February 1, 2008 -- Some of the Library’s newest partners in its program to collect and preserve at-risk digital information held a kickoff meeting on Jan. 17, 2008, at the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records in Phoenix.
The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records and its partners in Florida, New York, South Carolina and Wisconsin, are recent recipients of awards from the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) to fund their efforts to preserve state and local government information in digital form. Minnesota, North Carolina and Washington are the other states leading projects as part of this initiative.
The Arizona project, called the Persistent Digital Archives and Library System (PeDALS), emphasizes the inexpensive, reliable preservation of state and local government electronic records. Each participating state will have a PeDALS system of its own to ensure that each state’s records will be kept completely separate and data will not be intermixed.
The project expects that the collaborative will allow the group to share work and resources. Each state will identify four records series that can be sent to the state curators from the originating agencies with some basic metadata. This data will be processed using middleware to map and transform the submission information into an archives package and a dissemination package. Principle Investigator Richard Pearce-Moses, deputy director for technology and information resources at the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, explains, “It [PeDALS] uses middleware to describe business rules, from ingest to access.” (Middleware is software that mediates between an applications program and a network. It manages the interaction between different applications.)
The PeDALS project also makes clear the importance of engaging all the agencies involved in the lifecycle of the records, from the time of creation to their preservation and archiving. By involving state agencies with interest in various stages of the content lifecycle, PeDALS hopes to ensure participation from all critical parties. Engaging content creators is of primary importance to the project.
PeDALS will create specific processes for record administration and preservation. The state archivists and records managers will spend time writing rules governing how records are processed rather than handling each record individually. The goal is to provide scalability so that state curators can process the increasing numbers of government records created in digital form. The project plans to scale the process to the value of the records and their risk of loss, only spending scarce resources to create automated processes for records series that are of high value-high risk and that are frequently preserved.
More information about the project is available at its Web site (external link).