RCAHMW Guidelines for Digital Archaeological Archives – A Sustainable Approach to Digital Preservation

The RCAHMW’s National Monuments Record (NMR) is Wales’ public archive of records relating to the historic environment, and is the national home for digital archaeological archives. Accordingly, it is developing its digital archiving facilities and procedures to comply with international standards, namely the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model – OAIS (ISO 14721). To make compliance effective and viable, it intends to adopt an industry standard digital archive package, produced by Preservica, as part of its current data platform. This will allow OAIS compliant workflows, active preservation of digital content, and public access to digital records.

In order to ensure that the reception and ingest of digital accessions into this system is as efficient as possible, and sustainable with a limited staff capacity, RCAHMW has created digital archive guidelines. These set out the organisation, description and format of digital archaeological archives required from data producers in the sector who intend to deposit records with the NMR. The guidelines are intended to be used from a project’s inception and are included as an appendix to the forthcoming National Standards for Wales for Collecting and Depositing Archaeological Archives. They will also be promulgated through the planning consent regime.

The talk will give an overview of the requirements of the OAIS reference model and how RCAHMW undertakes to comply with this. It will explain the general requirements in the guidelines in this context, with emphasis on the need for well-structured data, with adequate descriptive metadata to allow for digital preservation and, most importantly, continued access and use of the archive by data consumers.

By Gareth Edwards, Head of Knowledge and Understanding, RCAHMW

02/02/2016

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