Just a quick update from the American Library Association (ALA) Annual conference in Chicago on a couple of best practices in the area of digital preservation.

The Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) of ALA drafted “Minimum Digitization Capture Recommendations” to set a minimum threshold for digitizing for preservation.  “This document was created as a guideline for libraries digitizing content with the objective of producing a sustainable product that will not need to be re-digitized.  Institutions can feel secure that if an item has been digitized at, or above, these specifications, they can depend on it to continue to be viable in the future.”

The recommendations cover a wide-range of formats including non-rare books, rare books, manuscripts, maps, art on paper, three-dimensional objects, and audiovisual materials.  This information is presented in easy to reference tables along with references to more in depth discussions of each format.  Appendices provide some useful information on file naming conventions, metadata guidelines, storage recommendations, and a listing of guidelines from a variety of  institutions and organizations.

The National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) has also released “Levels of Digital Preservation” for feedback.  This is a four tiered approach to preserving digital assets in a way that helps institutions prioritize resource allocation and bridging the gap between just knowing where your stuff is and performing all recommended practices for managing and repairing your data.  The tiers cover 1) Storage and Geographic Location, 2) File Fixity and Data Integrity, 3) Information Security, 4) Metadata, and 5) File Formats.  I am actually thinking of using this tool to help my administration understand the step-wise actions that we can take to move us in the direction of digital preservation.  It helps breakdown a big, scary thing into somewhat more digestible facets; we don’t have to build THE digital preservation solution all at once.

But this is what I still do not understand:  What is transformative metadata?  Are there specific fields associated with this type of metadata or is it more of an overall concept?  It pops up in level 2 metadata without a definition along side other types of metadata: administrative, technical, descriptive and preservation.   Anyone?