Archivematica: Creating a Comprehensive Digital Preservation System
Articles,  Blog

Archivematica: Creating a Comprehensive Digital Preservation System

Good afternoon, how are we this fine Monday
rainy day? Fantastic, I can tell. Welcome to the session on Archi Archivematica is that
how we creating a comprehensive digital preservation system. My name is Jim Cassidy and I’m the
brand newest co-chair of the technology applications committee. We sponsor programs especially
on, relating to, automation in archives and workplace applications of technology. I should
mention that the national archives assembly which is pleased to cosponsor this event is
an organization of current and past employees of the National Archives who seek to learn
of new archival advances while at the same time advocating for a strong national archives.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Dr. Kenneth Thibodeau of the Electronic Records Archives.
Ken has asked me to say little more than that he too is an old fogie, but he has a far more
distinguished record than that. And certainly his service with the National Archives is
notable and I am happy to introduce Ken to introduce our speaker
Thanks, Jim. Good afternoon, everybody. A lot of people don’t know I’m really a closet
teacher. I started my career as a teacher so I love pop quizzes and I’m going to start
today with a pop quiz. What do you get when you cross an archivist with a geek? The answer
is you get today’s guest speaker, Peter Van Garderen. Peter’s a graduate of the archival
studies program at the University of British Columbia and he’s currently working for his
doctorate in archival science at the University of Amsterdam, but he also has a certificate
in software engineering. In fact, in addition to that cross, Peter has another cross in
which he’s both a Canadian and a Dutchman, so you get the combination of the Canadian
laid back and the Dutch habit of speaking fast. In fact, I don’t know anyone –
And loud. Who speaks faster than Peter. One of my other
Dutch friends pointed out that the reason for that is if you have a country that exists
below sea level, you want to talk fast before you drown. But anyway, it’s a pleasure for
me to introduce Peter today. We’ve worked together for more than ten years, starting
with the first InterPARES project where Peter had some involvement as a student and as the
project manager. Peter today has what I think is the best job title in the world: President
and Chief System Archivist not system architect, but system archivist I don’t know if there’s
anyone else that has that job description, but from a company called Artefactual Systems,
that does development and consulting services in the IT area, specifically primarily for
libraries and archives. Among other things Peter’s company has developed some software
called ICA-AtoM, which they’re doing for the International Council on Archives, which is
software for description that conforms with the ICA standards on description the ISAD(G)
and ISAAR and so on and other products. But I don’t want to take too much time up with
Peter, so I’m going to turn the mic over to him. Great, thanks, Ken. Thank you.
And Peter did ask us earlier to encourage you if you have questions or comments, interrupt
him at any time. Yeah, I prefer just to have a discussion while
we’re talking about stuff, so please raise your hand and let’s discuss. I guess we’ve
got an hour and a half or an hour and twenty minutes now so I’ll get right to it. First of all I want to thank Ken very much
for extending the invite. And as well to the National Archives Assembly for asking me to
come and speak. So what is Archivematica? Oh, sorry, before I do that. I understand
all as well there’s people following along from a webcast. What I’m doing right now is
I’m actually running a virtual machine on my laptop. I’m running the Archivematica system
from a USB key and unfortunately that means I’m not able to use the web-conferencing software
to do a presentation. So anybody that’s listening on the telecon, I’ve been told you’ve got
these links already. I don’t know if the presentation slides, the workflow instructions as well
as a whole series of screen captures from the system. So between all of that you should
be able to kind of follow along and see what we’re talking about here back in DC.
So, Archivematica itself is an integrated suite of completely free and open source tools
that allow users you know typically archivists to process digital objects from ingest to
access and apply format-specific preservation policies. The Archivematica project too adopts
an agile software development method, which one of the key components of that is having
time-based release schedules so we release no matter what on this date whatever we’ve
got is what goes into that release. And so it forces a certain discipline in the
software engineering process. And what that means is that we’ve had six very rapid iterative
releases already over the past fourteen months leading to the 06 alpha release which was
done last week about a few days ago and that’s what I’m demoing to you today.
Each iteration in an agile development method leads to improved requirements, obviously
improved software, as well as updates to documentation, improving the scope, depth and breadth of
all of those, as well as development resources the resources that are available to developers
and people working with the software. So the big part of that is that we’re not going to
get it right the first time; we just pretty much assume that. It’s basically the exact
opposite of this would be a waterfall methodology where you try to get all of your requirements
just right, you spend a year writing a giant spec document and then you go and try to make
it perfect the first time out. So, the agile development methodology really
is very well suited to the digital preservation field, where for all intents and purposes
we’re never actually going to finish making our system because the technology we’re trying
to preserve is constantly changing and the technology we have available to preserve digital
objects is constantly changing so we try to just accept that right from the start as a
principle. Where did it come from? Ken mentioned my company
Artefactual Systems. I’ve been consulting now for about ten years. After InterPARES,
I worked on the InterPARES project and that’s where I met Ken, I went and started my own
consulting business doing electronic records strategies, digital preservation strategies,
but more and more I became very interested in the opportunities for open source to be
used in archives for a number of reasons which I’ll come back to at the end of the talk,
which I think There are a number of reasons why I think open source software is a good
fit and a right fit for the archival community. So over the past few years the main focus
of the company has been developing and supporting open source software tools for the archival
community. ICA Atom and Archivematica in particular. The City of Vancouver Archives is one of our
clients and they essentially started on the path as one of the smaller like a city, a
medium sized archival institution essentially wanted to implement a digital preservation
solution because of the same problem that all archives have: 90% of the world’s information
is over 90% is now being produced in digital format. That’s tomorrow’s archives; tomorrow’s
archives are here today we’ve been creating them for the last 20 years.
Unfortunately, a lot of institutions don’t have very practical solutions in hand yet;
they don’t necessarily have the budgets of a NARA, let’s say, to go and implement an
enterprise system. So it’s a very practical need to transfer records from electronic records
document management systems as well as now to transfer over the electronic records from
the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee. We need to be able to do something now. Like,
what can we do today? So with that in mind, about two years ago
we started with the premise that there’s enough open source there’s been a lot of research,
I mean InterPARES kicked off in ‘98 I guess and there’s sorry? Well if you count the UBC
PROJECT there’s been a lot of research around for a long time. And there’s also been a lot
of one off, ad hoc sort of tools have been created over the last few years as well that
let archivists deal with certain particular problems parts of the pieces of the digital
preservation problem but nowhere if you’re a small, medium-sized institution could you
say two or three years ago, “hey, where’s something I could plop down and start doing
OAIS compliant digital preservation today?” Part of our theory was that there’s enough
of these tools around, we should be able to stitch them all together and to create one
comprehensive digital preservation system. And that was actually the premise of another
paper that was published shortly afterwards by the UNESCO Memory of the World Subcommittee
on Technology, which essentially had the same premise, saying that there’s enough of this
around, can’t you put all this stuff together to try to make you know a free and open source
archival description sorry archival digital preservation/digital archive system?
So over a period of time we got in touch with UNESCO Memory of the World committee and they
became a sponsor for this project as well to take the technology we were developing
hand in hand with the City of Vancouver and open source it and make it available to the
community. Another client of ours, the International
Monetary Fund Archives was on the same track as the city of Vancouver and going through
a digital preservation strategy and essentially over the last half year has been working with
us to do a proof of concept project using Archivematica and contributing back to the
Archivematica code base as part of the time and resource that we’re investing in it. Essentially,
work out their full spectrum requirements, so doing an early iteration essentially as
a proof of concept project to get ready for their own full implementation of a production
ready digital preservation program. So I mentioned the OAIS, presumably everybody
is familiar with the OAIS model and I don’t have to go into any more detail for it. Key
concepts there and again it’s a default language we talk in the digital preservation world
and it’s the default language we use within the Archivematica project. Key concepts are
the mandatory responsibilities, the functional entities, the information packages the submission,
the dissemination packages and the archival information packages, the content information,
the preservation, the descriptive information packages.
And then the actors, the consumers, the producer, and the management that plays certain roles
in the system. We focus specifically on the functional entities as the things that describe
what an OAIS system needs to do first. And this is typically on a high level OAIS diagram
you see when people talk with OAIS, of course when you drill down into each functional entity
it gets a lot more complicated. And who has actually peeled through and read OAIS from
beginning to end? Okay, and don’t people that work for Ken will have. This gives me a good
idea of who’s the audience as well then. It’s a beast, there’s a lot in there, it’s
a great standard, it’s really been one of the major advancements one of the first things
we needed in the digital preservation community so we could all start talking the same language,
put everything in the right box in the right place, figure out where components are going
to integrate. But the standard itself is not perfect either,
and there’s lots of inconsistencies when we did our analysis. And there’s just a lot to
it so we need to be able to filter this down, to create a simple system, to be able to say
“in order for us to be OAIS compliant which everybody wants to be what do we have to do?”
