Phase I (2004-2007)

Phase 1 of the ECHO DEPository project aimed specifically to address the issues of how we collect, manage, preserve, and make useful the enormous amount of digital information our culture is now producing. To do so, partners on this project collaborated to produce tools, practices, evaluations, and research findings which will aid institutions in selecting and preserving electronic resources in a variety of digital repositories, and which will provide insight into the continuing challenges of long-term digital preservation.

These activities fell into the following four core areas:

  1. Selection rationale development
    Articulating a rationale and methodology for selecting digital materials for preservation, whether Web-accessible or not, as aggregates, rather than at the item level, based on archival principles, and using provenance, functional analysis, and context analysis to facilitate meta-tagging for retrieval.

  2. Tools development
    Building software based on the above model to facilitate selection and preservation of digital materials, using an approach which can be scaled for varying degrees of human intervention to complement the automated rules.

  3. Repository evaluation
    Installing, configuring, testing and evaluating existing open-source digital repository systems in order to examine real-world problems encountered in the process of digital archiving.

  4. Long-term preservation research
    Conducting research into the problems of preserving the authenticity and semantic meaning of digital resources through time.
Collecting, selecting and preserving digital information requires approaches and resources that are substantively different from those we have used traditionally. By providing improved tools and practical advice based on real implementations of digital repositories, the overall ECHO DEPository project aimed to provide assistance for organizations working to select, collect and preserve digital materials today, as well as to provide insight into techniques for preserving digitally archived materials into the future.