What is the Digital Preservation Network (DPN)?
The Digital Preservation Network (DPN) was formed to ensure that the complete scholarly record is preserved for future generations. DPN uses a federated approach to preservation. The higher education community has created many digital repositories to provide long-term preservation and access. By replicating multiple dark copies of these collections in diverse nodes, DPN protects against the risk of catastrophic loss due to technology, organizational, or natural disasters.

What is the Texas Preservation Node?
The Texas Preservation Node through the DPN is a partnership between the University of Texas at Austin, the Texas Digital Library (TDL), and the Texas Academic Computing Center (TACC). The Texas Preservation Node is one of five DPN preservation nodes, located throughout the United States. Storage for the Texas Preservation Node is through the TACC.

How does the DPN work with the DuraCloudTM @ TDL service?
The Texas Preservation Node leverages the DuraCloudTM @ TDL service to ingest and monitor materials deposited to the DPN.

Can an institution choose the DPN Preservation Nodes to be included in the replication?
In the initial launch of the DPN, institutions cannot choose which nodes will be included in the replication, but possibly in future iterations of the DPN. The Preservation Node selection may be limited by planned capacity or other technical factors.

What is the geographic distribution of replicated copies in DPN Preservation Nodes?
The current DPN infrastructure includes storage regions in California, Michigan, Texas, and Virginia.

What if I would like to get things out?
To retrieve the materials ingested in the DPN, contact the DPN administrators. Under most circumstances, the Administrative Node will be able to retrieve content within 7 working days.

Does the DPN accept encrypted materials?
The DPN is an unencrypted system and does not currently accept materials that are encrypted.

What could happen that would threaten an institution’s digital assets?
The following are examples of ongoing types of events or situations that threaten the security of digital collections:

  • A major weather event wipes out all digital files kept locally at a university library data center.
  • Political instability forces the closure of an academic institution and associated online systems.
  • Proprietary digital asset management software owned and operated by a for-profit company for an academic library malfunctions causing the loss of large tracts of strategic data.
  • A collection curator retrieves selected files only to notice that their digital content has degraded over time.
  • The unintended loss of taxpayer-funded research data cripples current scientific advancement and discredits a major government agency because the historic data cannot be replicated.
  • Hackers break into a university data center and damage online digital collections.
  • A budget crisis forces an administrative shift leaving large amounts of digital scholarly content without a home.
  • A reorganization of academic departments puts related historic scholarly resources in jeopardy.
  • Personnel in charge of curation and management of key institutional research change positions or pass away.

What is at risk?
The future is uncertain. Academic institutions require that key aspects of their scholarly histories, heritage, and research remain part of the record of human endeavor in spite of, or perhaps because of whatever will happen next. As an emblematic part of institutional identity, the potential loss of core online academic collections that are part of what an institution means could be catastrophic. Oral history collections, born digital artworks, historic journals, theses, dissertations, media and fragile digitization of ancient documents and antiquities are examples of these kinds of irreplaceable resources

Digital preservation of scholarly resources in DPN is like a secure and trusted retirement savings account for knowledge if you could be assured of living well past 100. We don’t know what the far future of learning will be like, but we can plan now to make the raw materials of knowledge accessible.

How does DPN operate?
The Digital Preservation Network ensures the secure preservation of stored content by leveraging a heterogeneous network that spans diverse geographic, environmental, and political climates. The digital preservation process can be expressed in five steps:

  1. Simple web access or bulk upload – Members deposit their content into an “Ingest/Administrative Node” which offers standard DPN services (3) as well as offerings that are unique to the Node.
  2. Copy and repeat – Content from the Ingest Node is replicated to at least two other Replicating Nodes. The replicated content is stored as “dark content”. Replicating Nodes cannot access content without direction from the Network.
  3. Content repair – To make sure that content stays the same over time, bit auditing and repair services are performed on stored content at least once every 24 months to continuously maintain the integrity of the original content on all copies. Content is repaired as corruption is detected.
  4. Digital restoration – If original content is lost or corrupted, the DPN Administrative Node restores a copy of the content from another Node which keeps replicated content. Replicated copies of original content can be accessed within the Administrative Node, or can be restored to a useful state by another Node.
  5. Shared responsibility – As Nodes enter and leave DPN, preserved content is redistributed to maintain the continuity of preservation services into the far-future.

Additional answers to questions may be found in an online FAQ located here: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/dpn-faq

Other questions may be addressed to Mary Molinaro at mary@dpn.org.

Quick Links

Questions about setting up and using the Digital Preservation Network (DPN)? Contact the TDL Helpdesk.
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