So we started by first of all using a use case methodology in the City of Vancouver
project and breaking down each of the functional components and doing a detailed use case analysis,
breaking it down hierarchically, to figure out what comes in, what goes where, and start
translating the language a little bit to something that’s more practical and that fit more archival
business standard archival business processes. Those use cases still weren’t enough, they
were still too abstract at that point, so then we started developing UML activity diagrams,
which is this you know very specific workflow methodology. And those actually went through
three iterations as well because the pure adaptation from the OAIS model still was too
abstract for us to be able to apply it directly to match the requirements of the archival
businesses processes in the City archives. So the third iteration is one that we could
use as the baseline system requirements for development and that’s what we’ve been using
over several iterations of the software development now. It gets updated each time we do the software
development because, again, the actual deployment of software trying to integrate it into some
case studies, use case studies inside the archival institutions and the limitations
of the technology itself as they exist today in 2009/2010, actually influences the requirements
because it’d be great if we could theoretically we can say it’d be great if we can do this,
if we can’t do it, what’s the point? So it really is the focus using agile methodology
is really to be as realistic and as practical as pragmatic as possible to get something
working today that still meets best practices and standards. So in any system releasewe
end up with a set of system workflow instructions that essentially take these functional requirements,
which say specifically what the system needs to be able to do, and because we don’t necessarily
have all the technology it isn’t mature, it isn’t necessarily fully integrated yet there
may be technical gaps, it may be simply development gaps we haven’t had time to get to.
But what we want to do is be able to say even with the very first iteration one proof of
concept, we were able to identify specific steps that either technology, a technical
tool, or archivist performing a manual step would complete so that from point A to B we
would have fulfilled all the OAIS requirements and that’s really for us is a critical, again
another critical principle in the project. That the system is not just technology, it’s
an integrated whole of people, procedures, and software. So that with every iteration,
we’re confident that, if that’s all you had, if development stopped today, we are convinced
that we could still take those instructions, take that technology, and complete OAIS SIP
processing, get the AIP, get it out to the consumers, and still be fully compliant with
the OAIS functional model. So this is the latest set of the workflow
instructions that’s available for download. I see somebody photocopied for you a page
or two of it as well. And this is what the archivists do, the user would use to then
follow along and actually complete the steps within the system. With the white boxes being
the automated steps and the other being the manual steps here.
So we took each of the steps in the process and we mapped them, we essentially made them
a what’s called a micro-service. The micro-services approach to digital preservation is turning
out to be quite a legitimate and quite effective alternative to a large repositories Is that
somebody’s phone? [Audience Giggles]
[interruption] I was saying that the micro-services approach
is turning to be quite an interesting and I think very effective alternative to large
scale repository based digital preservation systems. Where the system is built around
the capabilities and of the technology stack first. It starts with the repository stack.
It starts with … essentially the framework stack which almost always is J2E, like, you
know, JBoss servers, that kind of thing. And then works its way forward from there, saying
this is the technology we have, how are we going to meet the requirements?
Alternatively, the micro-services approach says these are the actual granular things
that need to happen along the way of an OAIS workflow and here’s some tools, or here’s
some manual processes we can map to that to get this job done.
So our and this is over the last couple years, the California Digital Libraries has been
doing a lot of work to kind of standardize the micro-services approach and they’ve published
a number of specs in collaboration with the Library of Congress as well, and I know just
recently iRODS itself (one of the research collaborators here with NARA) has also started
to define… again, it was one of those things where we were already doing it that way, it
just didn’t have a name yet, and iRODS was already doing it that way as well, it just
didn’t have a name yet. Now we’ve got a proper name, we’ve got a lot
of theory around it now that helps us kind of essentially establishes a legitimate alternative
to repository based digital preservation systems. Okay, what does that mean?
[Peter, There is a question] Hello? I was just wondering. This seems to
be a nice micro-services idea, and this seems to be a nice imitation of modularity in the
system. How much have you guys tested that as a proof of concept in terms of swapping
out different tools for the various micro-services. Is that…
Yeah, it’s working out quite well so far. And that’s obviously – yes, yes, thank you
for bringing that up. That’s one of the key again one of the key principles is the idea
that we’re not married to a giant technology stack, so that if we have one tool providing
say normalization services, or providing unique identifiers, if that tool, for whatever reason,
we have a better tool or that tool has limitations, we should be able to swap it out of the stack
and put a new one in and carry on processing like we did before.
And that’s we rarely had that with the Xena. Xena is a normalization tool put up by the
National Archives of Australia and our very first iteration started using we used Xena
to do our normalization of office documents to OpenOffice format. And there were certain
limitations with that tool that we just were unhappy with and we ended up actually swapping
that out over this last release and putting in, just using it’s called the UNICOM, it’s
a service engine that uses the OpenOffice engine directly.
So Xena was using OpenOffice as well, but it introduced a whole bunch of layers and
wraps around it that wasn’t really working with our workflow. So in fact we did that,
we pulled out Xena and we dropped in UNICOM instead. And that’s one of the beauties of
the micro-services model. And we did that in like two days, with a bit of testing and
so forth. So this is definitely I think one of the strengths
of the micro-services approach. And particularly for our problem in digital preservation where
again, the technology that’s creating the digital objects that we’re ingesting and the
technology that’s available to us to manage that stuff is constantly changing.
And essentially what we’re trying to do with the Archivematica project is not just develop
software but develop kind of a methodology that micro-services help to kind of define
that theoretically but practically as well we want to develop a methodology that makes
it very easy for us to constantly be adapting to that change.
So what Archivematica is then is a system. And again the California Digital Library guys
just did a great paper they’re going to present at the Open Repositories in Spain in the summer
where they talk about the Unix pipeline that affords this has been around for a long time
already, since the 70s, is this idea of the Unix pipeline is essentially you take the
standard output of one process and you make it the standard input for the next process.
And that’s essentially what Archivematica is. It’s a classic mixed pipeline of OAIS
defined micro-services and we map, you see the micro-services at the top there? Each
of those is mapped to one of the existing open source tools that we’ve integrated into
the application. If you go to, it’ll give you a listing of all the tools
that are in the current release as well as a link to all their licenses because of course
we want to make sure all the licenses are compatible so that we can continue to give
the entire system, the entire stack, away fully free and open source.
And so we’ve got digital information objects working their way through the various micro-services
workflows and simply being passed on from one process to the next using standard Unix
pipeline approach, where we’ve got a combination of Python scripts and BASH scripts that simply
move the stuff along, queue it, make sure it’s locked so that we don’t get clashes in
the pipeline and so forth, making it possible, again, to run the entire system from a USB
key for demonstration purposes, obviously a 4 gigabyte key is what I’m running the software
off right now. And what we end up doing is we end up bundling,
we’ve been working with the Ubuntu operating system we went to a specific flavor of it
that uses the XFCE desktop called X-Ubuntu but it’s essentially the full power of Linux,
the Linux operating system, that we’re building and integrating this off of.
It gives us a nice user-friendly desktop to work from and we’re bundling all these tools
on top of it and we’re allowing the user to come in and bring in their digital objects
externally, so either through – from a network directory like the DOD standard requirements
of 50152 what is it? I think I got it right is that right?
15 dash Yeah, you know the one. It talks about the
transferring records, making them available on the network directory. So Archivematica
would have a watch directory. It would see the submission information packages that appear
in the network directory and then the archivist or the system would pull them in and start
triggering and trigger the workflow process. Or what we’re doing in the City of Vancouver
for example, the Bannock records. They don’t want to give us their server, so we have to
go in with a bunch of one terabyte hard drives, use CRC tools to we’re using RSINK to get
the stuff off their drives, confirm that we’ve gotten it on the hard drive, bring it back
to the City of Vancouver, plug it in to a transfer station, and use external hard drives
to then move it over and kick start the workflow process.
The entire system is packaged as a virtual appliance that combines all of this combines
here we’ve got the operating system, we’ve got all the tools, we’ve got the integration
code living as one system. We can make a virtual appliance that runs inside a VM player like
Virtual Box or VMWorks, so we can put it down on servers.
