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Current digital preservation systems such as Archivematica and Preservica lack a common and consistent way to describe and execute preservation policies and actions at a technical level. Archivematica’s Format Policy Register (FPR) and Preservica’s Linked Data Registry (LDR) both define what tools and rules to use when doing digital preservation and whilst these two approaches aim to solve similar problems, they are not interoperable. There is no way to share technical information between the two solutions and for users to share their experience on what approaches to use in different contexts and why. This hinders implementation and execution of digital preservation in an interoperable way within the digital preservation community. This paper presents new work by Artefactual, Arkivum, Preservica and Jisc on how Preservation Action Registries (PAR) could be used to capture and share technical best practice for the preservation of digital objects in the form of a corpus of machine-readable recommendations. The registry’s data model defines what tools can be used for different digital object formats, what properties can be extracted or measured and what preservation actions can be taken. The model includes contextual and historical information on the reasons why recommendations are being given. The information is versioned and includes the tool parameters and software environments needed to execute different preservation actions so they are directly ‘executable’ by preservation systems. Our model makes registry content accessible through APIs using a distributed set of registries rather than a single canonical source. In this way, information can be made available from a range of sources including central registries (moderated and curated) or by exchange directly between trusted peer institutions or systems. Preservation systems such as Archivematica and Preservica are able to publish to and consume content from these registries. The work is supported by Jisc as part of the Research Data Shared Service initiative and we believe is the first time that vendors, national service providers and end-users have all come together in this way. The PAR approach should engender greater confidence in digital preservation, provide users with more flexibility and knowledge sharing opportunities, and accelerate the adoption of digital preservation in new sectors.
CC-By Attribution 4.0 International