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Shearer, Katherine. 2009. Survey of Digital Preservation Practices in Canada http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/digital-initiatives/012018-3100.01-e.

html Summarized by Ernest Hoffman This report presents the results of a survey commissioned in 2008 by LAC on digital preservation practices in Canada. The intent was to determine existing practices and resources for digital preservation as well as to identify gaps and challenges, and the results were supposed to inform the CDIS process. 61 organizations provided full responses, but all were from the government and non-profit sector. Although invitations were sent to several organizations in private industry, no responses were received from this sector. This means our survey of the digital preservation practices of private sector news organizations in Canada, though limited, represents some of the best information out there at the moment. The survey was divided into five sections: (I) Information about the respondent, (II) Information about the repository, (III) Preservation practices, (IV) Preservation resources, and (V) Challenges. (I) The breakdown of respondents to the survey are as follows: 39 libraries, 16 archives, 16 government agencies, 6 other types, 5 research institutes, and 5 museums, for a total of 61, with some belonging to more than one category. 27 identified themselves as within the research or academic sector, 20 are federal government, 13 are provincial government, 7 are "other", and 2 represented the municipal government sector. (II) The key finding about the repositories, for our purposes, is that only 18 of 61 respondents are preserving webpages, and only 16 are preserving newspapers in some form. Considering 39 are libraries, the newspaper number in particular seems low. 95% characterized their content as predominantly Canadian. (III) From a planning and policy standpoint, nearly half said they have no digital preservation policy whatsoever: 55% said they have or are implementing digital preservation policy, with 17% implemented, and 38% not yet implemented. Again, that only 17% of these types of institutions have an operational policy for digital content is surprising. When asked to characterize their organizations approach to digital preservation, nine out of 61 said their program qualified as sustainable, and only one said their program was robust, whereas 17 said no action has been taken. (IV) When asked to characterize their resources for digital preservation, just over 50% of respondents indicated that they have sustainable funding mechanisms. The average number of staff members working at the repository is 2.4 full-time employees, and 54% of respondents said that there are staff member(s) with specific responsibility for digital preservation. 70% of respondents indicated that there is technical expertise to develop/manage a digital preservation program at the repository, but 83% said there are also gaps in preservation expertise. Respondents

also said that their digital preservation activities must compete for resources with other organizational activities, like content acquisition, digitization, etc. (V) Some of the specific challenges cited by respondents which could be relevant to our project included: Proliferation of born-digital materials, storage capacity, dealing with multimedia formats, capturing and preserving complex documents, and copyright issues. This is another argument for the Library of Sweden dark archive approach, because the comprehensive snapshot of relevant domains removes the necessity of fixing and vetting each item at the acquisition end, relying instead on emulation on the viewing end to deal with most of the issues. It also frees up human resources, which respondents claimed were the biggest bottleneck in terms of both time and money. Several respondents also said that they felt that they were working in isolation and believed a centralized entity could provide leadership to discuss issues and strategies and to better define roles and responsibilities amongst the distributed network of repositories in Canada. As LAC has characterized their leadership role as having largely ended following the Final Report of Consultations with Stakeholder Communities, it is unclear from where this leadership will originate.