How we archive sustainably

Our archive infrastructure became operational in 2014, and we’ve been maintaining and developing it further ever since. We archive content using open standards in line with the Open Archival Information System (OAIS). This framework describes the main elements that a digital archive system needs to include. We distinguish three important aspects in our operations.

1. Importing

This is where it all starts, of course. Clear agreements are in place for importing digital collections, born-digital content and content from our digitisation projects. This determines how files are delivered and what format they’re in. We perform a whole series of checks during the import process to guarantee the files are archived correctly. The end result of this step is a correctly archived package.

> Want to learn how our import process is supported technically?

2. Sustainable preservation

Once our partners’ content has been imported, we ensure it is preserved sustainably. We do this by storing multiple copies distributed over three different locations, safeguarding the readability of the different copies, and monitoring the integrity of the file format. Content partners can manage their own content via the online meemoo archive system, and add extra metadata or perform quality controls, for example.

> Sustainable preservation: how and where we do it

3. Management and re-use

Sustainable preservation is of course not the end goal in itself. The archive also needs to facilitate the content management and re-use. As stated previously, the content partner can use management software to do this themselves, and there are technical interfaces available that enable meemoo or the content partner to work with the archive on a larger scale. We also use these interfaces to provide a through-flow from the meemoo archive system to platforms such as The Archive for Education.

> Read more about management and re-use

Scale is an important factor for all these processes. Meemoo processes files for over 170 content partners, and the archive can grow by up to 25TB and several thousand new documents every day. That’s why all our processes are largely automated.

The agreements we make with our content partners are crucially important throughout the entire chain from import to re-use. We find a number of recommendations in OAIS that relate to relationships between makers and the archive system, such as obtaining a mandate to perform certain actions and determining the formats the data needs to be supplied in. All agreements – about the formats to be received, how we ensure sustainable preservation, the content partner’s obligations and the conditions for possible termination of the collaboration – are fixed.

Do you have a question?
Contact Matthias Priem
Manager Archiving