She would then create a manifest page and (as was required in the early days) plugin, document the locations of those files and the AUs in the MetaArchive Conspectus database, and then work with MetaArchive partners to test and then ingest the collection into the preservation storage network. 

Now, with born-digital content, we use the BagIt profile specification, and recently participated in the MetaArchive’s SuperNode Pilot project, testing Bagit + OwnCloud and Exactly + SFTP to ingest content into the network.

Tell us about your experience in participating in the MetaArchive community. How has it influenced you or your work?

We both enjoy knowing a welcoming community of people who are engaged in similar work and are always willing to share advice or lend an ear. Working together with this group has also provided us with  opportunities for research and professional leadership/ service at an international level. As we assess the resources at our disposal, we are especially cognizant of the role that the MetaArchive plays as our most robust storage option.  It provides what we could not have done ourselves: secure, distributed, bit-level preservation.

Tell us a bit about your experience participating in the Changing for Continued Impact Series? What have been some of your key takeaways from the series thus far?

It has been reenergizing to connect in a more focused way with the partners as we talk about the past, present, and future of the Cooperative. The series has provided reassurance that growing pains are normal, that challenges are opportunities for growth, and that it is better to be proactive about change than to wait until circumstances demand an immediate reaction.We appreciate being part of a community in which we have a say in its future.

Editorial note: “Since late 2019 the MetaArchive community has been undergoing a series of intensive evaluations of both their organizational model as well as their technical approaches to distributed digital preservation (DDP). This is the Changing for Continued Impact (CFCI) Series, a facilitated framework led by Educopia that engages the MetaArchive members in a series of focused-discussions and work-sessions. This generative and co-creative process got underway in earnest this past Fall 2019, and will continue through Spring 2020 leading up to the next Annual MetaArchive Membership Meeting.”


February 3, 2020

MetaArchive Member Profile: Indianapolis Public Library

By: William Knauth, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Digital Indy

MetaArchive Member Profiles

Tell us a bit about the digital preservation program at your organization?

The Digital Indy project has been a member of InDiPres since 2017, previous to this there had been concerns about the integrity and longevity of the digital archival collections being created by the project and an analysis found that the level of preservation and cost associated with InDiPres was the best available. The primary work of preparing and transferring digital collections to the InDiPres server is done as part of the role of the Metadata Specialist, as well as communication with the InDiPres and MetaArchive groups. I regularly attend and participate at meetings of these organizations and report back developments to the team at the library. As far as goals and visions for our involvement with this project I would be very pleased if we are able to preserve 100% of our large digital collections in the MetaArchive network by 2021. I would also like to see the ongoing Supernode efforts materialize into an efficient streamlined ingest system that would attract new members to InDiPres and MetaArchive.

Looking ahead, what are you excited about, or what’s on the horizon for your program?

We are presently working on getting more of our collections data ingested into MetaArchive as well as setting up firm and effective workflows for sending data to the InDiPres staging server after some technical issues have placed this on hold. I am excited to see how this will be made more efficient by some of the projects being worked on at MetaArchive.

MetaArchive Member Profile: Indianapolis Public Library
“We are presently working on getting more of our collections data ingested into MetaArchive as well as setting up firm and effective workflows for sending data to the InDiPres staging server after some technical issues have placed this on hold. I am excited to see how this will be made more efficient by some of hte projects being worked on at MetaArchive.”

Pictured, L-R: William Knauth, Victoria Duncan, Beth Franklin, and Meaghan Fukunaga (formerly of InDiPres)

Tell us a bit about your local workflow. How has the MetaArchive preservation storage service been incorporated?

Our team has not had to significantly alter the established workflows in the initial areas of organizing and describing collections. The current standards we use are sufficiently robust as to create results that are effective for preservation purposes. We have had to make some additions to the workflows for successful ingest. This has involved processing collections through data integrity programs like Bagger and Exactly, setting up online transfer protocols, and creating documentation for preservation status of collections.

Tell us about your experience in participating in the MetaArchive community. How has it influenced you or your work?

I have had a positive experience meeting and working with the MetaArchive community in the several years of my involvement with the organization. I have found the membership to be very informed about both their own digital preservation situation and the state of this field of expertise in general. It has been useful and beneficial to have a group of individuals facing similar challenges to share ideas and solutions with.


