SPRUCE Project to support digital preservation in the UK

SPRUCE Project to support digital preservation in the UK

I’m really pleased to be writing a quick blog post on a new digital preservation project we’ll be running over the next couple of years. After running 3 AQuA style hackathon/mashups last year I felt we’d managed to develop a useful formula for solving digital preservation problems and beginning to foster a bit more of an active practitioner community. The only problem was, once the face to face events finished, things went quiet (despite the enthusiasm of the participants during the events).


SPRUCE is an opportunity for us to keep the interactions going and hopefully reach a critical mass that will help this community to support itself more effectively. As we saw in the events last year, create the right environment and all those wonderful interactions start happening. People share their problems, articulate their needs, developers understand their needs (!) and solutions begin to take shape. I really hope we can replicate this kind of success at a broader level, and get practitioners actively discussing their problems, sharing solutions and pushing us forward.


So SPRUCE will be running more mashup events in the UK, but what’s new? 3 key things:

  1. The project has tens of thousands of pounds of JISC funding that event attendees will be able to secure in order to finish, sustain or embed event results at their institutions.
  2. The project has resource to support practitioner interaction online, and sustain knowledge sharing beyond the events. The OPF will be playing a key role here, and of course we’ll need your help to make it happen. You might have already seen some of the changes we’ve started to implement on the OPF site and wiki, and have lots more new stuff to come.
  3. We’ll be using the expertise of our event attendees and the experiences of solving DP problems and embedding the results to build a convincing business case for digital preservation activity. We’re hoping this will help practitioners to secure funding from their own organisations in order to continue to make essential DP works happen, once SPRUCE has run its course.

Thanks of course go to JISC for making this happen, and I’m looking forward to working with our project partners.


Here’s the official announcement on the start of the project:


Leeds University Library is delighted to announce the launch of the Sustainable PReservation Using Community Engagement (SPRUCE) project. SPRUCE will inspire, guide, support and enable HE, FE and cultural institutions to address digital preservation gaps; and to use the knowledge gathered from that activity to articulate a compelling business case for digital preservation.

SPRUCE is aiming to foster a vibrant and self-supporting community of digital preservation practitioners via a mixture of online interaction and face to face events based on the successful AQuA Project mashups (see http://wiki.opf-labs.org/display/AQuA/Home). The events will provide support and technical expertise to address specific digital preservation challenges. The best work from event attendees will secure funding awards to further develop the activity and embed it within business as usual processes at the home institution. £60k is available for these awards and will be allocated during the 2 year life of the SPRUCE project.

SPRUCE will build on the experience of these activities in order to develop a strong business case for digital preservation, with the aim of supporting and embedding good DP practise beyond the life of the project.

The first SPRUCE mashup will be held in Glasgow in April 2012. Details will be made available shortly on the SPRUCE website here:



SPRUCE is a JISC funded partnership between Leeds University Library, the British Library, the London School of Economics, the Digital Preservation Coalition, and the Open Planets Foundation.



  1. paul
    February 17, 2012 @ 1:23 pm CET

    Hi guys,


    Unfortunately we’ve had to change the date of the first event. It will be 23rd-25th April in Glasgow. More details will be announced shortly.



  2. paul
    February 2, 2012 @ 9:38 am CET


    Yes, it would be great to have you involved. Our first Mashup isn’t quite confirmed yet, but the likely date is April 23rd-25th in Glasgow.


  3. Jenny Mitcham
    February 1, 2012 @ 4:41 pm CET

    This sounds like a really interesting project. I hope we will be able to get involved. Keep us posted Paul!

  4. paul
    January 9, 2012 @ 5:19 pm CET

    Thanks Bill! Our main target is Higher and Further Education institutions in the UK, but we’re keen to have some international participants as well as we feel this brings a lot of value to the events. It would be great to have you guys involved again.

  5. Bill Roberts
    January 9, 2012 @ 8:45 am CET

    Hi Paul – your news about the SPRUCE project sounds excellent.  We at the National Archives of the Netherlands got a lot out of the Aqua events last year and look forward to more useful similar events over the next couple of years.

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