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Germany's Nestor Project and the Value of Robust Digital Repositories

Bernard F. Reilly, Jr.
President, The Center for Research Libraries


Network of Expertise in long-term Storage (nestor) is a cooperative project of libraries, archives, and museums, as well as of leading experts forming a network of expertise in long-term preservation and long-term availability of digital resources. A goal of this project—supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), the German Ministry of Education and Research—is to “secure the preservation of digital resources in Germany and to work with others internationally to secure our global digital memory and knowledge base.”

Established in 2003 nestor contributed to the effort that developed the CRL-OCLC Trusted Repositories Auditing and Certification: Criteria and Checklist. In January 2007 preservation specialists from CRL, nestor, RLG Programs, the Digital Curation Centre (U.K.), and Digital Preservation Europe met at CRL to map out a cooperative agenda for promoting the creation and certification of trusted preservation repositories for digital content. At present nestor is advising CRL on its NSFCase Studies of Long-Lived Digital Collections project.

Conversely, CRL is following with interest nestor’s efforts to support development of trusted repositories for university theses and dissertations in Germany. CRL now holds the largest North American collection of print dissertations from German universities, and persistent access to such materials in the future, when they are published only in electronic form, is critical for researchers in the CRL community. The nestor Working Group on Trusted Repositories Certification is working to ensure that the criteria for German digital repositories are defined in close collaboration with a wide range of different memory organisations, producers of information, experts, and other interested parties. nestor thus hopes to achieve “a high degree of universal validity, suitability for daily practical use, and also broad-based acceptance of the results.”