Records management and preservation requirements

JISC; REMAP; e-SIG; User needs


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The JISC has, over the past few years, funded a wide range of projects in the records management and digital preservation (RMDP) arena, and established much good practice and knowledge. Many of the projects have worked on the basis of there being an acceptance that interaction with a repository for RMDP is a good thing. The work carried out has certainly demonstrated that this is the case. However, there remains a potentially damaging disconnect between the repository and the people expected to use it on a regular basis.

Web services development to support records management, a specific form of preservation, has so far tended to be through the provision of commercial systems, though there is potential applicability of preservation Web services to be focused around specific records management needs.

Web services, whilst offering great potential, do not in themselves offer integration between a digital repository and the desktop applications used to create digital materials. This gap can, though, be addressed through notifications, alerting material owners and/or creators to specific records management and/or digital preservation tasks that need to be carried out. The repository can thus enter into an engagement with the end-user in order to encourage RMDP processes over a period of time.

The JISC-funded RepoMMan project based at the University of Hull has developed a tool to orchestrate Web services using WSBPEL (or just BPEL) over a Fedora repository. The tool allows the user to interact with the repository in a variety of ways; the REMAP project will enhance and extend this tool to provide support for RMDP. The work will be based on user requirements for institutional RMDP and the development of related models describing RMDP workflow. REMAP will develop a notification layer as part of the overall orchestration to inform users of repository tasks that require their attention and encouraging their engagement with the system.

The first stage in the project was a user needs gathering exercise to determine records management and preservation requirements. This work, which forms the substance of this report, was conducted with a range of people from the University of Hull (UoH) and staff from Spoken Word Services (SWS) at Glasgow Caledonian University. The interviews at Hull concerned themselves primarily with material in text form whilst the work with SWS concentrated on their work with audio material.

The University of Hull


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