UC San Diego Library Completes One to Many Grant Funded by The Mellon Foundation

The UC San Diego Library recently completed its joint project with UC Santa Barbara, Emory University, Northwestern University and DuraSpace that received grant funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in December 2018. The grant, One to Many: Preserving Local Repository Content in Distributed Digital Preservation Services, has allowed the Library and its partners to set the foundation for bridging the gap between digital repository platforms and digital preservation systems in order to increase the reliability and sustainability of digital archives.

Given the inherent risks that digital preservation presents, digital repository software has been used by cultural heritage organizations to mitigate these risks and more effectively manage and provide access to digital assets and associated metadata. That said, this software does not help alleviate data loss due to lack of geographical redundancy, technological diversity, or human error or malfeasance. As a result, distributed digital preservation (DDP) systems like Chronopolis, APTrust, DPN, and LOCKSS are used to fill this preservation gap. However, DDP systems and local repositories are not designed to work together, which helped the Library hone in on the objective of this project, which was to address these issues by creating a model that allows libraries and archives to seamlessly deposit system content into DDP systems with the ability to be modified to fit similar systems and services in the future.

With this in mind, the team designed a set of user stories to evaluate the necessary functions for interoperability, or the exchange and use of information between systems. “This enables the Library to more seamlessly ensure that the work of our students and faculty, as well as the other digital resources the Library provides to the UC San Diego community, will persist even as technology changes,” said Sibyl Schaefer, a Digital Preservation Analyst at the UC San Diego Library and the project lead for this grant.

Based on their user stories, as well as the requirement that the functionality could be applied to various repositories and systems in the future, the team designed a pair of services, coined the Gateway and the Bridge, that facilitate communication between any local repository system and DDP. They also developed integration specifications that detailed the interactions between the local repository, Gateway, Bridge, and the DDP, which outline the foundation for system interaction. 

Overall, the Library successfully documented how local repositories and DDP systems can interoperate for preservation purposesa primary goal of this exercise. This project has laid the foundation for the next phase of the process/grant period, which will include software development. More information on these specifications and the project can be found here.