Certification of Digital Archives Project

Metrics and Terminology

CRL's Certification of Digital Archives project drew upon the findings of the RLG/NARA Task Force to specify in detail the criteria to be applied in the test audits.

Major factors considered in specifying audit criteria:
  • Established and emerging digital archive requirements articulated in the library field, such as the characteristics of trusted digital repositories, drafted by RLG and OCLC and standards from the technology underwriting field, such as ISO/IEC 17799:2000 (Code of Practice for information security management).
  • Critical original characteristics of archives content, including formats and enabling code, production information, functionality, cost and value, others. These characteristics will form a baseline for certification needs.
  • Behaviors and practices of content producers, such as the scale and rate of production, frequency of content revisions and updates, continuity and integrity of production activities.
  • Needs and behaviors of content users and audiences, which will determine the level of authenticity, integrity, and/or functionality of content that the archives must provide, and the level of assurance required in the certification process.
  • Best practices established and emerging in other fields such as insurance, disaster preparedness, intellectual property law, technical underwriting, and accounting. These will be considered to ensure that certification meets the needs of those who manage and audit the institutions investing in the archiving services and access to the electronic resources.

Project advisors reviewed and critiqued the proposed auditing methodology and instrument. The advisors then determined that the process outlined provided data useful to decision-making about the trustworthiness of particular archiving arrangements, the disposition of digital scholarly and heritage content, and investment in access to such content archived in particular repositories.