At the IMF for example, it’s running off a VMWorks server. I can run it off a bootable
USB key like I’m doing now as a demonstration system, but we can make much larger USB keys,
so I’m planning a little project on my holiday to do my own family digital archives using
a completely USB-run system. You can then also put a dedicated PC and servers.
So at the City of Vancouver Archives, they’re actually more this set up here where we’ve
got about five or six workstations now that are networked in a totally private area network
so that there’s no issues with security or with external records coming in until they’re
actually ready to go into the network storage. And we’re able to use the same disk image
that we use to create the virtual appliance and the USB key as a completely bare metal
install on the machine. So it’s just here’s a machine, boom we install
it on there. It’s got 4 gigabytes of space, we blow it up to a terabyte that’s available
and now we’ve got a fully ready, functional Archivematica node. And then we can connect
various nodes over the network. So we use that to replicate itself over the network,
and then we can the archivist, there’ll be two archivists working at the beginning, so
they can do their own SIP processing at a time, they can share archival storage, they
can share the access system by a network connection. That’s all happening from the same virtual
appliance. Okay, so, when the user boots up from the
USB key or starts the machine that has a dedicated Archivematica install, what they’re going
to see is a desktop. And again, part of our agile iterative approach was that we can either
interface this thing or we can use the operating system or we can use a file manager as the
— we’re moving files through a pipeline so a file manager makes a perfect user interface
for this. And so we’ve got a number of scripts imbedded in the OS inside the file manager
to help the archivist move stuff from one place to the next.
Over time, as we get the system gets more sophisticated, a lot of this will actually
move to a web-based dashboard. We’re already starting to develop that right now. So the
archivist primary interface will become a web-based dashboard but for the time being
it’s the archivist works with the desktop interface. So the first folder is the receiveSIP
folder and this is a watch folder. You notice the arrow and that’s just to simulate
if this is a live system, we have it watching a network directory through a SIP share or
an NFS share, web database GP, there’s a number of ways we can watch external directories
and have the notification come up to the archivist when a SIP has arrived from external media,
or from the network drop. See here I’ve got three sample SIPs. And we’ve
only got time to go through one so I’m going to go to the one that’s got more detail to
it. And so here the use case we’re simulating here is a submission information package coming
from the electronic records document management system. So it has its retention schedules,
every year, every month, it has a number of records that come up for archival preservation.
Those, the system exports and puts in this specific drop space.
The other examples: images, multimedia, maybe the archivist has gone and done a retention
evaluation of the shared directories. I mean that’s one of the first places these types
of pilots typically start before we go through the more sophisticated system integrations.
So the archivist makes a copy of the SIP. And that’s of course, for example, in the
City of Vancouver, we have two backups so that if anything happens during the processing
we can go to one of the external copies, we can go to another backup copy because we’re
not going to sign off and destroy this SIP until we’re happy, we’ve got a fully ready
AIP and DIP loaded to the access system. So as that package that comes into the system,
it gets converted into an Archival Information Package an AIP, what we call “apes” and
then the dissemination information package is the package that’s the information package
that’s made available to the end user. And that’s called a “dip” for short. And all
of them are essentially a combination of the actual digital objects and the bit streams
as well as any metadata that describes, i.e. technical metadata and descriptive metadata.
The combination of the two makes an information package and depending on where it is in the
process it’s either a SIP, an AIP, or a DIP. So they come in as SIPs and again, keep in
mind this is designed for archival business processes so we have a review SIP step where
the either the system at some future iteration will actually go an check the manifest to
make sure it’s compliant with the submission agreement that they’ve established with the
producer, or the archivists themselves can do a check and make sure that the metadata
that they were expecting was the right kind for this type of system transfer, do a ND5
check on received to make sure that the files weren’t corrupted between transfer.
And so here for example is… we’re starting this SIP – the descriptive metadata with essentially
qualified Dublin core, so in this particular scenario, we say that the electronic records
document management system gave us some metadata that we’ve mapped to the appropriate Dublin
core elements. If the system didn’t come with the metadata
at this stage then the archivist could right-click and add a blank Dublin core XML template,
which then they would fill in with any descriptive metadata they have.
We expect to make add EAD as an option and we very likely are going to have to have some
kind of we’re looking at some other projects that have basically, like California Digital
Library, the Tipper Project essentially qualified Dublin Core doesn’t give us enough elements
to capture everything we want to handle transfer and appraisal.
But then the other option is of course, at the City of Vancouver, they use the TRIM document
management system and it gives us a whole bunch of metadata a lot of it is quite useful
obviously for description and so forth. And so what we’ll do is we’ll end up taking
the custom metadata that comes from whatever target system there is and we’ll end up bundling
that as well in what ends up being a METS XML profile.
So for all intents and purposes we’ll say that this one checks out and we’re happy with
it. So we move the SIP to quarantine. This is a practice that we’ve adopted from the
National Archives of Australia, the theory being that when you take in a bunch of records
that have been transferred, there very likely could be a bunch infected with a virus.
If you put the typical virus tools that don’t have the definitions updated until a few days
later or a few weeks later as the threat becomes known and they put a patch in for it. So the
idea is that I think in the national archives it’s really they’re standardized at thirty
days. So you put your stuff away for thirty days, when it comes out you run a virus check,
you update your virus check tool, and you run a virus check on it.
Assuming everything clears, you start posting your records. So that’s a step that we’ve
incorporated into Archivematica as well. For demonstration purposes, it’s just set to a
minute right now. So it’s crunching away. And as soon as the minute’s up it’s going
to start processing and preparing the SIP for appraisal.
And so what it’s done already is it’s assigned a unique identifier obviously we have to have
a unique identifier assigned to all our information packages, to package itself as well as all
its contents. There it goes, it’s just finished quarantine, so now it’s starting appraisal.
Notice it says quarantine completed. And now it’s extracting packages, so one of
the things we found in very early iterations is that you end up with lots of zip files
and you don’t know what you’re going to get when you start pulling stuff off a shared
directory for example. And part of our design goal is to be able to handle anything that
gets thrown at it. So one of the very practical things we have to do is clean up file names
and extract packages. The other thing is you have ampersands, weird
combinations of characters that are prohibited in Unix where we’re running all these tools.
So we do a cleanup of the file names, of course we keep a log of any file name changes that
we’re making. So our unique identifiers that we’re using
are UUIDs Universally unique identifiers, which we think is a very simple and elegant
solution to the identification problem. There’s been a lot of effort put into creating global
registries for unique identifiers and I think using UUIDs is actually a much simple, more
elegant solution. It’s an algorithm that’s available as a standard Linux utility tool,
it’s available for every programming language available it’s an algorithm that makes it
very, very, very unique it’s very difficult to replicate.
I’ve got a little quote there, it’s something about let me see it it’s very unlikely in
our known space and time that we’re going to create a duplicate UUID, which totally
eliminates the need to go register somewhere globally because if I use this tool to create
a UUID over here, if you’re creating one over there, they’re going to be unique there’s
no point, they’re not going to clash. Then we can use things like archival resource keys
to like put name spaces on them and so forth. Okay so I’ll get so the appraisal just finished,
you saw the notifications popping up as it’s going through and we’ll take a look at it
in a second. One of the critical things we did was, after we did the – assigned the UUID,
we checked the checksums to make sure whatever got sent to us was actually what was received.
We extract the packages between the file names, and then we started identifying, validating,
and extracting metadata from the digital objects, so this is one of the places where the actual
practical tools first started to emerge about five years ago. There was the project out
of it started at Harvard I guess was JHOVE the National Archives of the UK had DROID,
and the National Library of New Zealand had a Metadata Extractor.
And these are tools that were – the whole purpose was to do identification validation,
so yes you sent us something called blahblahblah.mpeg, but is it really an mpeg file? Is it really
.doc? Is it really a Microsoft Word document? So what these tools are designed to do is
actually look at the bit streams, look at their headers, and say yes, this in fact a
document, and then validate it against published standards.
