Digital Repository Audit Method Based on Risk Assessment

Digital Repository Audit Method Based on Risk Assessment

The Digital Repository Audit Method Based on Risk Assessment (DRAMBORA) is a methodology and associated software-based toolkit developed by Digital Curation Centre (DCC) and DigitalPreservationEurope (DPE) to support the assessment of digital repositories.

Digital preservation is often defined as a risk management exercise where the aim is to convert the uncertainty about maintaining usability of authentic digital objects into quantifiable risks. The purpose of a digital repository or archive is to do everything it can to mitigate the risks that impede its ability to provide access to authentic digital information across space and time. The term ‘digital repository’ has a broad range of uses. Some use it for any collections of digital material. Many use it to refer to digital collections (often of ePrints) where the metadata is shared with a particular protocol. A few apply it only to collections of digital material that are intended to survive in an understandable way for very long periods into the future. The measure of success of a repository’s work is the ‘quality’ of information it releases to its users. The DRAMBORA toolkit is intended to facilitate internal audit by providing repository administrators with a means to assess their capabilities, identify their weaknesses, and recognise their strengths.

Digital repositories are still in their infancy and this model is designed to be responsive to the rapidly developing landscape. The development of the toolkit follows a concentrated period of repository pilot audits undertaken by the DCC, conducted at a diverse range of organisations including national libraries, scientific data centres and cultural and heritage data archives. The construction of a toolkit of this kind is a dynamic process and this is the second stage in this process. The DRAMBORA toolkit represents the latest development in an ongoing international effort to conceive criteria, means and methodologies for audit and certification of digital repositories. The intention throughout its development was to build upon, extend and complement existing efforts. A key requirement has been to establish a toolkit that contributes towards a single process for repository assessment. The importance of international cooperation and collaboration, and the potential dangers associated with divergence were acknowledged very early on within the DCC and DPE's work in this area.

Perhaps the most notable efforts to date within this context are those invested within the RLG/NARA Task Force and the nestor working group to develop criteria for audit and certification of trustworthy digital repositories. Further significant work was led by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). The results of these efforts have been foremost within our considerations throughout the development of this toolkit, and in the DCC-led pilot audits that preceded it. The DCC/DPE working group has engaged with representatives of other groups to agree upon a set of principles, representing the fundamental, objective baseline criteria for preservation repositories, and these and their underlying concepts, are profoundly important within the toolkit. It is anticipated that self-audit based on DRAMBORA can be facilitated if undertaken in association with one or both of the check-lists, and vice versa. The risk-based approach assists efforts to match a repository against these lists of requirements. Only with a clear view of an organisation's business context and its implicit risks can an auditor effectively utilise these requirements. The toolkit contextualises these lists so they can be more effectively applied. In addition to these resources, we have also sought to incorporate and adapt ideas and concepts from an additional, diverse range of sources, including a wide range of international information standards, many with their basis in the risk management industry aiming to broaden ever further the perspectives that our international colleagues have already established.

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