October 6 2014 APTrust Member Meeting

January 10, 2015 News, Events

Participants from all sixteen Academic Preservation Trust member institutions (a total of 46 attendees) met at the Hotel Palomar in Washington DC on October 6, 2014, for an update on the progress of their joint project.  They heard reports on the technical development of the preservation repository, discussed scenarios of how the repository would be used by a range of participating institutions, discussed how the project fits into the overall digital preservation ecosystem, explored next steps and met the new APTrust program director.  See the meeting agenda here [https://sites.google.com/a/aptrust.org/aptrust-wiki/october-partner-meeting-draft-agenda]

In an opening general session,  Chip German was introduced as the new program director who was transitioning from another role at the UVA and who would assume the role full-time on December 1.  Martha Sites (UVA) reminded the group of the main aspects of the project that focuses on the creation and management of a sustainable environment for digital preservation.  This aggregation repository, she said, also will serve as a replicating node for the Digital Preservation Network (DPN) and provide services ranging from disaster recovery (available from the outset) to future possibilities not yet fully explored, such as format migration.  The APTrust is a unique collaboration between University librarians, technology liaisons, and ingest/preservation liaisons, she said.

APTrust technical lead Scott Turnbull outlined the current state of the development of the repository (within days of technical "production" status), and content lead Bradley Daigle emphasized the need for the rest of the member institutions to join the group of active testers who already were depositing content.  Attendees asked questions about the development of governance documents and deposit agreements, which the APTrust team described as under initial review by the University of Virginia's General Counsel.  Language developed by the Content and Certification Advisory Group related to trusted digital repository status has been submitted to program director Chip German and executive lead Martha Sites.

Also in the morning general session, four member-institution attendees (Elizabeth Long of the University of Chicago, Don Brower of the University of Notre Dame, Rob Cartolano of Columbia University and Jennie Knies of the University of Maryland) described their own digital preservation needs and use cases for the APTrust repository.  Next, speakers outlined their experiences in testing the preparation and deposit of digital content (Nathan Tallman of the University of Cincinnati and Scott Reinke of the University of Miami), an approach to prioritizing content for deposit (Kara McClurken of the University of Virginia) and the migration to a new means of managing authorization for the APTrust (Zhiwu Xie of Virginia Tech).

The afternoon included breakout sessions for member-institution deans, the APTrust Board, the advisory groups for technology and for content and certification, and a joint session for the two advisory groups.  

The joint advisory group session focused on potential future services (summary to come).  Notes from the individual advisory group sessions are available here:  technology and content/certification.

In the deans meeting, James Hilton of the University of Michigan presented his vision of a comprehensive digital access and preservation ecosystem in which easily available tools enable scholars to generate, disseminate and preserve digital content.  The ecosystem, he said, must be comprised of diverse and differentiated components that provide a wide set of benefits, including aggregated discovery and economies of scale, while highlighting the identity of the source-institution for the content.  The deans discussed the implications of that vision for discussion of future services to be offered by the APTrust.

In the Board meeting, discussion topics included increasing the number of institutional members, ensuring continuity of commitment as library leadership changes in member institutions, exploration of additional services the APTrust may wish to offer in the future, and the importance of development of a deposit agreement and a next-generation business plan for the APTrust.

In the concluding session, members gratefully acknowledged the many contributions of the APTRust's first and only Board chair Pat Steele (University of Maryland), for whom this would be the last member meeting in that role.  Winston Tabb (Johns Hopkins University) assumes that responsibility in 2015.  Pat Steele also led the attendees in recognition of Karin Wittenborg (University of Virginia), who retires in December 2014 and has been a driving force in the establishment of the APTrust consortium.

Pat Steele also emphasized to the attendees that assumptions about the limited number of services being provided in the first iteration of APTrust will not constrain discussion of other services to come in the future for the consortium.  Although APTrust's resources are currently committed to completing the build of a preservation repository for digital content, the community's need for additional services and the interests of institutional members in committing their resources to develop new services will drive the Board's discussions and decisions for the future.

The meeting adjourned with thanks to Bradley Daigle for his planning and management of arrangements for the event, and with a request for participants to stay alert for a notice of an APTrust event mainly for technical and content specialists in the spring of 2015.

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