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In 2015 a new preservation policy of the National Archives of The Netherlands (NaNeth) was approved. Part of our policy is the implementation of the so called preservation watch. Preservation watch as a concept was first minted in the European PLANETS project (2007-2011, http://www.planets-project.eu). It is part of the PLANETS functional model which is an elaboration of the OAIS function Preservation Planning. The PLANETS functional model describes the functions and processes of a preservation planning component of a digital repository. It has three important preservation functions: watch, planning and action. Preservation Watch monitors a variety of internal and external entities, including the content preserved in the digital repository itself. Critical or imminent risks are passed to Preservation Planning for further analysis and planning of subsequent Preservation Action. Preservation Watch will be included in the next revision of the OAIS standard.
Preservation Watch has already partly been implemented at NaNeth. In 2018, however, we will fully implement an enhanced preservation watch in all departments of the organization: a 'horizontal' sustainable accessibility plan that is model-based, process-based and based on international standards and community best practices. The core of this plan is the structured monitoring of our own and external environment. For instance, the Collections department will monitor the state of the digital archives we keep in our repository, Public Services will monitor the needs of our user communities, Account Management will monitor developments within the ministerial departments whose archives in time will be transferred to us. The results of all these monitoring activities, under the coordination of preservation specialists, will be analysed for risks and opportunities in regular cycles. This will enable us to intervene in good time if the sustainable accessibility of information objects is threatened. We will also enlarge the model by adding the other OAIS functions (besides Planning): Creation, (pre)Ingest, Archival Storage, Data Management and Access. In this way we will cover the complete lifecycle of information objects, from creation to access. Eventually, we foresee a Preservation Watch on a national scale, under the umbrella of the Digital Heritage Network (DHN). The experiences of NaNeth in implementing a preservation watch function will be expanded to other organizations and domains in The Netherlands. The development of a collaborative knowledge base is also necessary as we evolve more and more towards a national preservation network.
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