Higher Education sector given key role in securing the UK’s digital legacy

The Open Planets Foundation (OPF) and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) are joining forces to encourage the UK’s leading Higher Education (HE) institutions to take up a central role in European wide efforts to preserve our digital heritage.

Announced at last week’s iPres conference in Vienna, JISC are to become a charter member of the OPF. JISC’s role within the OPF will be to encourage participation amongst the UK’s leading universities, unlocking the academic interest in R&D of digital preservation tools and technologies, and ensuring the wider HE sector can address the ever growing challenge of preserving digital materials more effectively.

Unlike parchment and paper, digital data has a life span of years not millennia. Current estimates suggest almost 3 billion euros worth of vital data is already being lost every year in the EU alone. JISC and the OPF will be exploring the best way of providing value and benefits to both the UK HE sector and the broader membership of the OPF, and will establish an affiliate group membership for those academic and research institutions that are looking to address digital preservation challenges.

Executive Director of the Open Planets Foundation, Bram van der Werf:

“Universities across the globe have a vital role to play in securing the future of our digital legacy. The OPF is absolutely delighted to be working with JISC to unlock the expertise of the UK’s top higher education institutions. Bringing together the creators of intellectual content with digital preservation practitioners, this partnership will tackle the challenge head on and ensure the creative output of today remains accessible for generations to come.”

JISC Digital Preservation & Records Management Programme Manager, Neil Grindley:

“JISC regards the Open Planets Foundation as an exemplary model for transitioning from a reliance on project funding to a more sustainable economic model and is delighted to have an opportunity to join other charter Foundation members in setting up and supporting a community of digital preservation developers and practitioners.”

Affiliate membership of the OPF will offer a unique opportunity to:

– Be part of an active open source community that really makes a difference – sharing best practice and researching innovative solutions to a growing problem
– Learn about the workflow and requirements of digital preservation practitioners, shaping the development of academic programs and curricula to ensure focus on the issues surrounding long term access
– Take advantage of the training, outreach and support provided through the OPF – enabling members the opportunity to focus on what they do best

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