Preservation Action Registries (PAR) has been set up to address a set of fundamental issues that affect the digital preservation (DP) community namely to:
- facilitate the sharing of preservation actions between disparate DP systems, and
- provide the ability for well formed preservation workflows, including sets of compounded preservation workflows to be imported and used within local environments from one or more external trusted sources
Typically, proprietary DP systems lack a common means to describe and execute preservation policies and actions. For example, Archivematica’s Format Policy Register (FPR) and Preservica’s Linked Data Registry (LDR) both define what tools and rules to use to execute specific DP actions but they are not interoperable. In a nutshell:
- The two solutions cannot share technical information thereby making it difficult for users to share experiences, learnings and good practice
The aim of PAR is to overcome this problem by providing the means to connect different registries to exchange policy information about preservation actions. The model makes registry content accessible through a feature rich API using a distributed set of registries. In this way information can be made available from a range of source registries as well as via direct exchange between trusted peer institutions or systems.
Following some initial funding from Jisc, PAR has evolved from a standing start to a standalone entity using the expertise and resources of a set of industry leading organisations to form the nucleus of the PAR core team
- Open Preservation Foundation (OPF)
To add further credibility, Wikidp is in the process of connecting into the network as a significant trusted source partner. The core team is currently in discussion with other potential sources to expand the network over the course of the coming months.
As of April 2020, the OPF became the overall custodians of PAR with the aim of shifting the emphasis to create a more community focused program to help define development priorities as well as fostering community contribution.
The core software (v0.3) is still at pre production stage and needs to evolve significantly before it is generally available. The high level roadmap for PAR is outlined in the Roadmap section. At present the core components comprise:
- feature rich API - see Resources
- Endpoint browser
- Prototype implementation spanning Preservica, Achivematica and Arkivum DP systems
The PAR Vision
The PAR vision is based on the establishment of a set of trusted sources that would provide the catalyst for information and good practice sharing across a set of proprietary Digital Preservation systems as well as the wider community. The end user would be able to determine the best / most appropriate preservation action sequences to fulfill their needs and have the opportunity to review, select or discard those options. Trusted sources could comprise:
- Vendor systems
- National standards body
- Recognised trusted community sources such as wikidp
- Research institutions
- Universities etc.
It is envisaged that PAR would act as an enabler connecting users to sources of good practice allowing them to review singular, complex and compounded actions and via their own systems, proprietary applications and / or client tools elect to import those actions into their own local environments. Likewise they would have the ability to make their own complex workflows available to other members of the DP community ensuring that data is shared throughout the PAR enterprise.