Belinda Reich

DCC Curation Lifecycle Model Implementation Presentation

Hello, and welcome. My name is Belinda Reich, and I am the digital preservation manager at Portlandia Museum of Art. I’m here to give an overview of how to establish a digital curation and preservation program.
The purpose of this session is to provide an overview of the DCC Lifecycle Model and how it’s used to inform our digital preservation program at Portlandia Museum. I also want to convey the risks to data, and the digital transformation strategy needed to propel digital preservation efforts in your own organization.
At the end of this session, you will have the information and tools you need to enable you to go back to your own organizations with a sense of what can and needs to be done to ensure strategic, long-term accessibility to digital objects, and how that enables your organization’s digital transformation strategies. Understanding this bigger picture will help in advocating for a digital preservation program within your organization, with buy-in being a critical step. Lastly, I will provide the first steps needed to start curating and preserving digital data at your organization.
At Portlandia Museum we collect art and objects from around 1500 to today, encompassing European and North American cultures. While my organization preserves our collections and corporate output in a range of ways, today I will focus on the digital preservation of digital surrogates of works of objects in the museum’s collection. This program is part of a bigger digital transformation at the museum, one that aims to transform our operational and business processes, evolves our ability to provide access to our collection, and establishes new digital market strategies. Leadership, policies, training, and culture change in this area is crucial to transformation success, and understanding these digital operational processes is important in gaining credibility when advocating for preservation.
When our museum implemented our digital curation and preservation program, our justification premise revolved around two aspects:
1. Fulfilling our digital transformation strategies and aims, and our overall mission. Part of that is enabling staff and leadership with new digital skills and knowledge. Deeper engagement with stakeholders across the organization to understand each other’s needs and to creatively strategize how different departments play important roles in various aspects of a digital preservation lifecycle (Digital Preservation Coalition, 2021). And;
2. The risk to data and access if we do not preserve our digital objects (DPC, 2021). Loss or degradation of our content, and loss of metadata to find our resources are pressing issues at our museum.
Data loss and degradation are our major concerns when conceiving of the files we want to preserve. There are two migration options for preservation of photographs, one being the JPEG2000 (.jp2) file format, or TIFF (.tif). While JPEG2000 is open source and widely used, the gold standard for best practice is to use the TIFF format, with no compression, to ensure no data loss (Corrado & Moulaison Sandy, 2017, p. 199). Using such a widely regarded archival file format also protects against obsolescence. Standardizing file formats, or normalizing, is efficient and ensures files aren’t tied to specific hardware or software (Oliver & Harvey, 2016, p. 164).
Besides any selection or collection issues, the major issue facing digital preservation is technological, and at the core is data loss and technological obsolescence (Kastellec, 2012). Criterion for acceptance of a file format should include an evaluation of its functionality, metadata, openness, interoperability, and independence (Corrado & Moulaison Sandy, 2017, p. 203).
At Portlandia Museum we use the DCC Lifecycle Model to guide our preservation of digital data. The model, seen here, illustrates the sequential stages of the DCC Lifecycle (in red). The cycle starts at the Create and Receive stage and continues into a sequence of stages, which we will look at in more depth in the coming slides.
At the center is the Data, which are the digital objects or databases we are trying to preserve. And, as seen here on the slide, a definition of what data is, according to the model.
Not everyone within your organization will work on every stage but an understanding of each stage generates a greater understanding of everyone’s work and the challenges they face (Carden et al., n.d.-a, p. 5). Full-lifecycle actions are shown in the center but today I will only go in depth about the red sequential actions.
The Sequential Actions are needed to curate data as they move through the lifecycle. These Sequential Actions can be repeated for as long as the data are curated and preserved. Once the data reach the final action of Transform they can then again begin the sequence (Oliver & Harvey, 2016).
Starting from Create or Receive, I will highlight some of the key issues related to each Lifecycle Stage. What is on the screen for each stage is a definition, the functions, and tools to carry out the action.
Appraise and Select is the action that helps to discover what data are wanted and needed. Within this action we ask ourselves the questions: Why do we want to keep this data? How do we make decisions about what is likely to be useful or reusable? How long should we plan to keep the data? Do we want them to be fully functional in the future? This is also the stage where data can be selected for disposal (Oliver & Harvey, 2016).
For many of us in the field, we will find the answers to these questions in our collection, preservation and access policies, as well as our organization’s mission and strategy documents (Oliver & Harvey, 2016).
The actions taken at the Ingest stage include the processes needed to prepare data for preservation.
Important concepts are addressed in this stage, too, such as integrity and authenticity. Functions such as fixity checking ensure that a digital object hasn’t been tampered with or accidently changed, and thus it retains its integrity (Carden et al., n.d.-c). Authenticity is “demonstrated by paying attention to such characteristics as provenance (where the data came from) and context (the circumstances surrounding the creation, receipt, storage, or use of data and their relationship to other data) (Oliver & Harvey, 2016, p. 56).
