WDPD2021: Breaking Down Barriers

LIBNOVA joins World Digital Preservation Day 2021 celebrations by writing a guest post on the DPC blog about Digital Preservation.

This year the central theme “Breaking Barriers” invites us to talk about the positive impact of digital preservation on society in a year in which information and digital infrastructures have been very important.

The following post is also available in Spanish here, and on the DPC Blog.

Breaking Down Barriers as part of our DNA

Last year, in our guest post on the DPC blog we wrote about the challenges of the digital preservation of research datasets, and unknowingly it was slightly related to this year’s chosen topic: Breaking Down Barriers.

This year, we want to focus on some of the technological barriers that LIBNOVA has broken down to make digital preservation more accessible to the community by simplifying it.

Historically, digital preservation systems have been complex to use and complex to set up. When we first met this community, everything was complicated, everything was difficult to do. LIBNOVA has focused every single day since its inception on breaking down those barriers, empowering the community to do more with less, and optimizing its systems to help them achieve that.

One of our main goals remains to offer easy-to-use digital preservation systems that, while following good digital preservation practices, allow to achieve the highest level of digital preservation (NSDA 4/4), with basic digital preservation knowledge and a low learning curve to use the platform.

These are some examples of the barriers we have broken in the technological field of software development, making digital preservation accessible to our entire community, and allowing people to do things for themselves, aided by technology:

Streamlined drag and drop ingestion process

Through our disruptive technology, we have transformed the complex manual process of creating submission information package workflows into a simple “Drag and Drop” action that can even be automated. With LIBSAFE, information does not need to be structured in order to be preserved, which facilitates faster content ingestion.

LIBSAFE Ingestion process

Automated metadata generation

By applying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques, we have succeeded in automatically classifying digital objects during the ingest process. In addition, LIBSAFE technology is able to automatically extract the technical information that accompanies the digital object and add it as metadata fields in the preservation system. Not only is the software also able to detect who appears or who speaks in a video (RNN – Recurrent Neural Network) or audio (HMM – Hidden Markov Models) file, but it can add their names to the object’s metadata automatically, and it is possible to use SRT files for subtitling videos.

This allows time-consuming repetitive tasks to be automated, allowing information professionals to spend that time on much more valuable tasks. So, again, doing more with less.

Digital preservation of endangered historical monuments

For some years now, we have been fortunate to be the technological partners of a non-profit organization that deals with the digital archiving of cultural heritage from all over the world, especially the ones that are in danger of being destroyed forever. Using photogrammetry, their strategy consists of making 3D models of unique objects, monuments, buildings and landscapes. As a result of these “reality sampling” techniques and technologies, a 3D-point cloud of hundreds of thousands of individual measurements in a coordinate system (x, y, z) is obtained, which can be used to form a three-dimensional model of the objects.

Not only they use LIBSAFE’s technology for the digital preservation of these complex digital objects, but they also use our dissemination solution to make their digital collections accessible to humanity. Thanks to their eagerness to preserve history, from their website it is possible to take a virtual tour of the now-destroyed Palmyra Castle (damaged during the Syrian Civil War), to see a virtual recreation of Neil Armstrong on the Moon’s surface, or to 3D view in full detail the olive-green draped Givenchy dress that costume designer Sindy Powell wore on the red carpet in 2012, among many other things.

Continue breaking down barriers

Keeping LIBNOVA at the forefront of preservation, with a firm commitment to research that allows us to push the boundaries of what is possible in digital preservation, means that more and more world-class institutions are joining our community of users, which already includes renowned organizations such as the British Library, the University of Oxford, the HILA at Stanford University, the Holocaust Memorial Museum of the United States, the National Library of Spain or the EPFL, just to name a few.

Please feel free to drop us a line if you are interested in our contributions to any of the above topics:

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