Archive helps set the bar for trusted digital repositories

Article dated: 18 September 2011

An international team of test auditors gathered at the UK Data Archive in June 2011 to examine our structures, policies and procedures against a new international security standard for trusted digital repositories. team of test auditors

The ISO 16363 standard extends the reference model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS), which guides best practice in the preservation community. Since the Archive is registered to ISO 27001 for information security – and has passed the self-audit of the Data Seal of Approval (DSA) – this voluntary audit against the proposed new standard represents the next step in best practice for digital repositories.

Our motivation was to demonstrate a commitment to developing – and adhering to – appropriate standards that can be widely recognised and adopted. We clearly have a vested interest in being confident that sister archives, project partners and providers of technical registries related to preservation can be deemed trustworthy as a result of self-audit or full certification against a recognised standard.

The standard covers all processes necessary to demonstrate that an organisation can be trusted by depositors, funders and users. This includes everything from organisational infrastructure and security risk management to digital object management.

The Archive was the only repository in the UK chosen to undertake this test audit.

The results will be used to inform and fortify the APARSEN project, which seeks to lower barriers to long-term accessibility and usability of digital information and data through the development of a Virtual Centre of Digital Preservation Excellence.