Presentation Abstracts


Clifford Lynch, PhD (Director, Coalition of Networked Information)
The New Challenges of Stewardship in the Digital Age
This talk will look broadly at the profound challenges of managing and preserving not only the scholarly record (which is in a very real sense the easiest part of the problem) but also the much broader, more diverse, and more dynamic cultural record that will serve as essential evidence to support scholarship both today and into the future.

Morning Presentation:

Grant Hurley, Digital Preservation Librarian, Scholars Portal
Results of the CARL Digital Preservation Working Group’s Survey on Current State and Future Needs in Digital Preservation in Canada
This presentation will provide a summary of the results of the 2017-18 CARL Digital Preservation Working Group’s survey of digital preservation capacity and needs among Canadian memory institutions. The survey received 51 responses from academic libraries, government-operated libraries, archives and museums, and community-focused organizations and non-profits. The results provide an up-to-date picture of digital preservation activities and ongoing needs in Canada that are intended to inform the development of strategies, policies, expertise and resource allocation. The presentation will be followed by a table discussion and panel response in reaction to the survey results.

Morning Panel:

“At Scale” Digital Preservation in Canada – Working at the Institutional vs. Regional vs. National Level
This session will surface the advantages, challenges, and opportunities that a variety of organizations/institutions have experienced in working “at-scale” on issues of digital preservation. John Richan will speak to Concordia University Archives and Records Management Department’s relatively nascent digital preservation program while Steve Marks will describe the University of Toronto Libraries’ well-established digital preservation efforts, and efforts to rethink their approach. Corey Davis (COPPUL) and Kate Davis (Scholars Portal) will present about their regional consortial efforts, while Jean-François Gauvin (BAnQ) and Faye Lemay (LAC) will describe challenges and opportunities at the national scale. The panel will engage in a discussion in which cases activities are best situated at the national (or even international) and regional level vs. more local approaches.

Lightning Talks:

Sarah Dupont (Aboriginal Engagement Librarian, University of British Columbia Library)
Pragmatic Audio Preservation with Aboriginal Peoples (
During the twentieth century, academics conducting research on Aboriginal peoples generated audio recordings of important cultural traditions, customs, practices, and other information. Given the cultural importance of these data, individuals in Aboriginal nations, communities, and organizations stored the analogue audio recordings that were returned to them or found. Many have recently become aware of the fragility of the physical format and the urgent need to preserve them digitally. Post-digitization efforts with these recordings, such as language translation, content analysis, and further research is often required and undertaken for these pieces to contribute to their broader cultural revitalization efforts.

Indigitization is a grant program coordinated through the University of British Columbia Library with the objective of building capacity in cultural heritage media management. It identifies equipment and procedures to achieve preservation standards for the digitization of audio cassettes. Because there is limited funding for this work, achieving the highest standards is difficult in most situations. Challenges that are unique to Aboriginal settings regarding the preserving of digital files will be discussed, along with key strategies to overcome limitations.

Lisa Goddard (Associate University Librarian, Digital Scholarship and Strategy, University of Victoria Libraries)
Endings: Building Sustainable Digital Humanities Projects (project website)
Successful models for bringing Digital Humanities projects to closure are rare, and models for truly sustainable preservation are nonexistent. The Endings Project is a SSHRC-funded collaboration between faculty members, librarians, and programmers at the University of Victoria. We aim to develop practical strategies for concluding and preserving scholarly digital projects, and for maintaining long-term usability across a range of disciplines and DH methodologies. The Endings Project team has interviewed more than twenty-five project leads to better understand the factors that put even major, well-known DH projects at risk of oblivion. With a focus on five in-depth case studies, the project is developing tools and documentation to transform finished projects into static websites that can easily be archived in ways that preserve access, and are scalable for university libraries and other preservation partners. In this lightning talk, co-investigator, Lisa Goddard, will give an overview of our findings to date, and will highlight key opportunities for library intervention and partnership.

Karin MacLeod (Manager, Published Acquisitions, Library and Archives Canada)
Digital Preservation Starts with Acquiring Digital Content
Digital collections present information sharing opportunities and preservation challenges, both of which begin with actually having the precious digital content.  This speaks to the need for library acquisition teams to evolve collecting practices to ensure digital content is acquired and assembled into robust collections.

This lightning talk will focus on 3 recent digital acquisition initiatives the Published Heritage Branch at LAC has embarked on with the goal of enhancing its acquisition of digital content.

While Legal Deposit regulations were expanded in 2007 to include digital publications, limitations in LAC’s technical infrastructure prevented us from systematically acquiring this content.  Until now…with testing of a new Digital Asset Management System underway and an exciting suite of new ingest tools on the horizon we are preparing for change.  Some recent activities this talk will elaborate on are:

  • Digital News Ingest Pilot – a modest initiative in which LAC worked with 3 newspaper publishers to explore digital news formats, content coverage and ingest options. Insights regarding selection criteria, content volume and staff capacity were gleaned and results are informing development of a new Newspaper Strategy.
  • E-Theses – failure of legacy harvesting tools has prompted LAC to examine its collection of e-theses, explore new acquisition processes and address known preservation challenges.
  • Targeted outreach with creators of digital content – creators of digital music and e-books have suggested several new and innovative acquisition partnerships for LAC to explore.

