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TfL extends its use of the Cloud with new digital preservation platform

Transport for London (TfL), London’s historic transport network has begun extending its use of the AWS Cloud to protect its archive of over 140,000 digital and digitised files dating back to 1857.

North Hykeham, Lincoln  ()

TfL partners with digital preservation specialist Preservica to help preserve and protect 150 years of rare London history.

Transport for London (TfL), London’s historic transport network has begun extending its use of the AWS Cloud to protect its archive of over 140,000 digital and digitised files dating back to 1857, including all transport records from the London 2012 Olympic Games.

TfL has partnered with Digital Preservation specialist Preservica to transfer its extensive digital collection to the Cloud. The Preservica digital preservation system, hosted on AWS, will ensure all items in the archive remain readable and useable by future generations by actively managing and migrating files to newer formats as old formats become obsolete.

TfL’s archive holds over 150 years of London history leading up to the 21st Century. The archive contains a complete collection of all transport materials related to the London 2012 Olympic Games, featuring maps, modelling work and passenger flows. Frequently drawn on by worldwide organisations planning similar events, the 2012 records are matched by a complete set of files relating to the London 1948 Olympic Games.

Older material records the city’s social history dating back to the nineteenth century, including information on some 500,000 staff from 1863 to the end of WWII.

Preserving these records and making them accessible for the public, researchers and historians is a top priority for TfL, allowing them to be used to chart genealogical, social and economic patterns of historical London.

The project will initially preserve up to 2.5 Terabytes of digital content in the Cloud, in order to ensure it is accessible into the future.

Tamara Thornhill, Corporate Archivist at TfL, said: “Safeguarding our rich corporate history in the Cloud not only ensures the treasures of London’s social past are safe and accessible, but also allows our archivists to manage that information far more efficiently. It was also important for us to not just use the Cloud to store digital content, but to also have a complete digital preservation platform that would allow us to actively migrate files to newer formats over time to ensure they remain useable and readable for future generations”

The move to the Cloud will be done in stages, with 2.5 Terabytes of born digital content to be moved from the outset while paper holdings are digitised and ingested into Preservica over time.

Preservica CEO Jon Tilbury says: “TfL joins a growing number of government organisations using Preservica Cloud Edition for long-term digital preservation, including several County Councils and The UK Met Office. TfL holds some of the most significant elements of London’s social history in its records, and we’re delighted that Preservica will play a part in not only ensuring those records are accessible for generations to come via the Cloud, but also future proofed against technology and file format obsolescence.”

The initial archive will become accessible to researchers in 2016, and follows the launch of the online catalogue at:

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