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!


September 1, 2016

Welcome to new Williams College and Ohio University members!

We are very excited to welcome Williams College and Ohio University as new Preservation members of the MetaArchive Cooperative! As academic libraries, we look to working with them and supporting their efforts to preserve institutional records, born-digital special collections, and research data materials. For more information on the Preservation membership level please check out Join Us!