January 14, 2020

MetaArchive Member Profile: Purdue University

By: Sandi Caldrone and Michael Witt

MetaArchive Member Profiles

Tell us a bit about the digital preservation program at your organization?

The Purdue University Research Repository, also known as PURR (insert cat joke here), is one of a couple of Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies repositories which utilize MetaArchive for preservation storage. PURR is a university core research facility provided by the Libraries, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships, and Information Technology at Purdue. It provides an online, collaborative working space, data sharing, and publication platform for Purdue researchers and their collaborators. PURR also provides preservation support for published datasets and the MetaArchive Cooperative is a huge part of that preservation support.

Looking ahead, what are you excited about, or what’s on the horizon for your program?

We’ve recently started to talk with faculty members who create virtual reality (VR) environments and objects as part of their research. VR preservation is an exciting and challenging new area for us and we are looking into how our platform and preservation workflows can support the preservation of VR objects and what new features or support we might need to develop down the road.

“We’ve recently started to talk with faculty members who create virtual reality (VR) environments and objects as part of their research. VR preservation is an exciting and challenging new area for us and we are looking into how our platform and preservation workflows can support VR preservation and what new features we might need to develop down the road.”

Pictured back row L-R: Standa Pejša, Carly Dearborn, Matthew Kroll, Michael Witt. Front row L-R: Clair Stirm, Anthony Fuentes, Sandi Caldrone, and Yanqun Kuang.

Tell us a bit about your local workflow. How has the MetaArchive preservation storage service been incorporated?

We were lucky to have been still developing PURR when the Libraries joined the MetaArchive Cooperative and were able to develop our preservation infrastructure with a distributed model in mind. We use BagIt bags to package our datasets and metadata for preservation.

We also regularly try to think through a “fire drill” scenario—what would we do if we experience partial loss of content in our repository? This has proven to be a great way for us to interrogate the construction of our archival units and determine if we have embedded the necessary metadata to rebuild our local repository from our backups in MetaArchive.

Tell us about your experience in participating in the MetaArchive community. How has it influenced you or your work?

Digital Preservation is hard work, and MetaArchive has a demonstrated track record of success with the biggest challenges of digital preservation, which aren’t related to storage or technology, but governance and sustainability. It is so valuable to have a built-in community to troubleshoot the various issues that arise in digital processing, preservation planning, and everything in between. The MetaArchive Cooperative represents a mature solution and community—it isn’t a flash in the pan.


December 19, 2019

MetaArchive Member Profile: Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

By: Josh Hogan on behalf of the Historically Black Colleges and University Library Alliance (HBCU LA)

MetaArchive Member Profiles

Tell us a bit about the digital preservation program at your organization?

Since 2010, the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Woodruff Library has served as the technical lead and host of the LOCKSS server on behalf of the HBCU Library Alliance’s membership in the MetaArchive Cooperative.  Digital preservation at the AUC Woodruff Library is implemented by the Digital Preservation Working Group (DPWG), a collaborative team with members from the Archives Research Center, the Digital Services Department, Records Management, and the IT Department.  The DPWG is responsible for identifying, acquiring, and providing the means to preserve and ensure ongoing access to selected digital assets and associated metadata in accordance with AUC Woodruff Library’s collection development policies. For the past three years, we have pursued a three-year plan to develop our policies, workflows, and priorities.

Looking ahead, what are you excited about, or what’s on the horizon for your program?

We are excited about recently completing a revision of our digital collection development policy, providing clarity to our collecting areas related to born digital materials. We are also pleased to have wrapped up our first three-year plan, completing all of our goals for the period. We are eager to tackle the development of the new three-year plan in the coming months with an eye toward taking the program to the next level.

Member Profile: Atlanta University Center Woodruff Library. "We are excited about recently completing a revision of our digital collection development policy, providing clarity to our collecting areas related to born digital materials. We are also pleased to have wrapped up our first three-year plan, completing all of the goals for the period. We're eager to tackle the development of the new three-year plan in the coming months with an eye toward taking the program to the next level." Photograph of Cliff Landis, Jessica Leming, Robert Fallen, Josh Hogan, Alex Dade, Aletha Carter, Suteera Apichatabutra, Christine Wiseman.
“We are excited about recently completing a revision of our digital collection development policy, providing clarity to our collecting areas related to born digital materials. We are also pleased to have wrapped up our first three-year plan, completing all of the goals for the period. We’re eager to tackle the development of the new three-year plan in the coming months with an eye toward taking the program to the next level.”