Most significantly, the necessity for Acquisition teams to work in close collaboration with our Preservation colleagues has never been more apparent. To become acquainted with preservation requirements and embed these considerations in acquisition work flows clearly benefits both the development of LAC’s digital collections and ensures their discoverability, both now and far into the future.

Annie Murray (Associate University Librarian for Archives and Special Collections, University of Calgary)
Rock Music: A Digital Preservation Gateway Drug
Rock and pop music are ubiquitous, but the audiovisual recordings that house music present a preservation challenge for memory institutions. I will show how the acquisition of the EMI Music Canada Archive is a gateway to the development of comprehensive digital preservation planning in Libraries and Cultural Resources at the University of Calgary.

The EMI archive consists of more than 5,500 boxes of materials, including more than 40,000 audiovisual recordings, some of which are at great risk of degradation. With the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the migration of these recordings is underway. What of the resulting digital assets? How will they be managed and preserved? The EMI project has spurred reflection and analysis of the library’s overall capacity to store, manage, preserve, and provide access to a variety of digital assets.

I will highlight the components of our emerging capacity to preserve this collection, and all of our digital assets. I will describe the library’s development and planning related to staff expertise, equipment, network infrastructure, storage, and the implementation of a digital asset management system. Lastly, I will highlight the preservation challenges and opportunities presented by this large and complex archive.

Mireille Nappert (Digital Processing Archivist, Canadian Centre for Architecture)
Preserving Software for Long-term Access to CAD Files
The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) has been collecting digital materials for over 1O years now. In the past few years, it has established workflows to process and preserve these digital objects, which can range from a simple Word document to a Rhino or form*Z model. Most CAD formats are traditionally proprietary and there is no automated way to update file formats to current available software. Acquiring and preserving software, through donations and partnerships is vital in order to provide access to the original files on the long term. The talk will overview the need to preserve software for access to complex digital objects; mention the type of work involved in order to retain the software and reuse it to access files; and indicate software preservation initiatives from other organization (YALE, Software Preservation Network, etc.)

Umar Qasim, PhD (Digital Preservation Officer, University of Alberta and Chair of Portage’s Preservation Expert Group)
Portage’s Federated Approach to Preserve Canadian Research Data
Launched in 2015 by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), Portage Network is working to meet the data management and archiving needs of Canadian researchers. Portage is in a process of establishing an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) type archive that provides a platform to deposit, find, share and preserve research data. Portage works within the library community to coordinate expertise, services, and technology and planning to setup this archive in collaboration with several other key stakeholders.

The Portage’s Preservation Expert Group (PEG) is working to identify the challenges that need to be addressed by Portage and other stakeholders in order to develop and improve RDM capacity and infrastructure across the country, especially as it relates to the long-term preservation of research data. PEG members have recently authored a position paper which provides a framework within which digital preservation can be defined, discussed and achieved in the Canadian context. It also provides a set of guiding principles that reflect the values and commitments of organizations and communities already involved in this work.

Tim Walsh (Digital Preservation Librarian, Concordia University)
Bulk Reviewer: A Software Application for Managing Sensitive Information in Digital Archives
Bulk Reviewer is a software application designed to help librarians, archivists, and other digital preservation practitioners to identify, review, and remove files containing sensitive information in digital archives. Bulk Reviewer scans directories and disk images for personally identifying information (PII) and other sensitive information using bulk_extractor, a best-in-class open source digital forensics tool, and presents results in a review dashboard, enabling easier detection and dismissal of false positives. It provides the ability to generate CSV reports about inputs as well as the ability to export files from directories and disk images, separating problematic files from those that are free of sensitive information.

This project was started while the author was a 2018 Summer Fellow at the Library Innovation Lab at Harvard University. It is built using Django, Django Rest Framework, Celery, Django Channels, and Vue.js.  It is currently under active development as a research project at Concordia University Library, and is still in the exploratory/prototype phase. Topics to explore in the lightning talk include work done on the application so far as well as anticipated future development, including customization of existing open-source tools to better support the needs of Canadian institutions and data.

Jess Whyte  (Digital Asset Librarian, University of Toronto)
Automating Forensic Disk Imaging for Accuracy, Efficiency, and Data Reuse
The University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) is currently migrating content off at-risk digital media in its collections. One media format, floppy disks, poses a particular challenge in its heterogeneity and the skill level required to extract data in a manner that is sound. We needed a way to image these disks that reduced those barriers, was error-proof for student employees, and scalable.

We found that traditional GUI tools for imaging floppy disks were quite slow, required entering the same information in multiple locations, and introduced too many opportunities for error or inconsistency.

The solution, a script and workstation setup, has reduced our input errors, reuses existing metadata in the UTL system, produces consistent output, and speeds up our processes. Instead of being able to image 5-6 disks/hr, we can now image 10-12 disks/hr, and our quality control and verification processes are improved.

This lightning talk will cover the challenge presented, an overview of the script, and a quick demo of the process.