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Technical Requirement for Digital Deposit

A recent thread on the govdoc-l mailing list is about digital deposit. See Digital Deposit by Janet Fischer, 26 Apr 2007 and digital deposit by James [R.] Jacobs, 27 Apr 2007.

Thanks to Janet for bringing this up and to James for the helpful links to technical information on digital deposit.

I’d just like to add two thoughts:

1. I believe that it is best to think about digital deposit in much the same way we think about paper deposit: every library will be different.

We shouldn’t be looking for a one size fits all solution in the digital world anymore than we expect any two depositories to be identical. The technical requirements that any given library comes up with will depend on the level of service and collection profile that the library chooses.

We should be thinking of services and collections first and technology second. We should not be trying to shoehorn our service and collection decisions into an abstract technological solution. Nor should we assume that every digital depository will have to meet the same requirements that an OCLC, CDL, NARA, or FDSys will meet.

I can, for example, easily imagine a small depository with a slow or intermittent Internet connection and little or no online services selecting a few essential titles and putting them on a stand-alone public PC so that users can easily use those titles when in the library even if the network is down or slow or the originating site unreachable. And, at another extreme, I can see a large library, which already has some digital collections online and accessible over the web, adding government information to its collection and integrating government and non-government sources together so that its users do not have to go to two different interfaces or sites to find the information they need.

You can probably easily expand these simple examples too your own situation and see where digital deposit will fit into your existing collections and services — or collections and services you are planning.

2. I think it is equally important to emphasize to library management and to your technical support people that there are different technologies for implementing any given collection and service plan. Again, I believe that we should not be looking for a one-size-fits-all technological solution — even for similar collection and service plans. For example, one library might choose to use LOCKSS to implement online collections, another might use its institutional repository software (e.g., DSpace, EPrints, Greenstone, etc.), another might use content management software, and another might integrated documents into its existing webspace by uploading them to the same server that hosts its existing html documents. The point is that there are different technical ways to implement the same collection and service plans.

I hope this helps and others will contribute to this thread. If you have specific suggestion or solutions that you anticipate using, please share your stories!

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