Digital Preservation Technical Registry


About the Technical Registry Project 

A priority for the Library last couple of years has been the development of a Digital Preservation Technical Registry; one that would exist as a community resource able to be used in conjunction with any digital preservation repository.

The Registry will provide the ability for common reporting on file formats and preservation risk management across all National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) (external link) libraries.


Why a technical registry?


The aim is to develop a registry that will bring together technical information sources that currently are separate. This includes descriptions of file formats, the software applications used to create or render them, the hardware and operating systems that support the applications and files, and the perceived risks they face.


It will become the defacto hub for the complex technical information and tools required to undertake digital preservation as professional activity. The registry will benefit members of the digital preservation community through offering efficient information retrieval from one central resource, supplying trusted information.


Work began in November 2012 to create a vision and logical data model for the proposed registry in line with the following assumptions:

  • A technical registry supporting preservation risk management, planning and action is central to an ongoing active digital preservation programme.

  • It is undesirable that there should be a multitude of incomplete technical registries globally.

  • A successful registry will have a clearly defined and understandable data model that will enhance user understanding of the data it holds and allow them to make informed decisions.
  • A successful technical registry should be able to provide data to any digital preservation repository systems (e.g. Rosetta, SDB, FEDORA, DuraSpace, Archivematica, RODA etc.). 

  • A successful technical registry should be more effective than individual products or services (e.g. NLNZ Metadata Extractor, JHOVE, DROID and FITS) that would be required to maintain an active digital preservation programme.


Digital Preservation Technical Registry partners

Project Update 

Phase 1 of the project is now complete.  During this phase of the project, the team worked to develop a vision and a logical data model. The collateral developed includes a data model and data dictionary, vision document, user stories, and system actors and use case descriptions. The next steps of the work include peer review of the collateral and the development of options for a business model for the Registry. 


The vision of the technical registry is to provide a comprehensive, consolidated, accurate information resource that can be used in conjunction with any digital preservation repository. This repository of key technical information and relationships will support the digital preservation community in understanding, characterising, validating, risk identification, and preservation of digital objects. It should also stand as a resource for organisations and individuals becoming involved in, or learning about digital preservation.  

High-level data model

The logical data model developed contains five key entities:

High-level data model - Technical Registry

  1. Hardware:  Information about the mother board, RAM, CPU and Storage. It also includes devices which support the functioning of a computer like data ports, a computer mouse and removable storage devices.

  2. IO Device: Information about auxiliary devices such as a keyboard or hard drive that connects to and works with the computer in some way. Other examples of IO Devices are expansion cards, graphic cards, microphones.

  3. Software: Information about applications, operating systems and libraries that can be used to create, edit, render, migrate or emulate files.

  4. Carrier Medium: Information about the type of medium upon which data may reside.

  5. Format: A “particular arrangement of data or characters in a record, instruction, word, etc., in a form that can be processed or stored by a computer“ (Oxford University Press 1989).

Read to learn more Reimagining the Format Model: Introducing the Work of the NSLA Digital Preservation Technical Registry. (external link)

For further information please contact Peter McKinney, Digital Preservation Policy Analyst, Preservation Research and Consultancy.

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