Say this particular document actually meets this spec and it is a valid Microsoft Word
document, a valid MPEG file, and then typically most digital objects have a lot of imbedded
metadata that’s either explicitly in the header or we’re able to pull out using certain tools
so there’s a whole wealth of technical metadata that we can pull out of existing digital objects
that can help us with arrangement and description, with authentication and so forth. And of course,
digital preservation it tells us what the file formats are and what we need to do with
them. That’s low resolution there. So the very first iteration of Archivematica
was essentially taking these tools, which is one of the things, most archivists that
have been involved in digital preservation have heard about these tools, but it’s just
actually getting these installed, like on typically they have a Windows desktop that’s
like locked down by their network administration and they can’t even get their hands on the
tools. So our very first goal is to just get these
tools on a platform that we made alive, you can easily pop it in anywhere and work with
it, so archivists can actually start working with the tools they’ve been hearing about,
and going to conferences and hearing about. And so we did the same thing and presume that
this is going to be able to give us the very first step in the process we can do identification
validation. The problem we’ve run into and this is all on the Vancouver Archives Project
wiki and there is a test set of about 30 different file format types this is only the first four
or three. We found very very conflicting results between
all the various toolsets and the end result is they’re all very early stage tools still,
they’re all excellent projects and they’re all trying really hard with the resources
they have but they’re actually not necessarily very reliable quite yet. If you compare all
the various test results. And this is actually a real problem still I think in the digital
preservation domain is getting good reliable identification validation and comprehensive
that’s the other problem. It’s like, you know, we can target a few specific
file formats, but to get all of the thousands of potentially known file formats that we’re
going to have thrown at it, to be able to identify, that’s just a logistical problem.
So that was, we kind of hit the wall on that one and fortunately out of nowhere came what
I think is probably the most underrated digital preservation project out there today, is
– [Mark Conrad has a questions]
Peter, I’m looking at your side and you say that the services validate format, at least
in the case of DROID, all it’s doing is doing stringchecks within the header, does this
other tool do actual validation? No, not very well. And I think the file tool
does. But you’re correct Mark and it’s really only doing it’s trying it’s best at identification.
And validation for us the defacto validation is happening when we throw it through the
normalization tool because the normalization tool will either choke or it won’t. And for
us right now that’s the only real reliable way to do validation.
So, you’re correct in that it’s really only identification that’s working, although the
tools profess to do validation, right? And it depends on the file format. Again I think
there’s a very limited set where they will validate, but again that’s a known limitation
of this whole area, this whole tool site area right now.
Okay, thanks. I mean in your experience, is there a tool
that does that properly right now? There are individual tools for individual
formats. Exactly
But that’s it. Yeah, so that’s the problem. So I think FITS
is a really really good start. Are you familiar with FITS, Mark?
Yup And so I think this is a really great start
on starting to solve this problem and essentially what it is is a lot like Archivematica it’s
a wrapper around existing tools. And what it does is it takes the best practice tools
we have so far as well integrates a few other known Unix utilities that do this kind of
work and what it does is it will output a report, which is what’s happened here after
we fed them through FITS. So for each file, we get a FITS log report
and it essentially reports on the various conflicts. So it tells us what each first
of all it tells if there’s consensus and unfortunately quite often there’s not and again these tools
are still very raw. Sometimes very simple problems, like one using it’s just a namespace
issue like where you’re not using the correct file extension and so forth and so the two
consider them to be two different things. There’s issues with identifying the correct
version and so forth. But it does actually, you know in the end what it does is it takes
all the output from all these tools and publishes it in a report and what you can do is you
can go to the FITS tool and tell it I trust this tool more than the other or I want to
base whatever I do I want to give this tool a higher ranking or I want you to use this
tool last to evaluate the conflict and use it as the deciding vote.
So it gives you more flexibility in mixing and matching, but we haven’t ourselves, we
haven’t gone really that far yet in doing that. But it certainly is to my opinion is
definitely the way forward and we’re relying heavily now on the FITS project which is in
very active development and there’s a lot of work being done.
This is out of Harvard University. And I think it was really it saved our butt because we
had a serious problem with how do we go forward. We basically were at the point where we were
going to have to develop our own FITS tool. But of course this is the beauty of the open
source model somebody has gone, made and developed as open source and boom we can integrate it
into our project and we can move onto other things like finishing the work flow automation.
[Peter, we have another question…] Hi, it’s Richard Marciano.
Hi Richard. I had a question regarding your workflow framework,
since you explain it as sort of being a generalization of Unix pipes, typically that means that there’s
no space for global state information and that you’re passing information from a previous
stage to the next stage. Could you comment on that and say a little bit more about how
all these tools actually coordinate and if there’s any notion of state that’s built into
this framework. Yeah, that state is captured in the log files.
So the state of the actual digital object never changes, right? We will normalize it,
which means we make a copy of it right on top of this box here like here your disembodied
voice coming from a black box on the table. The digital object never changes state and
that’s the whole point. We want to authentically preserve it. The only time it changes state
is when we make a normalized preservation or access copy of it. All the things that
are happening to the object and all the information we’re able to pull out of it and again all
the things that we are doing it to it those are being captured in log files.
In fact, if you look at your screen captures, there’s probably a couple of shots of the
log file directory and including the FITS output, including things the log for when
we extracted things and so forth. And that’s later on sort of gets imbedded back in a METS
doc, and we’re still working on getting all of the log file into a METS document.
But the standard input output is that we pass – the output typically is the file – and
then we pass it on to the next process where something again something either pulls information
from it or does something to test it or in some cases again logs so I guess I lied. We
do change the file name so you can argue that’s a state change, but typically I guess the
separation is that the object just keeps getting passed through the pipeline and the actual
information about things that are happening to it are being captured in the log file.
Does that answer your question? Yes, thank you.
So, here’s a log for the UUIDs that are being assigned to the objects. Then we check the
virus scan. So I didn’t mention either that we’re using the ClamAV tool which is being
run on most I think the majority of email servers worldwide right now to, you know,
essentially because a lot of people pass attached documents, so there’s a big problem with viruses
coming through email servers. So it’s a very active and again fully free
and open source project. So Archivematica, as long as it’s got an internet connection,
it’s constantly pulling down the ClamAV virus definition updates.
Okay, so our next step is the archivist now has all the information in front of them.
Oops, I closed the, uh So another step in our workflow now is that the archivist is
getting ready to appraise the SIP, so again this could be there’s this rule that says
don’t bother if it’s coming from this kind of system, or the archivist could actually
manually go in now and take a look at the objects.
They know there’s no virus issue. Again, the virus issue, for us, it’s almost like a feel
good factor for us. It’s more of an issue when we pass the object back to the consumer.
Most of the viruses that are being written aren’t going to be an issue on the Linux system
that we’re using to manage Archivematica. It’s got to be some pretty tricky viruses
to actually cause a problem for us inside the system, but it’s more an issue and a courtesy
not to pass infected objects on to the consumer if they ever ask for an AIP with the object
in it. So the objects have been virus-checked, we’ve pulled as much metadata as we can about
it. That information is available right now in the log files.
And at this point the archivist could make decisions about whether certain objects actually
meet their appraisal requirements for historical value, informational value, for legal value,
or they can assess the technical capabilities of the archives to preserve whether they’re
happy with the default normalization policy that’s going to kick into effect depending
on the file formats that were identified whether they want to change those at this point. Any
number of things could be happening in this appraisal stage depending on the institutional
policy. One thing, we didn’t do one thing we’re leaving
as optional right now is we unzip the zip files, so you notice here those got extracted,
but we kept the original zip files as well. So here’s an example of where I might say,
okay, we don’t as a policy we don’t actually want to keep those, we’ll trust that the extraction
worked properly. And you’ll notice that there’s a manifest
for the SIP itself, and here’s where we’re starting to assemble all of the information:
the descriptive metadata that came along for the ride in the Dublin Core, XML that was
included is in the descriptive metadata section, we have the AMD and file sections describing
the actual contents of the information package, and we’re starting we have the starting bits
of inserting PREMIS metadata into the administrative metadata section, in this case the UUID and
original file naming if the file name was changed, and something for 07 is to get all
of the log metadata into PREMIS events, it’s a major deliverable for us that we’re working
on in 07 release. So, I’ll take the let’s say I’m happy with
it as is, so I’ll drag the office doc SIP and move it over to the prepare AIP folder.
So again it’s a watch folder as soon as the file hits it, it knows to send it to the next
step in the pipeline and essentially the message we’re getting is it’s normalizing and it’s
now converting the files to preservation and access formats.
