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Scalable decision support for digital preservation: an assessment

Christoph Becker (Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Luis Faria (Innovation, Keep Solutions, Braga, Portugal)
Kresimir Duretec (Information and Software Engineering Group, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria)

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives

ISSN: 1065-075X

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




This article aims to evaluate a new architecture for scalable decision-making and control in preservation environments for its ability to address five key goals: scalable content profiling; monitoring of compliance, risks and opportunities; efficient creation of trustworthy plans; context awareness; and loosely coupled preservation ecosystems. Scalable decision support and business intelligence capabilities are required to effectively secure content over time.


We conduct a systematic evaluation of the contributions of the SCAPE Planning and Watch suite to provide effective and scalable decision support capabilities. We discuss the quantitative and qualitative evaluation of advancing the state of art and report on a case study with a national library.


The system provides substantial capabilities for semi-automated, scalable decision-making and control of preservation functions in repositories. Well-defined interfaces allow a flexible integration with diverse institutional environments. The free and open nature of the tool suite further encourages global take-up in the repository communities.

Research limitations/implications

The article discusses a number of bottlenecks and factors limiting the real-world scalability of preservation environments. This includes data-intensive processing of large volumes of information, automated quality assurance for preservation actions, and the element of human decision-making. We outline open issues and future work.

Practical implications

The open nature of the software suite enables stewardship organizations to integrate the components with their own preservation environments and to contribute to the ongoing improvement of the systems.


The paper reports on innovative research and development to provide preservation capabilities. The results of the assessment demonstrate how the system advances the control of digital preservation operations from ad hoc decision-making to proactive, continuous preservation management, through a context-aware planning and monitoring cycle integrated with operational systems.



Part of this work was supported by the European Union in the 7th Framework Program, IST, through the SCAPE project, Contract 270137, and by the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF) through the project BenchmarkDP (ICT12-046).


Becker, C., Faria, L. and Duretec, K. (2015), "Scalable decision support for digital preservation: an assessment", OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 11-34.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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