Pictured back row L-R: Cliff Landis, Jessica Leming, Robert Fallen, Josh Hogan. Front row L-R: Alex Dade, Aletha Carter, Suteera Apichatabutra, Christine Wiseman

Tell us a bit about your local workflow. How has the MetaArchive preservation storage service been incorporated?

Our local workflow identifies three broad categories of material to be preserved: born digital archival material, digitized archival material, and born digital institutional photographs and records. In addition to these categories, there are two tiers related to the priority of preserving the object or collection. The first tier objects are those of the highest priority, and these will be the ones that we will seek to ingest into robust preservation networks such as MetaArchive. Second tier objects and collections will be preserved in at least two different geographical areas and stored on Amazon Glacier.

Tell us about your experience in participating in the MetaArchive community. How has it influenced you or your work?

The AUC Woodruff Library has long participated in MetaArchive as a member of the HBCU Library Alliance. Most of the material we have ingested has been digitized copies of the founding documentation of the participating HBCUs, and we have been the host site of that initiative since 2008.

We recently participated in the SuperNode Pilot Project, playing the role of one of the ingesting institutions. This participation helped us ingest a significant portion of the digital material that we have identified as tier one, and it helped us evaluate the use of Exactly and OwnCloud as tools for use in our program. We hope that feedback provided to MetaArchive Steering Committee will be useful in determining the future path of this intiative that could reduce barriers to digital preservation for smaller institutions.


February 27, 2019

New Steering Committee Chair – Carly Dearborn

Below is a message from Carly Dearborn, Digital Preservation and Electronic Records Archivist at Purdue University Libraries, who became Chair of the MetaArchive Steering Committee in January 2019.

When Purdue University joined the MetaArchive Cooperative in 2013, I was not aware of how  valuable to my professional life this community and its members would be. At its core, the MetaArchive is a distributed digital preservation network. But at its heart it is a dynamic community of practice – a community I have consulted many times in the last six years and one I am now excited to serve as Chair of the Steering Committee.

As the digital preservation and electronic records archivist at Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, my work, by nature, is pragmatic. I hope to bring that pragmatism to the Steering Committee during my time as chair. The broad digital preservation principles and theory can seem far removed from practitioners who face the daily challenges of limited technical support, resources, time, and staffing. MetaArchive has has done well addressing these issues in the past and I hope to continue that work.

I am excited to work with the MetaArchive membership, committees, and community partners as we collectively pivot to meet emerging digital preservation challenges – both technical and organizational. MetaArchive initiatives like the Super Node Pilot Project address the digital preservation needs of small and large institutions alike, with a focus on sustainability and cost effective approaches to digital preservation. This project represents the very best of MetaArchive membership – collaboration of like-minded institutions and individuals around issues of shared importance. The lessons learned from the Super Node project, as with previous projects, will be shared with the larger digital preservation community, furthering the Cooperative’s commitment to transparency. I look forward to working with the Steering Committee to continue to redefine what transparency looks like in the digital preservation field and build on past efforts to critique the costs of digital preservation services.

2019 will be another exciting year for the MetaArchive Cooperative as we build on many of the same principles the community was founded on in 2004. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments at cdearbor@purdue.edu.


December 11, 2018

Message from the Steering Committee on DPN Sunset Announcement

Digital preservation is all about the long game. For the institutions and individuals working to ensure long-term access to our collective digital scholarly and cultural record, there is a shared understanding that our efforts today are part of a continuum that will continue well beyond our current contributions and participation. But understanding and recognition of this reality are only starting points. The way we go about this work, the structures we build, the strategies and approaches we implement, the relationships we foster and strengthen are all integral elements that impact our collective ability to be successful in this digital preservation endeavor. Technology is going to continue to change rapidly and the tools, infrastructure, and mechanisms we develop and implement in response will inevitably change, or disappear. Some technologies will fail quickly, others may work for a time but then wither because they are no longer relevant, or resources are no longer available to maintain and improve them.

The announcement of sunsetting of the Digital Preservation Network (DPN) represents a significant moment in the digital preservation community. It is one that we are saddened by, and recognize that many institutions will be affected by this event, including DPN members, partners, and collaborators. When such an organization ceases operations, those that have connections to it may feel an undercurrent of instability moving through the digital preservation community. In this case, though, our hope is that the closure instead amplifies the stability that we, as a library, archives, and museum community, are fostering through our deliberate collaborations across digital preservation communities.