And this is again one of the critical components of the Archivematica system is the I’m getting
a message now that the Archival Information Package is getting prepared. So essentially
what we’ve done is our default preservation policy in the Archivematica system is to use
normalization. So essentially I think after all these years
I think we’re still down to basically four primary strategies: it’s technology preservation
keep all technology running to keep your information accessible on the system that created it;
emulation so recreate the operating system application environment in which the digital
objects were originally created so at some point in the future, you could emulate that
environment and bring the original digital objects back so that people can read and use
them at that point in time; thirdly it’s migration it’s that take all the stuff and keep a close
eye on it and if you think that some of the file formats are at risk so that people will
not be able to read and use them at some point in the future or in the present, then go and
migrate those to a format that you can view and use them on; or normalization, which says
right at the point that we get them let’s figure out what’s our best bet for long term
preservation and convert the files to that format and make that our primary preservation
format that we preserve it as. So Archivematica is for all three of the latter,
we support emulation, we support migration, we support normalization. So we’ll always
keep the original file format we’ve got to cover our bets so ideally the emulation technology
advances, we’ll always be able to pull up the original object and be able to emulate
that. Migration is, well, we do normalization by default, so as stuff gets ingested, we
see a file format, we map it to a preservation file format. If at some point in the future
five, ten years down the road we say okay, we’re not happy with TIFF, we’re not happy
with MPEG, we’re going to migrate those? Then we have a migration alert and the system
would use the same normalization process to then do a migration and convert those files
to the new preservation file format. But our default policy is normalization and that is
to convert upon ingest and again that is the default strategy used by the National Archives
of Australia as well. And part of their rationale as well is that we figure we’re going to have
limited amounts of time to actually pay attention to these SIPs as they’re coming in and it’s
probably at the point of ingest that we have the attention span of the archivist.
After that we just have such a large volume of information that we’re never going to necessarily
have the time and the resources to go back and do the detailed migration analysis and
so forth. So the point is let’s get as much done as we can at the point where we’re actually
paying attention to this system, at the point in time where we’re actually bringing objects
in. So a big part of our work over the last year
is to define our media type preservation plans, so essentially to take specific file formats
that we’re going to expect to be getting in and again we started with the City of Vancouver
and the IMF as our case studies and seeing the typical files that they’re getting that
they’re expected to ingest over there and trying to group them into media types so that
we can standardize and have a preservation file format for a specific media type.
And the other thing we’re doing is we’re creating access formats. So the OAIS model specifies
that you go and get you create a dissemination information package when the consumer requests
it and you go and you get an AIP and you convert it into the DIP, which just isn’t very practical
I think. And one of the things the Family Search guys from the Latter Day Saints did
a presentation they probably have the highest requests per day for any kind of we’ll call
it digital archives system. They’ve got all the digitized genealogy records
and so forth they’re getting millions of hits a day and they’re trying to – they’ve applied
an OAIS reference model to their own digital archiving system but they’re saying this whole
thing of pulling the AIP off every time you get a request on a website is just not practical
and it really isn’t. So the idea here is that we anticipate what
we expect the good access format to be for the particular file format at the point of
normalization we create both the preservation format and an access format. And that access
format gets cached in the web access system so that it’s going to be able to take care
of 90% of the requests we get from consumers will be met by those access formats.
Of course we still want to have a process in place where they can request the AIP and
get at the original file format for example. But again, we expect those to be the very
minority of cases. So what we’re doing is, well we’re defining our media type preservation
plans, and again trying to do it in a very practical way, it’s just sit down, figure
out what file format we have, do our research on what’s a good preservation format.
And that’s been difficult to do this a lot of people aren’t necessarily publishing or
making, you know there’s bits and pieces around, but it’s not really in a systematic or structured
way are people publishing their format policies. And that’s been a bit of an issue. So we’re
doing a lot of work to try to assemble all that information. And access for preservation
formats it has to be in open format, so an openly published format, ideally managed by
an open some community committee or community process.
It has to be a format that is able to preserve most of the significant characteristics of
that file format and, in our case or a limitation we put on our own project, is that we have
to have a free and open source tool that can normalize that format. If we don’t, then it’s
not really an option for us because one of our design goals is to be able to give this
system away as a fully free and open source system.
And that creates some problems for us, for example, in converting Microsoft Office documents
without any kind of noticeable loss. So as an example, we’ve got so this is all on the
Archivematica wiki, so the page I’m showing you here, if you go follow the link to media
type preservation plans, it shows you the overview of the file formats, what the preservation
format is, what the access format is, what tool we use to normalize it.
You can drill down to each individual file format, there’s a link to its PRONOM information
until we have the Universal format UFDR PRONOM’s the best thing going we’ve got right now for
kind of giving unique identifiers to actual file formats. There’s a link to the significant
characteristics, so for audio, the Florida Digital Archives has done a lot of good work
on identifying essential characteristics in a very practical way, so we’re borrowing a
lot of their published information about their essential characteristics analysis.
And so what we do is for each media type we talk about what we consider to be the core
essential characteristics these are the characteristics that we have to be able to preserve when we
go from the source format to the preservation format. Then we do actual tests so we use
tools FFmpeg makes a great tool for doing audio and visual conversions, very well established
in the open source community so we run tests, we compare, make sure the tool does what we
expect it to do. And then we set up an actual media type preservation
plan for that particular media type. And this is all a work in progress, and it’ll be a
work in progress for as long as you know the Archivematica system’s around, which is going
to be for a long, long time. But the point is that it’s all accessible. We’re making
all this research, we’re not saying we’re perfect, we’re just doing the best we can
and every time we make a decision we try to document where we’re getting this information
from, whether it’s from us running our own tests or pulling it in from other sources.
And then we convert the media type preservation plan into an actionable configuration file.
So by that we mean when you go into the Archivematica system, there’s a folder called format policies
and for each file extension, there is a very simple format policy that captures the decision
made for that particular release on the preservation and access format.
So if you go to WMA, you’ll notice that the very first value, it says inherit audio. And
so what that means is that we can have rules specifically for when is a media audio here,
but in this case we said okay the media object belongs to audio and we’re going to inherit
the preservation rule we’ve established for audio. And likewise what we could do here
is we could then simply, if there’s multiple variations of an extension name, we could
simply put the one that’s actually containing the rule.
And here we go to the audio XML file and we’ve got a very simple definition of what our access
format, our preservation format, and then the actual conversion command that Archivematica
will pull out and apply to the normalization tool. So institutions can actually go right
into this XML file if they want to change bit rate or other kind of values that they
want to change. They’re able to alter their own normalization and preservation format
policies by simply editing an XML file. So we’re doing our best to come up with default
policies and say this is what we think is appropriate for Archivematica but we’re not
locking anybody down to saying this is the one that you have to apply to your institution.
[How are we doing for time? Looking good so far, okay]
And I think this is actually a very practical contribution that we’re making in the Archivematica
product. Whether it’s useful to anybody else, well time will tell. Again, and our own experience
is that it’s great that we’ve got PRONOM out there. Like, you know so we can have – we
essentially have a registry to say definitively what’s the correct name to use, the correct
extension to use for a particular file format. We’ve got things now like the PLANETS project
has the PLATO tool and the test bed which lets you do the similar testing to what we’ve
done but in a much more you know it’s a bit more heavy duty in that it’s done within a
JAVA framework; if you want to test a tool, you’ve got to build a JAVA wrapper for it.
Us we just go out and get it and it’s there. You can do that – I can add it right from
this USB key right now to do my test and record it in a wiki. It’s slightly different approaches
to the same problem two compatible approaches. So I guess what we’d like to do over time
is actually contribute and make this useful with those gaps we can contribute some of
the tests we’ve been doing to that test bed repository. But after that, so you’ve done
tests, you’ve said okay, these are finished tests and this is good, or we lost some characteristics
here, we lost some characteristics here. At the end of the day, the small to medium
sized institution just wants somebody to tell them what do we do? Like what do we do now?
That’s all great, very theoretically sound, but you haven’t told us how to solve our problem.
I got thousands of objects coming in; I need to do something with them. So, for what we’re
doing here is we’re just explicitly publishing the preservation format for this iteration
of Archivematica. In this case, in these rules here, we also
want to what we’re going to do is establish an external RDF registry so that the system
itself can go create the external repository. And this is how we would trigger any migration
processes. So if we look back at the high level architecture diagram, you’ll notice
that under the monitor preservation service, it’s going and checking the format registry
and all the format registry is, essentially, is an online repository of those format policies.
