Future perfect: mapping international repository approaches

'Caring for Digital Content' report shares approaches from around the world.

The Digital Repository of Ireland set out to map examples of repository projects from around the world – and has published its findings in a new report.  The report groups projects by approach, and also lists organisations that provide advice and support to others those working to preserve digital data.

Approach 1 - Single site repositories

Technical and organisational functions are located in one place – this approach is often adopted by national infrastructures, such as the National Library of New Zealand.

Other examples include the California-based Internet Archive.  Founded in 1996 the Internet Archive provides free access to historical digital collections.

Approach 2 – Metadata aggregators

By bringing together the metadata of several single site repositories, metadata aggregators help to raise user awareness of content from a range of sites.  They can also build thematic links between sites.

Europeana, for example, aggregates metadata from 150 partners into its portal and provides online access to 20 million digitised objects.  Users can access content from museums and libraries across Europe via the portal.

Partners host their own content, but Europeana collects, stores and indexes the contextual data which must be organised appropriately.

EUScreen is a consortium of 36 partners providing a multilingual portal access to 30,000 items of programme content from European broadcasters – including archive footage relating to the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Australian National Data Service provides a single access interface to over 41,000 data sets relating to Australian research projects.

Approach 3 – Multi site repositories

A federated approach to technical infrastructure encourages partnerships and future-proofing of collections. 

The Digital Repository of Ireland, which wrote the report, provides a central access point to data held in Ireland by six partner institutions.

Another example, The Texas Digital Library, is a consortium of higher educational institutions in the state.  The Library provides cost saving shared services to support teaching and research; provides open access to data and encourages collaboration.

The report provides a snapshot of completed and ongoing digitisation projects and is an interesting contribution to the sharing of good practice and standards.

Photo courtesy of x-ray delta one via Flickr.