Saturday, March 26, 2011

TRAC: B3.3: Updating plans in response to monitoring

B3.3 Repository has mechanisms to change its preservation plans as a result of its monitoring activities.

The repository must demonstrate or describe how it reacts to information from monitoring, which sometimes requires a repository to change how it deals with the material it holds in unexpected ways. Plans as simple as migrating from format X to format Y when the registries show that format X is no longer supported are not sufficiently flexible—other events may have made format Y a bad choice. The repository must be prepared for changes in the external environment that may make its current plan (to migrate from X to Y in 10 years) a bad choice as the time to implement draws near. The repository should be able to show that it can revise long-range plans in light of changing circumstances.

Another possible response to information gathered by monitoring is for the repository to create additional Representation Information and/or PDI.

Evidence: Preservation planning policies tied to formal or information technology watch(es); preservation planning or processes that are timed to shorter intervals (e.g., not more than five years); proof of frequent preservation planning/policy updates.

My team at ICPSR supports this function, but is not directly responsible for preservation planning, so this post will be brief. 

My experience is that ICPSR has a very robust preservation planning function which engages regularly with a wide array of communities, and which therefore keeps a close eye on changes in what the community needs, or changes that are necessitated by technology.

I suppose the best evidence for this might be the major change we undertook a few years ago to move all digital content from a variety of legacy formats to "spinning disk."  This was a major project, of course, but allowed ICPSR to stop worrying about the availability of legacy media readers and media which could fail without quick detection.

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