September 20, 2010
The Importance of Trust in Distributed Digital Preservation: A Case Study from the MetaArchive Cooperative
Distributed digital preservation is a maturing and appealing solution to the pressing problem of ensuring the survivability of digital content. Like all other digital preservation efforts, distributed digital preservation solutions must communicate trust to their Designated Communities as they continue to mature. The following paper discusses the importance of establishing this trust, retraces the development of TRAC as a reliable tool for evaluating trustworthy repositories, and details the process of the MetaArchive Cooperative’s application of TRAC to its distributed digital preservation solution. This process revealed that the current metrics for gauging trust in digital preservation could be readily applied to distributed solutions with great effect. However, because these metrics often presume a more centralized approach to preservation, the process also revealed the need to apply them carefully and with great thought. To underscore this need, three organizational and technical comparisons are made between the MetaArchive’s distributed preservation activities and the more centralized model assumed by TRAC and the OAIS Reference Model. The paper concludes with the question as to whether distributed digital preservation needs to be better defined within existing models such as OAIS or through the creation of a new reference model for distributed digital preservation.