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Unpublished Paper
Final Report of the Digital Preservation and Permafrost Planning Working Group
  • Leanne Olson, Western University
This report summarizes the work of the Digital Preservation & Permafrost Planning Working Group. This working group included librarians, archivists, and staff from teams across Western Libraries and its work ran from June to December 2020.

In May 2020, Western Libraries committed to participating in Scholars Portal’s Permafrost service. Permafrost is a digital preservation service that provides a hosted instance of Archivematica (a workflow tool for producing preservation packages of data), access to the Ontario Library Research Cloud, and training resources for this service. Permafrost will allow Western Libraries to provide long- term digital preservation with guaranteed continual access to our born-digital and digitized content. This working group was formed to test and implement Permafrost at Western Libraries, and to begin making recommendations for a digital preservation program at Western Libraries.

The working group members participated in training, examined the library literature, consulted with other universities and Scholars Portal, and held many discussions and brainstorming sessions. They ran two pilot projects in Permafrost to test the feasibility of preserving different types of content: digitized photographic negatives from the London Free Press Collection and Geographic Information Systems data from the Northern Tornadoes Project.

The report makes nine Recommendations for digital preservation work at Western Libraries. The recommendations cover workflows for current and future projects, staffing and technology resources to ensure the implementation of Permafrost is sustainable, the development of policies,
criteria, and an inventory to use for selecting material for digital preservation, and collaboration with other Ontario universities using Permafrost.

The report also suggests Next Steps for the Digitization and Digital Preservation Librarian to continue the group’s work with Phase Two (in 2021) involving planning, policy development, and internal use of Permafrost, and Phase Three (2022 and beyond) looking at integrating Permafrost with another service such as the archival management system Access to Memory (AtoM) or the research data repository platform Dataverse.
  • digital preservation
Publication Date
March 4, 2021
Citation Information
Leanne Olson. "Final Report of the Digital Preservation and Permafrost Planning Working Group" (2021)
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