Forum Report

Expert Forum Data Publication and Archiving #2: Long-term preservation

Publication & Availability Forum Academic Discipline

The NFDI4Culture consortium has set itself the task to support disciplines such as art history, architecture, music, theatre, dance, film and media studies with the challenges they face regarding the storage and long-term preservation of research data.

After the successful kick-off event for repository operators on 12 March 2021, it became apparent that there is a need amongst the community to discuss, in particular, the sustainable storage of research data as well as the permanent preservation of digital cultural assets. The NFDI4Culture Data Publication and Archiving Forum #2 took place on 15 June 2021 and focused on digital preservation. The event provided insights into the basics of long-term preservation, and participants were asked about their individual expectations and discipline-specific challenges or needs.

The first part of the forum was dedicated to the general definition of long-term preservation and different archiving models, which were illustrated through presentations of the services of SLUB Dresden (SLUBArchiv.digital), the Heidelberg University (heiARCHIVE) and FIZ Karlsruhe (RADAR).

The second part of the forum focused on the archiving process and the associated difficulties and challenges, such as assessing the preservation value of archival material, identifying significant properties or selecting archivable formats.

In the subsequent discussion, the participants asked questions and described specific concerns with a focus on the following topics:

- individual consultation on the development of preservation strategies

- preservation of running and closed databases

- procedure models for when a preservation period has expired

- overview of cost models and digital preservation services

- guidelines for assessing the archival value and suitability of research data and digitised cultural property

- preservation of one's own research data as a quality criterion for academic work

- legal advice

- ensuring findability and visibility of research data

- establishment of multilingualism

It became clear that there is a specific need for comprehensive advisory services, amongst other for general copyright issues or questions about the rights descriptions of archive packages.

This forum focused primarily on the basics of long-term preservation, but also on initial discussions with participants about challenges and difficulties in the archiving process. In the upcoming event "Forum Data Publication and Availability #3 - How do you archive and publish your research data?" on 15 September 2021, individual use cases from representatives of the different communities will be presented and discussed in order to identify the needs and challenges for sustainable long-term preservation of research data.