About Archipel a Network-centric approach to sustainable digital archives
Archipel is based on the finding that a sustainable digital archive infrastructure is needed in Flanders in order to ensure a structural approach to the problem of digital archiving. This project is also based on the fact that there is an important role for players from the world of arts, cultural and scientific heritage and education in the development of this infrastructure. Our aim in this research project is to look into the practical aspects of creating a sustainable archive of diverse (complex) digital and multimedia objects within a decentralised Flemish digital archive infrastructure.
A key aspect in this study is the notion of sustainability, both in terms of the development of models and manuals for archive management (WP1), and equally in terms of technical innovation to guarantee access to the distributed archive. This study is based in part on the results of BOM-VL, but new research problems will also crop up that will be explored and demonstrated in a test bed (WP4), in which a number of ‘submission modules’ and ‘dissemination modules’ (see. OAIS model) will also need to be developed.
This raises questions about the legal status of the reuse of archive material (WP3). What are the restrictions, conditions and solutions? Our aim is also to work in a solutions-oriented manner and to work towards protocols and model licenses in collaboration with (representatives of) the proprietors, the education, cultural and heritage sectors and the cultural industries in Flanders.
It is also essential that we take into account ongoing applications-oriented exploration of potential use and valorisation scenarios aimed at sustainable access (WP3). How can we give information optimal value by setting up the data archives for sharing and circulating? Which innovative valorisation models are feasible within the Flemish context of problems relating to circulation and exploitation? The world of education and research are key in this, but we should not forget the private end users and the cultural industry. If we take the limited monetary value of a lot of heritage material in the culture and science sector, we need to look at how we might go about maintaining a long-term digital archive structure that is financially and organisationally feasible in Flanders.
And finally, the project will focus largely on the dissemination and valorisation of the results of the study among the target groups and sectors (WP5): this project will focus in particular on the aspect of sharing knowledge. A variety of different initiatives will be taken and different means of communicating will be used in order to actively involve the sectors and the target groups in the research project activities.
This project proposal will build on the research results and the achievements of the BOM-VL project (‘Storage and Access of Multimedia Data in Flanders - www.bom-vl.be) (1/1/08 - 30/6/09). This project has produced a considerable amount of research material (not yet finalised at the time of this application), but a number of questions remain unanswered. The BOM-VL project has demonstrated that certain solutions are feasible, but they do not provide sufficient indication of how a digital archive platform can be organised so that it is sustainable, especially when cultural and scientific heritage are involved. We have to bridge the gap between ‘feasibility’ and ‘sustainability’.
It is the explicit intention of the partners to make the results obtained in the project publicly available to anyone who wants to use them. This will be achieved among others via:
• themed and general workshops, seminars, symposia;
• diverse publications and extensive online circulation of reports and deliverables;
• supplying open-source source codes and initiatives to existing open source digital archiving communities;
• setting up a public project site which will enable interested parties to follow the progress of the project.
Archipel is a research project subsidized by the IWT (Agentschap voor Innovatie door Wetenschap en Technologie) within the framework of PIM (Program Innovative Media). The project will end the 30 September 2011.