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Library eArchiving with ZONTAL Space and the Allotrope Data Format

Dennis Della Corte (Department of Physics and Astronomy, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)
Wolfgang Colsman (Zontal, inc, Provo, Utah, USA)
Ben Welker (Library Department, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)
Brian Rennick (Library Department, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 31 January 2020

Issue publication date: 9 March 2020




The purpose of this technical paper is to evaluate the emerging standard “Allotrope Data Format (ADF)” in the context of digital preservation at a major US academic library hosted at Brigham Young University. In combination with the new information management system ZONTAL Space (ZS), archiving with the ADF is compared with currently used systems CONTENTdm and ROSETTA.


The approach is a workflow-based comparison in terms of usability, functionality and reliability of the systems. Current workflows are replaced by optimized target processes, which limit the number of involved parties and process steps. The connectors or manual solutions between the current workflow steps are replaced with automatic functions inside of ZS. Reporting functionalities inside of ZS are used to track system and file lifecycle to ensure stability and data preservation.


The authors find that the target processes leveraging ZS drastically reduce complexity compared to current workflows. Archiving with the ADF is found to decrease integration complexity and provide a more robust data migration path for the future. The possibility to enrich data automatically with metadata and to store this information alongside the content in the same information package increases reusability of the data.

Research limitations/implications

The practical implications of this work suggest the arrival of a new information management system that can potentially revolutionize the archiving landscape within libraries. Beyond the scope of the initial proof of concept, the potential for the system can be seen to replace existing data management tools and provide access to new data analytics applications, like smart recommender systems.


The value of this study is a systematic introduction of ZS and the ADF, two emerging solutions from the Pharmaceutical Industry, to the broader audience of digital preservation experts within US libraries. The authors consider the exchange of best practices and solutions between industries to be of high value to the communities.



Funding research: States in separate document – for double blind peer review.


Della Corte, D., Colsman, W., Welker, B. and Rennick, B. (2020), "Library eArchiving with ZONTAL Space and the Allotrope Data Format", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 69-77.



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