Eva-Maria Artus (National Library of Estonia)

Preserving Our Heritage for Generations to Come: an Overview of Long-Term Digital Preservation

The essence of digital preservation is not just keeping the digital material on a disc or in a server. The digital preservation Maturity model (by PWC Estonia, 2019) suggests five levels to reach an Active digital preservation. When the organization has fulfilled all the lower levels and reached to a point when digital material is preserved longer than the device which has created it, one can say that the material is digitally preserved. It contains also a lossless migration between the different preservation formats of the same object. The lower levels of the maturity model contain back-uping and restoring the material, tools for automatizing the business processes, administering the digital objects, integrations with ingest and dissemination applications, taking account of the intellectual property and access rights.

The classical model for long-term digital preservation is OAIS (Open Archival Information System). It consists of ingest (submission of the material), preservation and access (dissemination). There are also various processes (preservation planning, administration, data management) to keep the material safe.

The main problems in the Baltic states in the field of digital preservation are the lack of staff with necessary training and expertise. From the technology side the obstacles are the lack of funding, lack of accessible technology tools and problems with integrations. The material of libraries is highly variable – including ‘traditional’ material as books, newspapers and pictures in the digital format but also music, videos, dynamic materials – apps, web objects, computer games, books with sound, etc.