And if there’s any changes for a particular file format, the Archivematica itself will
get that information back and it can trigger process using the actual normalization rules
to do a mass migration. At the same time, other projects can actually query that online
repository as well. And there’s some really interesting work being done at the University
of Southampton with the Preserve2 Project where they’re using RDF graph technology as
well to go and compare and do risk analysis for different file format policies. But again,
it’s all in this very early native stage. But we’re looking ahead and we’re hoping to
be interoperable with those kinds of initiatives. Okay, so going back to the workflow process
then, we’ll notice that the prepareAIP process is finished, it’s demoed the normalization
using the rules that are defined here and it’s created a BagIt a zip file using the
BagIt format so BagIt is both a specification and a set of a number of different types of
scripts. We’re using the one from Library of Congress
the JAVA script and what it does essentially is it’s just a very basic specification that
just has some very basic specifications about how we create information packages. And it
was originally designed for exchanging information packages between institutions, but we think
it’s ideal also for actually creating archival information packages and the Tipper Project
was a collaboration between New York University, Florida, and I’m missing one of them, but
they’re testing out some of this conceptually to see if I have a BagIt file and I got it
from my Fedora repository and I’m sending it to your custom-made repository, is your
repository able to ingest it and receive it in?
And theoretically that is what we should be able to do, but I’m really quite, I think,
confident that BagIt is the best format that we have today to start creating these information
packages. There’s a lot of research being done around it as well. And again the whole
point of it is that it’s simple and that’s really something that we try to focus on constantly,
like let’s not over-engineer this, let’s keep it as simple as possible to reduce the layers
of complexity, to make it possible to easy to get at the information at some point in
the future. So what it does, it has a few rules about
simply packaging up your information and having a manifest, having the information about what
version of BagIt you’re using, putting checksums in it, and then having a payload directory
which is called data, which in Archivematica we divide into the logs directory, where we
keep all our raw logs, all the information about what’s happened to the information objects
through the workflow, the actual objects, and then again our own manifest, which is
a METS XML file. You’ll notice that the datavibe job vacancy
the rich text format it’s been converted to ODT (Open Document Format). The Word document’s
converted to Open Document Format and in some cases where we don’t have a good preservation
file format we just don’t do normalization, we preserve the original.
So this is our for our office documents example this is our archival information packages,
this is the thing we’re going to put away into storage now. It’s again identified through
UUID, what we’ve put stuff in the storage we want to use a modification of the California
Digital Libraries Pairtree specification, which all it does is takes two digits of your
identifier and makes that a subdirectory, so you can actually manually navigate the
directory using just the ID to get at your package.
We’re going to do 4 because a UUID’s a little bit longer. And at this point the system’s
agnostic as to what storage system is connected to it. So you notice here it’s a link directory
N, at this point this would be a shared directory that’s either connected to – for the City
of Vancouver we’re connecting it to a network-attached storage device. So it’s just – to them it’s
just an NFS share that they see as one giant directory where they put their stuff and the
guys in the back just keep pot swapping new boxes in as the terabytes get piled on.
We gave them a fright because we wanted a hundred terabytes right off the bat. There’s
a lot of Bannock stuff coming in, Olympic work, essentially community stuff coming in,
as well as a giant one of the animation companies in the City of Vancouver passed, basically
donated a whole bunch of stuff, so that’s terabytes of digital media. But the point
is that from the archivist’s point of view, they don’t want to manage storage, from an
Archivematica point of view we don’t necessarily want to manage storage either, we just want
to make sure that we’re compatible with as many types of storage, archival storage options,
as possible. So for my own home digital archives I’ve got
an Amazon S3 cloud storage account, where I can put all the stuff into Amazon buckets.
And for other situations you can have it go specifically external hard drives. We’re very
interested in looking at iRODS technology, having a data grid available to it and using
iRODS policies to then manage the geographically because we have an issue now with Canadian
archives interested in this kind of thing but they don’t want to use an Amazon S3 account
because they don’t want their data living in your wonderful country because of certain
legislation that allows certain people to look at the data if they so desire.
And that’s not just an issue with Canada. I think it’s actually I’ve been talking to
some people it’s just a comfort zone that most countries aren’t willing to cross that
border, so to speak. So in a lot of cases they’re looking at they like cloud storage,
they like grid storage, but they want it to be national. They don’t want it to be across
the national boundaries. And again that’s I think setting up an iRODS network is certainly
a good option to look at for Canadian deployment. Okay, so that’s the bit on the storage. So
it’s off in whatever storage we’ve connected it to. At the same time that the normalization
happened, it spit out the access copies into reviewDIP. So at this point the archivist
can have another look and decide whether there’s certain files that for let’s say copyright
or access reasons they don’t actually want to put up into the access system, they can
take them out at this point. But you notice here that we’ve normalized
pretty much we’re dealing with office documents so almost everything is normalized to PDF
here, the multimedia example, most of it would have been MPEG for audio and MPEG for video.
If it was the image was supposed to be JPEG at this point so whatever type of SIP we have,
whatever the media type is, it gets converted to the access format. So this is now going
to get uploaded into the access system. Peter, does the DIP know about its AIP?
Yes, it does. And in a very, very rudimentary way right now. One of our main deliverables
for the 08 release is syncing the DIP and AIP information. So but especially because
we use the UUID, the DIP knows about where its AIP is, but it’s very, very limited right
now. It’s very loose string. So we want we need entire integration between
them and of course if somebody sees an object in the access system and says now I want to
request the AIP we have to have that process in place to actually go get the AIP and so
forth. So when we build that piece we’ll tighten the integration between the two. But I do
want to note that we do think we do want to keep the descriptive information in our descriptive
system and technical metadata in the AIP. So we don’t want to get in the business of
taking and we’re having this debate right now how much of the technical metadata like
you saw the FITS report, right? how much of the technical metadata belongs in the descriptive
access system in a public access system. Well somebody may want to search on resolution.
Okay, resolution I could see. Somebody may want to – or bit rate, but there’s a whole
list of other technical metadata that are pretty much useless that people aren’t going
to be searching on. And on the same taken, it makes it’s much easier to manage your descriptions
in a descriptive metadata system rather than in zips, BagIt packages in archival storage,
which in a lot of cases you’re going to make near-line type storage as well.
So once you start talking about terabytes of storage it’s a lot you know we don’t necessarily
want to have to have highly available spinning disk storage, although that’s nice to have,
but it just becomes a cost issue. So I think there’s a lot of logical reasons not to have
everything synced 100%, like everything that’s in the AIP is supposed to be in the DIP? I
think from what we’re kind of dealing with right now where we’re kind of reviewing our
requirements is that, what can we put in the DIP, what can we put in the AIP and as long
as the two are inextricably linked, that’s acceptable to us.
Do you have to create a DIP? No, you could stop right now.
And with just – I could delete this right now and we would
be done. And you could still search the stored?
Yes, and that’s what we’re working on the dashboard, exactly. Right now we’re looking
at everything through the file manager interface. At some point (well actually, we’ve got it
already) we have the basic prototype working for it is, this is an earlier version but
this is the web-based interface, what we call the dashboard. So the dashboard will give
you the opportunity to search the archival storage, search the DIPS and so forth. A lot
of, almost all the log information will be accessible here.
So that’s all going to be fully indexed and searchable through the dashboard, but the
dashboard is not publicly accessible this is the thing that the archivists use. And
we want to put stuff up to a web access system and the two are completely separate systems.
And right now we’re integrating with ICA-AtoM but what we would like to be able to do is
you know, because we’re just using HTTP Post and basically a REST API, so that you can
start we’re talking to the ArCon people as well? The ArCon project? Which is now combined
with the archivist’s toolkit but we’d like to be able to have the opportunity to use
that as your web access interface. And then, you know, if somebody used ContentDM
or whatever else, we want to be able to have multiple accessing components. We want to
be agnostic to what you want to use for your access system. Because I think that’s one
of the other big hurdles to get across is that people need the OAIS processing piece,
but everybody already has an archival description and access component, or most people do. They
have their preference, so we don’t want to dictate what that’s going to be.
Are you recording relationship information or do you make preservation copies? Derivations?
Uh, yes, yes, yeah. Well it’s not in there now but it will be in the 07, that’s one of
the more detailed technical things that anyone talked about. Right now the connection’s purely
by the identifier.
So by following that collection, then you get the metadata over there which tells you
all the derivations that have been made. And that is something, I think, arguably, should
belong in the descriptive system as well. So you say hey, you’re looking at a PDF, but
by the way this came from a Word document. So what I’ve done now is I’ve dragged it into
the next Watch directory, which is uploadDIP. And I’m running a local copy of ICA-AtoM here;
for the same intents and purposes, that’s running somewhere completely over the web.
