Long Term Preservation

The long term challenge for any archive is to preserve data, metadata, and documentation in a way that ensures accessibility and comprehension in the future. Meeting the demands of continuous technological change and the effect it has on digital assets (hardware and storage media which are no longer supported or produced, obsolete operating systems, applications and data formats that no longer work) is integral to the GESIS archive’s activities over the last fifty years. Preserving interpretability of the archived studies is achieved through devising and employing strategies for migration and creating extensive documentation supporting intellectual interpretability.

The GESIS data archive outlines essential principles for long term preservation of archived data in a preservation policy (154 kB).

The OAIS Reference Model

The Open Archival Information System (OAIS) is the reference model on which most digital archives are based and consequently is of great importance to long term preservation.

Trustworthy Digital Archives – Certification

A digital archive is considered “trustworthy” when it guarantees long term preservation through its policies and procedures, and depositors, users, funders, and partners trust the archive to achieve this.

Obtaining trustworthiness comes through certification and self-audit processes. In the context of the “European Framework for Audit and Certification of Digital Repositories” three separate international initiatives reached agreement on a graduated model:

  1. Basic Certification: self-assessment CoreTrusSeal (Data Seal of Approval (DSA))
  2. Extended Certification: DSA plus self-assessment DIN 31644 /nestor Seal or ISO 16363
  3. Formal Certification: DSA plus DIN 31644 or ISO 16363 external evaluation

The GESIS Data Archive received the CoreTrustSeal (Data Seal of Approval) and is certified as a trusted digital repository.

Cooperation with nestor

Since 2013, GESIS has been a partner in nestor, the German competence network for digital preservation.

nestor is a cooperative association of partners from different fields connected through digital preservation. nestor brings together libraries, archives, museums and leading experts to work on ensuring long-term preservation and accessibility of digital objects.

GESIS participates in nestor working groups on Certification, Preservation Policy and Cooperation and Networking. Additionally, GESIS is member of the MoU-group Qualification.