Specifically, in anticipation (as we must anticipate!) that not all services or communities will last “forever,” a number of digital preservation communities and organizations began to gather together in 2009 with the Library of Congress to discuss how best to bridge our efforts to attain our overarching goal of protecting the digital heritage entrusted to each of us. This work ebbed and flowed over the last decade, most recently culminating in the development of the Digital Preservation Declaration of Shared Values. Issued by representatives of Academic Preservation Trust (APTrust), Chronopolis, CLOCKSS, Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), Digital Preservation Network (DPN), DuraSpace, Educopia/MetaArchive Cooperative, HathiTrust, Stanford University – LOCKSS, Texas Digital Library (TDL), Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL), the Digital Preservation Declaration of Shared Values represents the efforts of these organizations to formulate a set of shared foundational values that can serve as a basis for continued collaboration and support. While the sunsetting of DPN as an organization may illustrate the aspirational nature of these values, it also emphasizes the importance of the collective approach to their creation, where multiple digital preservation services providers came together to establish a foundation upon which to base future collaborations as well as peer-to-peer assessment and accountability. There is a spirit of cooperation that permeates throughout the digital preservation community, and we will continue to be stronger and more successful if we build upon this through increased collaboration.

All that said this is a useful moment for reflecting and taking stock of the reality that all of us are doing our work in risk-filled environments. Organizational structures are very important. The organizational environment in which digital preservation technical infrastructure, tools, and systems are developed, tested, implemented, and retired have a direct impact on their longevity and sustainability. Recognizing the risk of a single point of failure phenomenon, the distributed digital preservation approach seeks to harness the collective efforts of multiple institutions to work together and take responsibility for preserving each other’s digital content. But distributing copies of the bits is the easy (relatively) part. Establishing and evolving the apparatus of community governance, wherein multiple institutions commit to active participation in shared ownership and strategic decision-making is challenging, but absolutely necessary to weathering the technological storms of the future.

For the MetaArchive Cooperative, while setting up a distributed digital preservation storage network using the LOCKSS software took a good amount of time, effort, and funding, creating the policies and procedures for community governance required significantly more resources and years of time investment. The result of this effort is a healthy, stable community whose principles are embedded within it’s regular technical and administrative operations. At the top of the list of these principles is transparency. All MetaArchive documentation, from committee meeting minutes to financial reports and budgets are openly available to members and can be requested by non-members. All members have an opportunity to provide input in strategic decisions, including structural changes such as membership fees. Transparency is always a work-in-progress, requiring continual effort and attention, but is essential for ensuring accountability and fostering an environment of community ownership and participation. This embrace of transparency led to the creation of the “Getting to the Bottom Line: 20 Cost Questions for Digital Preservation” by the MetaArchive Outreach Committee in 2015. This resource received very positive feedback from the larger digital preservation community, and remains a useful starting place for institutions evaluating digital preservation service / solution providers.

MetaArchive is itself in the midst of a transition to evolve its infrastructure in response to the changes in institutional needs and practices. We are committed to sharing what we learn during this process with the larger community, and collaborating with our peer community-based digital preservation service providers, in alignment with the recent messages from DPN and Duraspace on discussing lessons learned and strategies for increasing sustainability within and across our organizations.

We welcome any questions or feedback.


December 4, 2018

MetaArchive Quarterly Newsletter Launch!

The MetaArchive Cooperative is delighted to announce and share our first quarterly newsletter! In it, you’ll find a wealth of information on our most recent activities, including an brief overview of our SuperNode Pilot Project, plus member snapshots and new publications from community members.

If you’d like to receive future editions of the newsletter and other community announcements, please be sure to subscribe here. For those of you who may not be familiar, the MetaArchive Cooperative is member-owned and governed community that operates a geographically distributed digital preservation storage network, that currently includes 15 secure, closed-access preservation nodes and more than 200TB of content. More than just a storage solution, MetaArchive is a community of practice that provides support for members who are developing local digital preservation workflows, policies, and best practices.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at sam@educopia.org.

We hope to see you on our newsletter list!


September 25, 2018

Announcing the SuperNode Pilot Project

Since its inception, the MetaArchive Cooperative has been a community of practice built on a foundation of individuals and institutions collaborating to empower and enable each other to accomplish digital preservation goals. This structure of this collaboration is embedded within the implementation of the LOCKSS software, where member institutions store copies of each others content, achieving geographic distribution to protect against various types of risks and loss. Now going 12 years strong, this award-winning service has proved to be a trustworthy, durable solution for digital preservation storage and a community of support for practitioners.