And in this case, the Dublin Core XML metadata that came with the SIP in the part-of element
identified what fonds you guys use record groups what record group it was part of, so
it knows as it’s uploading. It knows we’ve got one sample record group
in here right now, and so we’ve told it that all of the SIP is essentially part of that
particular record group, so it’s going to find it and attach itself to it. Otherwise
you would just create a brand new top level collection essentially. The level description
by default is set to the series right now. So Archivematica is uploading the various
files to this fonds right now. We don’t see any of it because oh there it
is, I’m to log in. I see it coming in. ICA-AtoM has a publication workflow oops which essentially
allows archivists to create descriptions while they’re working on it that’s not accessible
to the public search and browse. So while it’s getting uploaded it is not available.
It’s set to draft. But this is using the title from Dublin Core XML that came in and we’re
using we’ve got validation now as well. This is an ISAD description, we see the top
sort of telling the user what elements are still required to do proper ISAD description.
If you notice here, the various files you’re getting uploaded. If it had a multi-page PDF
it split it all onto multi-pages for browsing. The cover flow viewer starts to show all of
the documents as they’re coming in. and we took whatever metadata we got from the Dublin
Core XML file, but again we like to use EAD for that to make it take in as much as rich
archival description as we can if it’s already been created.
And then for each individual system we’ll have to do a mapping where we say this is
the metadata that comes out of your particular EAD METs or whatever other sources that you
have or this one legacy data migration project we’re doing for your shared directories and
this is the metadata we pulled off of it. And we map that to these archival description
elements for the purposes of when it gets to upload it to an archival description application.
And then once it’s inside Archivematica oh I’m sorry, inside ICA-AtoM then we can essentially
carry on with our archival description and add all of these various elements that are
available to whatever standard we’re using. So we can switch templates in ICA-AtoM, go
from ISAD to Dublin Core. And we’ve also got the rules for archival description and, by
default we’d like to have DAX in there as well for the U.S. users. Very close to ISAD
so that’s not a big stretch. So it’s gone over the output folder so all the files should
be here now. Refresh that. So what we’re looking at here
is the metadata that came along for the ride and just a few little sample elements. The
archivist now can carry on and do full archival description. So again, how much of – in this
case we’re using the ISAD templates and I can do things now like instead of series I
want to make it a subseries, add any of the elements for this particular at this level,
at the SIP level or at the admin level. I’ll also change the published status so as soon
as I do that, the archivist has time to look at it, take stuff out, add descriptions, and
then when they’re happy with it they can publish it and now it becomes available on the search
and browse index for the public. Peter, if your SIP had metadata saved from
TRIM or some other records management application, would it pull that?
Yeah, that’s what I was talking about. We have to define profiles. We’re going to have
generic profiles say our submission agreement is that you give us Dublin Core XML or you
give us EAD XML and if you do, we know how to handle it. Or we say for TRIM we know TRIM
spits out this kind of metadata, so we’re going to take it and this is what we’re going
to do with it. So we have to system by system and ideally
what would happen is at a project like City of Vancouver we create a TRIM profile and
TRIM’s used a lot of different places – we had some Malaysian archivists visit, they’re
using it for example so the idea is we created it once, as soon as we created it, it becomes
available as a profile that ships with the Archivematica. The next time somebody has
a document in – or whatever interface – we create a profile for that and whatever project
we have or a user out in the field creates that and contributes it back to the project.
So there’s no way we would know without there’s ways we can make a generic profile and say
we expect Dublin Core and EAD and it could do this is what we’re going to with it. And
otherwise we have to do an analysis for each various target system that’s contributing
content. So here I just so the archivist can do arrangement
and description once it’s in the system by dragging and dropping in the hierarchy tree.
Where did I drop that… There it is. And then do things like export as Dublin Core
or EAD after I’ve got a description and so forth. That’s pretty much it, like this is
where Archivematica 06 is at right now. The release we finished last week – we essentially
came out of a proof of concept. Until a year ago we weren’t sure whether this was going
to fly, we were just like well there’s nothing else going on, so in the meanwhile we’ve got
to do something so let’s see. The idea or the concept was: can we stitch together all
these tools to make something work. And the good news is that it’s working, we’re able
to do it, we’re confident now that the archives they’re as confident that you know we can
be compliant with OAIS, we can create archival information packages, put them away for long
term storage, using the tools we have right now.
Even this very, very early, raw prototype system. Until 05 it was essentially proof
of concept, now we have this raw prototype you can actually put down in front of an archivist
and they can get some work done. So there’s a lot of stuff we crammed into 06 release.
Asking about ingest, we want to make sure that we can properly take in BagIt SIPs as
well, so again if we’re getting stuff from other systems or we make ours kind of standardized
on the BagIt as our SIP standard, so not just standards in the metadata. Like it’d be nice
to have the qualified Dublin Core or EAD and then the way you put it all together, we’d
like you put it together as a BagIt. That would be our preferred submission information
package and if not, then we will create templates to map to whatever you’re sending us. We want
to be able the other big one is moving the log data into PREMIS elements and then completing
that work doing work on the first iteration of that web dashboard I showed you the screen
capture for. And then the big one for 08 we mentioned was getting the syncing between
the access system and the archival storage and we’re still making decisions there about
what’s our default metadata that we would want to share between the two.
And having a way to manage the processes. So from the dashboard, we want to be able
to say like right now we’re using lock and queuing utilities, which is great. So I could
throw a bunch of SIPs at the system at once and it will just kind of it will queue them
and it won’t choke on them, which is great. But now we want to be able to have it so that
we have multiple nodes. Let’s say I have three or four archivists working on ingest at the
same time, and we want to be able we’ve got so that if we’re doing the video conversions
like the animation company accession I was talking about has very large video files so
we know that machine’s going to be busy for the next six hours converting this giant video
file for example. So we want to be able to start the same archivist
wants to keep continuing to process the SIP, but it will be able to thread processes on
various machines. That’s something you know that’s pretty advanced step we can do to essentially
make it a production ready system that can handle high volumes of ingest. And that’s
the other big thing we want to work on. And of course the preservation monitoring piece.
We’ve already got a bit of a prototype out for the format policy registry I was talking
about, but we want to actually incorporate that into the working system.
So since we started this project now there is a couple of vendors that are offering similar
type solutions. So essentially, you know – one vendor specifically – talked the OAIS
language and are meant to do the same thing taking information packages from ingest to
access. But the one difference between Archivematica and them is that we’re a fully free and open
source project. And what that means is the product is free
as in free beer, so if I buy you a beer it’s an analogy, so I can buy you a beer, so it’s
free to you it didn’t cost you anything, there’s no monetary charge for you. Most importantly
though, it’s free as in free as a dove, so free software there’s four fundamental freedoms
that are at the core of what free and open software is and these are defined by Richard
Stallman who wrote the GPL license. There’s variations of this and there’s various
open source definitions, but the four core freedoms is that you can You have the freedom
to download this software and run it for any purpose. You have the freedom to study it
and essentially figure out how to adapt it to your own needs, so here’s Archivematica,
here’s a default, here’s what we did with it. See what you can do with it. If you want
to make customizations to it, you want to do something different with it, you’re more
than welcome to do it. And a critical piece of that is to give access
to the source code, so there’s a lot of projects around that say they’re free and open source,
but you can only download a tarball. Or you can download an executable file that they’ve
built with their own system so you can’t get at the source code. So I think that in order
for the free software to be free you have to have easy access to the source code.
You’re allowed to redistribute it to anybody, or society in general, for the society’s benefit.
And of course you can improve it and contribute it back to the community as a whole. There’s
no such thing as a free lunch, it always costs money to run technology, including free and
opens source software, including Archivematica. The big thing is though we can improve quite
a bit on the total cost of ownership, especially for the archival community where there’s limited
budgets. So I think the best analogy is kind of like a free kitten so it’s free to you,
but you got to pay to feed it, you know? But it will grow up and it’ll grow to love
you and can sit in your lap and purr and you’ll have a good relationship with it. So the point
I want to end on is that I think you know Archivematica is in this very early stage
but I think that we’ve already proven that we’re onto something and I think that in a
very short period of time, with very, very limited resources, we’ve been able to put
together a good raw working prototype and within the year’s time we expect to be at
a point where we have production ready or we expect systems that are able to go into
production-ready digital preservation processing. The big key difference again is that I think
we’re able to maximize limited amount of funding and resources that are available in the archival
community. Where this a lot early development done by lead institutions, essentially to
have all the knowledge about what archival preservation is, hire a contractor, they pass
that knowledge onto the contractor, they pain-stakingly co-develop digital preservation solutions
over a period of years and then can’t share that technology or that technical knowledge
with the community at large because the contractor now has a license on it and they’ll resell
it back to the community. So that knowledge that it’s essentially public
money being spent to create technology to preserve public records for the public trust
but it’s not in the public domain. And personally I have a problem with that, as a tax payer
I have a problem with that. Of course as an open source software developer it’s also my
business model is to offer an alternative to that. And so you know one of the big things
we want to do is encourage as much participation in the project as possible.
