In a 2-year partnership starting in August 2018 the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) has begun a new project which will establish a program of work for digital preservation at the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) in the UK, enabling also a significant expansion of the DPC’s capacity to deliver for members.
The NDA has been charged by the UK and Scottish Governments with the complicated task of decommissioning and cleaning the seventeen principal nuclear energy plants in the UK, a task accurately described as the largest and most important environmental restoration program in Europe. The extended life cycle of the program, set alongside robust commitments to security, integrity and safety, means the NDA approaches its work with a profound commitment to long-term information management, ensuring the right information is available to the right people in a format they can use and with the confidence that it can be trusted. Therefore, amongst its many challenges, the NDA is by default required to become a trusted leader for information management and digital preservation.
The project, which represents a new model for collaboration and support will embed a new staff member within the DPC’s core team, drawing on the preservation understanding of the DPC and applying this to the NDA. In so doing the DPC will inform, enhance and extend good practice and standards to benefit digital preservation across the Coalition’s membership.
“We’re delighted to have this opportunity to work so closely with one of our members,” says William Kilbride, Executive Director of the DPC. “And even better, the project will go on to benefit the entire DPC community. The DPC’s new strategic plan includes an expanded mandate to work on standards and good practice. This project allows us to create a new post that will deliver the project now and design a long term program of support for members in Good Practice and Standards, sustaining and sharing the expertise and knowledge gained from the project.”
The project will recruit an experienced digital preservation professional with hands-on experience in addressing preservation challenges and developing digital preservation policy. The role holder will work at policy level, aided by NDA staff in assessing data and related applications as well as implementing or trialing digital preservation actions.
The Project will also develop a Digital Preservation Strategy which defines what digital preservation means within the context of the NDA, why it is needed, what it will involve to implement it and how the work of this project will begin to enable it; a high-level Preservation Policy, defined by key principles that steer the overall approach with regard to preservation process, technology and operation; Specific Guidelines and Procedures that will guide practical implementation of NDA activity; as well as a plan for Assessment and Evaluation that will examine how best to evaluate the progress of the NDA’s digital preservation capability and consider what role digital preservation assessment and certification standards should play in validating its operation as it moves forward
By working with the DPC on this project the NDA hope to leverage best practice across the digital preservation community. This will enable the NDA to access and secure critical legacy data and systems, adapt current data and systems to ensure their long-term viability and commission data and systems with long term resilience from the outset.
The not-for-profit DPC is an advocate for digital preservation and helps members to deliver resilient long-term access to digital content and services through community engagement, targeted advocacy work, training and workforce development, capacity building, good practice and standards, and through good management and governance. Its primary objective is raising awareness of the importance of the preservation of digital material and the attendant strategic, cultural and technological issues.