At the same time a lot has changed in the digital preservation landscape over the last decade. More and more academic institutions are moving to cloud-based IT services, including for storage of digital content. Institutions can choose from multiple repository software platforms to integrate into their digital curation and preservation workflows.

While much has changed, what has lingered is who has been left out of this advancement in digital preservation progress. Small institutions, including public libraries, small museums, art galleries, community organizations, still struggle to implement basic digital preservation activities, due to limited IT support, cost of current solutions, and lack of time. Recognizing this continued need, the MetaArchive has focused its efforts on transitioning its technical network infrastructure to simplify the ingest process, making it easier for all member institutions, especially smaller organizations to start preserving their important cultural and scholarly materials.  

The SuperNode Pilot Project, which kicked off in June 2018, is conducting additional testing to determine the feasibility and specific requirements for evolving the technical infrastructure. This includes testing multiple transfer tools (such as AVPreserve’s Exactly), and options for utilizing cloud-based services to “stage” content for ingest to storage nodes hosted at member institutions. A significant aspect of this work will be measuring and analyzing the costs associated with the different “flavors” or versions of a SuperNode network to support a primary driver of continuing to provide an affordable digital preservation storage solution, and if possible, even lower current membership fees.

Set to move into implementation and production in 2019, the SuperNode Pilot Project is positioning the MetaArchive community to stay true to its founding principles while adapting to the changing landscape and responding to the digital preservation needs of small organizations with limited resources.


September 24, 2018

MetaArchive Members and Staff at iPRES 2018

The premiere international digital preservation conference is happening in Boston this year and of course there are going to be multiple MetaArchive members attending! If you are curious to learn more about MetaArchive one of the best ways is to chat up our current members, so if you are also planning to attend iPRES 2018 keep an eye out for local folks Paige Walker from Boston University, David Mathews from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, as well as Deanna Ulvestad from the Greene County Public Library. Also, Nathan Tallman will be presenting a paper titled, “Approaching Appraisal: Framing criteria for selecting digital content for preservation” with Lauren Work from the University of Virginia at session 308 on Wednesday.

Our Community Manager, Sam Meister , is also attending and moderating Session 202 on Digging into the Digital Preservation Declaration of Shared Values with representatives from DPN, APTrust, TDL, and COPPUL. He is happy to chat at any time during the event!


July 19, 2018

Member Deanna Ulvestad to present at CONTENTdm Users Group Meeting 2018

Deanna Ulvestad, archivist at member institution Greene County Public Library, will be presenting during a panel on “Digital Preservation: Case Studies in Preserving Master Files” at this years’ CONTENTdm Users Group Meeting in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday, August 2nd. Deanna will share her successes implementing workflows to preserve master files with MetaArchive from the perspective of a small institution. If you are planning to attend, and curious to hear more about MetaArchive from a member’s perspective, please stop by and say hello to Deanna!


August 29, 2017

New member-authored article on digital preservation and failure

We are excited to announce the forthcoming publication of a new article co-authored by Carly Dearborn (Purdue University) and Sam Meister (Educopia/MetaArchive) titled “Failure as process: Interrogating disaster, loss, and recovery in digital preservation”. This article will be published in the upcoming special digital preservation focused issue of Alexandria: The Journal of National and International Library and Information Issues In advance of the official release of the article, you can download and read an author accepted version of this article via the Purdue e-pubs repository here.  The authors hope that the article stimulates discussion amongst digital preservation practitioners and welcome any feedback!


July 5, 2017

Celebrating over 10 Years of Community-based Digital Preservation

Since 2007, the MetaArchive Cooperative has preserved the digital collections of more than 60 archives, museums, public libraries, and library consortia in Europe, South America, and across the United States. It has done so in a network run by members, for members.

In celebration of our first decade milestone as a membership organization, our community wants to help more organizations – including smaller and under-resourced libraries, archives, and museums – to preserve their content. To further lower the barriers to entry in our community of practice, our members have designed and launched the following:

  • A new option (in 2017) to pay a technology fee rather than operating a server node within our preservation network.
  • A Collaborative Membership Level that allows many organizations to band together and share their membership costs (see e.g., InDiPres).
  • A simplified and streamlined ingest process using BagIt.