And there’s multiple way for us to find partners and collaborators and the open source business
model is one that’s very legitimate these days there’s lots of success stories and lots
of places where it works. But I think in particular for the archival community, where we’re dealing
with essentially one of our major problems is obsolete software, incompatible software,
and proprietary software, so it’s a little ironic that we would be funding solutions
to create proprietary solutions for it. That’s my open source spiel so I hope everybody
that’s my little bit about open source software and this is why I think open source software
is at the very least I want there to be a legitimate open source alternative for archival
institutions and that’s part of the rationale, one of the driving points, behind the Archivematica
project is to build a solid core of software code that works well, it competes just as
well with proprietary products but also it becomes a base for sharing knowledge within
the community and building that community. And this again, there’s lots of pieces to
the puzzle, a project like this started in our case started with us a service provider.
In some cases it starts with lead institutions. And as the projects mature, typically they’ll
establish some kind of foundation or steering committee and this is exactly the kind of
ecosystem that we’re looking to build around the Archivematica project.
So if you want to get involved, learn more, that’s where to find it the website where
to find more. Thanks for your time, I’ll take more questions if we have time.
[CLAPPING] I have another question. Go back to the beginning,
you said the archival object is a file. It is a SIP.
But you’re also equipped to deal with share drives, so if the content of the share drive
is an end user’s file or files, as opposed to something, I don’t know, coming out of
TRIM or some other RMA, the default arrangement of those files is the file the paths that
the user established. Does Archivematica preserve information about that structure?
Yeah, it keeps the same structure. So, one of the initial debates we had was whether
every file is a SIP or every file is an AIP and it just wasn’t practical. And the OAIS
specification is flexible on that point and we tried getting some debate on EXL about
it and some of that stuff but none of the people were talking about it.
In any point, the decision the design decision that we made is that whatever the user drops
down as a SIP, and that could be multiple files with nested directories, that’s what
we maintain as the AIP. And this is part of the design decision up front when we do integration
with the existing systems, is what’s a reasonable size for how many files we want to SIP or
what’s the rule for creating a SIP? The logical arrangement?
So for the electronic records document management system it’s all the files put in the same
classification code that have the same retention rule, that’s the stuff comes in as individual
SIPs. In your example,y ou say okay, I’m going to drag and drop all of my documents directory
with all of its various nested directories that’s what you drag and drop into receiveSIP.
Archivematica will start processing that as a SIP, as one giant information package with
multiple information objects, sorry multiple files within it. Or you can parse it out and
say okay, I want to take these objects and so forth. But it will respect whatever nesting
you’ve assigned to it right from the beginning. But again from a logical point of view you
probably don’t want to have a hundred directories with several thousand files as one giant information
package. It just makes it more difficult over time
to manage as archival information packages and so forth. But at this point it’s totally
agnostic in what you decide to feed it. Peter, what would you do with a web crawler?
I saw you had a HTTrack on one your tools, and you are going to have multiple levels
of hierarchies and file formats all over the place.
And that’s what we decided to do with the web crawl. I don’t know of any web archiving
project where they actually have somebody go through and rearrange it after the crawl.
It just is too time intensive. So yes, that’s a really good example, similar
to what Ken was saying, we will take the entire web crawl, starting at the roots at a URL,
which is you know, it’s like HTTrack, it relates it all to nested relative directories. And
we will take that in as the SIP. Does that answer your question? It’s the silence. To
be honest, we haven’t done much testing with it yet, so we don’t know at what point and/or
if it will choke, whether it’s the at this point in time that’s our design decision.
And if you’ve got the minutes is that Richard or is that Mark?
It’s Mark. We’ve got quite a few web crawls sitting on our test bed. One of them is, for
example, the KODIAK system investigation board website, which has somewhere in the neighborhood
of 4000 files and a dozen formats, and how many levels of hierarchy.
Yeah, 4000 files seems okay to me, like I think we’d be okay with that. It’s just more
processor cycle time. It just might take a long time to crunch through it all. I don’t
think that will be a problem, I mean that’s a small website. When you think like 4000
files. Yeah, that’s relatively small, but what do
you do with the normalization. Normalization is just going to go side by
side with the original format and it’s going to get mapped in the METS document and then
we can apply rules and logic to the METS document later on. So like, you know, it will create
the file groups, you know the METS in the file section. And that we can use that to
map, use its use attributes to figure out which was the original and which was the normalized
copy. So it’s we are applying preservation formats
where appropriate, so that’s one step better where you just doing a crawl and you put it
away into storage. Or you’re crawling and I think correct me if I’m wrong the Heritrix
approach is you do the crawl and essentially you stuff it into ARC files as a compression
package but you’re not really doing any preservation of the actual files that are coming back from
the crawl. Is that right in your experience? Do you have much experience with the Heritrix
approach? I haven’t played with Heritrix, I have played
with HTTrack and just the way you maintain the links, you know, depending on the settings
that you use on HTTrack you’ll get some very different results. And you will also get very
different results in terms of what you can disseminate from that.
Oh yeah, absolutely. So there’s like a black magic to getting HTTrack to work the way you
want and a lot of days invested in it usually. But we still like it as the only option. For
example the reason we integrated it is because we wanted to crawl the Vancouver Olympic Committee
websites because they were going to go down at some point. We’ve got to do something,
what can we do today? Well we can run HTTrack. So a couple of the archivists at the City
archives played with the settings for quite some time to get it to the point where we
were happy with the scope what we were getting back and now we know we’ve got something.
We’ve always got that original crawl. We’re going to run it through Archivematica so we’ve
got some normalized access copies. The settings you can use, you can use them
to create a completely relative website so when you start with the source page, you can
as long as there’s hyperlinks in the nested pages you can follow the hyperlinks around.
Of course JAVA script and search indexes won’t work. But the site itself is preserved, assuming
that you’ve got file readers for all the various file content that was on there.
What we would be able to do using the METS document we’ll be able to say, if you hit
one of these you know, create an alternate mapping so if you’re going to hit files let’s
say it’s ten years down the road and you’re going to hit certain files in there that we
know we no longer have viewers for anymore or file versions, we could use the mapping
and the METS file to swap those out with the ones sitting side by side.
So it leaves us more options, I’m not saying it’s a complete solution but it’s as good
as anything else out there as far as I’m concerned. Okay, thanks.
I don’t want to get too far into the waves which is usually a warning that I’m about
to. I’ve got lots of time, I don’t know about
your colleagues. I was wondering if you had any thoughts on
the tools, approaches that you might use toward the problem of withdrawing material and redacting
material that you publish. With drawing material? So you mean like scalable
vector graphics? Well, no, I mean withdrawing material…
Oh withdrawing, okay, pardon me, okay yeah. Well I think we would leave that open to the
access system. And like for example with the ICA-AtoM, we’re able to leave stuff as un-public.
First of all you get to decide before you upload whether you even want to upload stuff
altogether. If you have problems with there’s access issues, you wouldn’t upload that to
your access system anyway. And in that case you would probably integrate a redaction tool
at that point and redact it before it gets uploaded to the access system. It’s probably
the way we’d want to do it. For the time being, we typically have access
policy set at the series level or at the higher level, not at the item by item level, but
I know that’s not always the case. So we would withhold publishing, like we might have the
descriptive metadata but we might not upload the digital objects if that’s an issue.
But it really is something I don’t necessarily see other than integrating – again maybe adding
a micro-service for we probably wouldn’t even make it an Archivematica micro-service, just
make it a stop where you would then be able to apply a redaction tool and do what you
needed to do before you upload it. That’s probably how we would handle it but it hasn’t
been an issue yet. We haven’t spent much time thinking about it.
Okay, thank you. We’re good? Thanks everybody for your time.

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