The Preservation Action stage is a chance to get data in the best shape before long-term preservation. Cleaning, migrating, finalizing metadata, and ensuring the authenticity, integrity, longevity, and accessibility of data are the aims of this stage. For many of us, the primary method used in this stage is to migrate our files so that they are usable into the future regardless of technology or software obsolescence. Other methods that can be used are a technology preservation method that requires an archive to maintain obsolete computers and software, or an emulated environment which maintains the look and feel of the original data (Oliver & Harvey, 2016, p. 161). Our digital surrogate collection is a predominately photographic archive, so we generally only migrate our files.
Some of these suggested tools on the slides can be used for more than one Sequential Action. There is a QR code in the bottom corner that is linked to a website called COPTR, which allows search of the DCC Lifecycle Model via either the stages or functions and provides suggestions of what tools to use.
The Store action is all about the quality and security of where to store data: security of data, the physical site of storage, the network, and files. The level of storage needed can be long-term curation, short-term management, delivery only, or discovery only (Oliver & Harvey, 2016, p. 179), and best practices includes:
• Checking the integrity of all stored data at regular intervals
• Ensuring that all data are stored on a minimum of two different forms of storage, and consider off-site, cloud storage, too
• Ensuring that stored data are organized so they can be readily located
• Frequent auditing of copies
(Oliver & Harvey, 2016)
The final two sequential actions are Access, Use, and Reuse and Transform.
In these actions the promise of preservation is fulfilled in using and reusing consequential digital objects or databases. We need to ensure that appropriate and standardized metadata are used to access the data, ensure legal issues for use and reuse are in order, along with access controls for authorized users, and providing tools for users to use and reuse the data (Oliver & Harvey, 2016, p. 197).
Over the next two slides I will give a quick sketch of what the DCC Lifecycle Model looks like when it’s implemented at Portlandia Museum:
Conceptualize – This is where we establish standards that we want to flow through the entire lifecycle, so we create metrics and standards for file creation, operations, and metadata, and communicate those standards to our stakeholders to ensure consistency and accuracy.
Create and Receive – We need the highest quality images to enter our repository for preservation and create access copies from that. We use metrics to ensure image capture is the highest quality available to us. This could be a scan of an existing photo or slide or the original creation of one.
Appraise and Select – We cannot collect everything due to both time and resource restraints, so here we can consult our institution’s policies about what we need to collect, as well as consultation with our stakeholders. Our selection is driven by the museum’s physical collecting needs as well as curatorial and business needs. This might include the preservation of existing photographs or the generation of new images of our physical collection.
Ingest – An Archival Information Package (AIP) is created from a Submission Information Package (SIP) which includes the digital object to be preserved along with metadata. Preservation Description Information is added to the AIP which includes a persistent identifier, provenance information, context information that identifies the objects relation to other objects, and fixity information that demonstrates the object’s authenticity.
Preservation Action – At our museum, the images that we preserve are not simply a backup but a way to control our digital collection for longevity, preserve digital copies of our analog collection, ensure we can access the files over many years, legal rights issues, and the authenticity and provenance of digital objects (Corrado & Moulaison Sandy, 2017, p. 4). With staff turnover and technological changes within our organizations, these types of preservation actions ensure that someone will always understand the objects and the context of their creation and use.
Store – When we store digital objects, we need to think of standards and quality. At the museum we use the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s (NDSA) Levels of Digital Preservation and aim for Level 4 storage (NDSA, 2019).
Access, Use, Reuse and Transform – these two actions are taken together here because Transform is usually a result of the former, which is creating new data out of the original data (Oliver & Harvey, 2016, p. 197). A key part of our digital preservation efforts at the museum is to ensure our collection is available to be accessed, used, and reused for purposes such as research, curation and exhibition – both physical and online, and for corporate purposes such as advertising, outreach, and engagement. And not least of all, for our museum’s visitors via our online exhibitions, brochures, museum maps, catalogue books, and any images we allow free usage with Creative Commons licenses.
We ensure that what the images represent can be found by using descriptive metadata as a tool for discovery. The administrative metadata will alert a user as to whether they can legally use the image and its provenance. Its structural metadata will alert a user to related files, and the technical metadata will let them know what file format the image is in and whether they will need to compress it, for say, use on the museum’s website (Corrado & Moulaison Sandy, 2017, p. 66).
The next stage is to take what you have learned here and apply it to your organization’s context. This table expresses the process of strategically planning a program such as this one for digital preservation. This is a whole transformation process, but please focus on the first two processes, colored blue. These are the first steps in planning a program. These first five steps should help you to understand the risks and challenges present in your organization and get the ball rolling on what your organization needs.
And to break down those five steps in the process further, this table gives you an idea of actions needed within each, which helps form the strategy, leadership, policies, training, and culture change needed to build a preservation program that enables digital transformation in your organization.
Thank you. I will keep the DCC Lifecycle Model here as a starting point for questions but can go back to any slide that you wish to discuss. There is a lot of information provided so after the session I will email a PDF of the presentation as well so you can hit any of the contained links or just go over the ideas presented here at your own pace.


  • Digital Curation & Preservation

  • November 2021

Presentation created for Digital Curation & Preservation course in Master of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University.