For more details, including how to join the MetaArchive Cooperative, please visit our new and improved website at metaarchive.org or contact sam@educopia.org!


June 15, 2017

MetaArchive members to present at ALA 2017

MetaArchive members Cinda May (Indiana State University / InDiPres) and Deanna Ulvestad (Greene County Public Library) will be presenting on Saturday, June 25, 2017 at the Digital Preservation Interest Group meeting at the 2017 American Library Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Their talk “Removing Barriers and Building Bridges: The MetaArchive Cooperative Preservation Network’s Flexible Membership Structure” will focus on how the MetaArchive cooperative organizational model has continually evolved to better support the digital preservation needs of smaller organizations. More Details »


April 15, 2017

ETD+ Toolkit Now Available

The ETDplus project team is pleased to announce the public release of the ETD+ Toolkit. Targeting students, faculty, and staff, the ETD+ Toolkit is an approach to improving research output management. Focusing on the ETD as a mile-marker in a student’s research trajectory, it provides in-time advice about how to avoid common digital loss scenarios for the ETD and all of its affiliated files. For more information, including how to use, and how to participate in the pilot please go to : https://educopia.org/publications/etdplustoolkit


February 28, 2017

MetaArchive Cooperative Receives 2017 George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Award

The MetaArchive Cooperative was bestowed the 2017 George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Award for its commendable work in the digital preservation field. This award pays tribute to individuals or groups that “foster collaboration for preservation” by demonstrating leadership, vision and initiative to ensure libraries, archives and historical institutions protect cultural patrimony. The MetaArchive Cooperative is an affiliated community of Educopia and a membership owned and operated distributed digital preservation network that safeguards current digital collections so they are available to future generations.

“Since its founding in 2004 MetaArchive has demonstrated leadership and initiative, building collaborative networks to preserve digital collections that capture the richness of our cultural heritage.” said the jury of the George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Award, “A pioneer and leader in the pursuit of digital preservation, MetaArchive is a community-owned, community-led initiative comprised of libraries, archives, and other digital memory organizations. They have proven resilient and continuously innovative in successfully and sustainably modeled collaborations in service of distributed digital preservation.”

“Our MetaArchive partners are proud to have cooperatively built and maintained a viable solution for preserving digital data for future access, and are delighted to be recognized for this work.” said Rachel Howard, member of MetaArchive’s leadership team and digital initiatives librarian at University of Louisville, “We are proud to carry on George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg’s legacy of cooperative preservation programming.”

The Cunha and Susan Swatzburg Award recognized MetaArchive’s implementation of the Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (LOCKSS) open-source software as it’s technical infrastructure.“One of the longest-standing partners of the LOCKSS Program, they now have more than sixty institutions actively preserving digital content.” said the jury of the George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Award, “MetaArchive has demonstrated the value, feasibility, and success of a distributed model of digital preservation, and continues to evolve to address the needs of a variety of cultural heritage institutions seeking to ensure their collections and materials are preserved over the long term.”

The award, sponsored by Hollinger Metal Edge, and given annually to one recipient is presented during the PARS Preservation Administrator’s Interest Group (PAIG) meeting at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago this June.


January 15, 2017

New Preservation Membership Technology Fee option

As part of its ongoing efforts to lower barriers to membership and participation, the MetaArchive Cooperative Steering Committee is pleased to announce the addition of a new Technology Fee option to the Preservation Membership level. This option allows members to pay an annual technology fee as an alternative to purchasing and maintaining a server storage node within the network. The creation of this option was the result of multiple years of working with members from smaller organizations, such as public libraries and small museums, and experimenting with a variety of storage node infrastructures. Recognizing the limited resources that many small organizations are able to dedicate to digital preservation activities, MetaArchive members have implemented this new Technology Fee option to simplify the process of joining and participating in a distributed digital preservation network. More information, please visit Join Us!


November 15, 2016

Big welcome to new member InDiPres!

The MetaArchive Cooperative is pleased to welcome Indiana Digital Preservation (InDiPres) as our newest Collaborative member. InDiPres is a new organization itself with a mission to “collaboratively manage and sustain a low-cost, secure, and geographically distributed archive for the long term preservation of locally created digital resources in Indiana.” We look forward to working with them and supporting their digital preservation efforts across Indiana! For more information on the Collaborative membership level please check out Join Us!