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Yale University Library News, Events and Exhibits: Yale and Tufts explore open-source software for preserving electronic records Yale and Tufts explore open-source software for preserving electronic records

Just as paper records deteriorate over time, electronic information also decays with age, both from damage to the physical storage systems and from loss of integrity in the electronic data. Whereas archivists have had centuries of experience preserving paper sources, the loss of electronic information is a new, digital-age problem. Although short-term storage issues have been addressed in past decades, a method for dependable, permanent storage and management of electronic records has yet to be discovered.

Archivists at Yale and Tufts universities believe the solution to this dilemma may be found in the Fedora (Flexible and Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture) software system, an open-source digital library application. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission has recently awarded a grant in the amount of $196,908 to support testing Fedora’s capabilities to serve as an electronic records preservation system in the Yale University Archives, part of the Manuscripts and Archives department of the Yale University Library, and the Digital Collections and Archives of Tufts University. Yale’s Electronic Records Archive Project will work in conjunction with Tufts to discover a method of capturing and maintaining digital records using Fedora. The project is also concerned with assessing the program’s ability to trace the authenticity of the information and to manage data of varying sources and formats.

“This is an important grant for Manuscripts and Archives,” said Steven Yearl, the department’s archivist for systems and digital resources. “It advances a primary strategic effort of ours: that of capturing and preserving the record of Yale University in the digital age.”

Yale and Tufts archivists hope that Fedora will provide a secure storage structure for electronic records. With the support of the grant, this would enable the two institutions to develop a system that may function as a prototype for other universities.

Contact: Kevin Glick, Electronic Records Archivist

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Page Last Updated: 4/25/2014

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