storage and data management, resources will be available to solve more specialized problems such as ingest of and access to unusual record formats.

  • Reducing development costs. To the extent that commonalities are identified, NARA’s development costs can be reduced by increasing the potential size of the market for archiving system components. Development costs would also be reduced by collaborative work on common tools (e.g., format conversion, automatic ingest, and metadata extraction and markup), standards (e.g., metadata standards and key interfaces to modules), and other technologies for preservation.

  • Easing ingest. To the extent that NARA can build a repository on common standards, it will make it easier for federal agencies to deposit digital materials in a NARA repository or for NARA to harvest records worthy of preservation.

  • Facilitating interoperability. Adoption of common standards by NARA and other institutions will facilitate the development of federated collections by third parties and enable users to employ common tools across multiple digital repositories.

  • Transferring benefits from NARA’s experience and investments to a larger community and vice versa. NARA’s participation in developing and disseminating information about the OAIS model and its work with the group developing the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) are good examples.

  • Sharing technical expertise and knowledge. Both formal and informal mechanisms can be used to tap outside knowledge of and experience with digital archiving. As discussed in Chapter 6, IT expertise is critical to the success of the ERA program.

  • Identifying and recruiting new IT talent. More collaboration will increase the opportunities to identify new IT talent to design and implement the ERA program. For example, a number of graduate students are being trained in digital libraries.

Recent research and development activities in digital preservation have emphasized defining archiving problems in as generic a way as possible and seeking solutions that are common to the many types of organizations with long-term preservation needs.2 The collection-based persistent archive model developed at SDSC (with support from NARA), for example, seeks solutions to digital preservation by integrating archival storage technology from supercomputer centers, data grid technology from the scientific community, information models from digital libraries, and preservation models from the archival community. The SDSC persistent archive prototype (discussed in Chapter 3) aims to support long-term preservation of collections from scientific data repositories, large digital libraries, and archives with the same architecture. NARA also contributed to the development and dissemination efforts of


See, for example, Commission on Preservation and Access and Research Library Group (RLG), 1996, Preserving Digital Information: Final Report and Recommendations, RLG, Mountain View, Calif., May, available online at <>; CEDARS Metadata Standards, available online at <>; RLG-OCLC Working Group on Digital Preservation Metadata, 2002, Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities (an RLG-OCLC report), RLG, Mountain View, Calif., May, available online at <>; and various documents from the Digital Preservation Coalition, available online at <>.

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