Development of a Digital Repository for NLM's Digitized Collections and Born-Digital Resources

In April 2006, the Acting Associate Director for Library Operations appointed the NLM Digital Repository Working Group (DRWG) and charged them with the task of developing functional requirements for an NLM digital repository to provide access to and preservation of digital content not covered by PubMedCentral and the NIH CIT Videocast project. The creation of functional requirements and identification of key policy issues for an NLM digital repository were essential first steps to aid in building NLM's collection in the digital environment.

A number of Library Operations program areas are in need of such a digital repository to support their existing digital collections and to expand the ability to collect a growing amount of born-digital resources. Dozens of digital collections have been created by the History of Medicine Division that require long-term management and preservation. Collection development and acquisitions staff is seeing an increasing availability of born-digital materials that NLM needs to add to its collection. NLM's preservation program has embraced digitization as a preservation format to replace microfilming.

The DRWG completed a functional specifications document by March, 2007. In addition, the group identified policy and management issues related to the creation, design and maintenance of the repository. By identifying high level functional requirements and policy considerations, the DRWG endeavored to outline an infrastructure and bring a standards-based approach to the management, preservation and access of NLM's existing and future digital resources.

In May 2007, the Digital Repository Evaluation and Selection Working Group (DRESWG) was established to evaluate commercial systems and open source software and select one (or combination of systems/software) for use as an NLM digital repository. The DRESWG is evaluating systems and software identified by the Digital Repository Working Group Report and Recommendations, in addition to other available software. Each system/software evaluation shall include the same test load of a variety of digital objects including digitized pamphlets, video files, images, integrated resources, etc., from the Library's collections.

The group is evaluating how well the system/software meets the functionality of the OAIS model – ingest, archival storage, data management, administration, preservation planning, and access - as specified in the NLM's Policies and Functional Requirements Specification. In addition, the group is evaluating related system/software aspects, which could include code review, heuristic evaluation of the administrative and user interfaces, available system/software documentation, ease of installation, etc. The group is also evaluating the level of additional programming support that may be needed and the risks/benefits involved in using a commercial system or open source software, or combination of both, recommended for NLM implementation.

Last reviewed: 03 November 2008
Last updated: 03 November 2008
First published: 29 October 2007
Metadata| Permanence level: Permanent: Dynamic Content