Trusted Repository

The digital library and archival communities have over the past ten years done significant research in this area. For many organizations in these two communities the OAIS model from the Consultative Committee on Space Data Systems has become the de-facto standard. While these standards define the functional components of a preservation system it is agnostic as to how its modules are to be implemented. Nor does the OAIS standard directly address the issue of what constitutes a trusted digital repository. Without a means to verify a preservation repository’s capability to keep data alive over long periods of time as technology evolves researches will be chary to support and make deposit to preservation systems. This is a no win situation for the researcher or the community because it encourages preservation activities at the individual level.

A goal of the RLG-NARA Task Force on Digital Repository Certification has been to “develop criteria to identify digital repositories capable of reliably storing, migrating, and providing access to digital collections. The challenge has been to produce certification criteria and delineate a process for certification applicable to a range of digital repositories and archives, from academic institutional preservation repositories to large data archives and from national libraries to third-party digital archiving services.1” To the anthropological community these standards may not be appropriately scaled and alternative solutions by the community to assess trustworthiness of a repository should be pursued.

Hopefully, the scale and available resources of the anthropological community will encourage researchers to participate in community-sponsored preservation repositories.

  1. OCLC and CRL. 2007. “Forward.” In Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist. Version 1.0. <> []

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