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Digital Preservation: Securing Your Data

An introduction to digital preservation.

Bit Level Preservation

The Fundamentals

The KAUST University Archives is developing and implementing a digital preservation system which will guarantee the long term preservation and access of valuable KAUST intellectual and historical digital materials. Here are the fundamental steps we will take to secure KAUST digital materials.

1. File manifests and ingest verification

KAUST University Archives will work with faculties and departments to develop pre ingest file manifests to ensure we receive all expected digital materials. During ingest all digital materials will be checked against the manifest to confirm their presence or absence. A report will be generated which indicates all digital materials received and if any were missing. In addition, virus and quality control checks will be performed on the ingested materials to confirm file integrity and quality.

2.   Register Digital Materials

Once the digital materials have been ingested, a series of actions will take place to generate and capture valuable information for each digital object. A record for all materials will be generated within our Archival Management System and it will contain the following information:

  • File name
  • Location of file within existing file structure or hierarchy
  • File size
  • File format and type
  • File checksum

3. Secure storage

KAUST University Archives currently stores all digital materials on a Corporate File Share provided by KAUST IT. The flexibility, redundancy, and data backup capabilities of this service create a high level of storage security for KAUST archival digital materials. 

4. Active monitoring

Digital materials require frequent monitoring to ensure their long term integrity. Regular fixity checks of checksums will be run on all files to confirm if bit loss or damage has occurred. All file formats and types will be monitored to guard against data loss through file obsolescence. If neccessary, file migrations will be conducted to mitigate this risk.

5. Documentation

All KAUST University Archives digital preservation processes and workflows will be thoroughly documented.   


Just keep the bits: an introduction to bit level preservation