Last year I blogged about my frustrations related to digital preservation tool registries. Rather than pooling all of our knowledge in one place and creating a valuable community resource, we've spread our knowledge about tools thinly across the web. Instead of seeing collaboration between organisations working in digital preservation, we're actually seeing competition! Virtually every organisation involved in the field promotes it's own registry or tool list. This is a ridiculous state of affairs. As I observed at IPRES last year in my least eloquent but most frequently quoted moment, it's a big fail for our community.
Two weeks ago I presented a proposal for the creation of a community owned tool registry to the latest workshop on Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation, graciously hosted by the lovely people at IDCC. I'm pleased to say that the proposal was one of four key areas prioritised for further action, and I'm now leading some initial activities to take things forward with backing from ANADP (note that a full report from ANADP on the workshop outcomes will be available here shortly).
However, I'd like to get even broader support for this community proposal from everyone who has their own registry or tool list, whether it's a quick blog post or a full on registry. If that applies to you/your organisation then I'd like you to participate in the following way:
- Provide your requirements for a community tool registry (the call for requirements will appear shortly)
- Merge your own tool registry data with the new community registry
- Link to, expose (a view onto) and promote the community registry from your website
- Delete your own registry and agree not to set up any new project owned registries/lists
- Contribute any effort you have in adding new tools over time, to the community registry
Exactly where the new registry will be hosted and maintained is yet to be decided (quite possibly a "neutral" URL/location. Whatever meets our requirements!). This will require some practical work to establish but is certainly not insurmountable. The key issue is to get buy in from the community. As I note in the proposal, we already have support in principle from the Library of Congress, the Digital Curation Centre and the Open Planets Foundation. This is a great start, but for this to be a success we need a lot more organisations to get involved.
Over the next couple of weeks I'll be putting together an outline and roadmap as an initial talking point for comment and requirements and sharing it via this blog. So this is my call to arms for COPTR: a Community Owned digital Preservation Tool Registry. Who would like to voice their support and commitment, create a valuable tool registry for us all, and kick off some vital community collaboration in the process?