Notes from Megameeting 15th June 2009


BruceAmbacher UM
JohnGarrett GSFC
KatiaThomaz INPE
MarkConrad NARA
RobertDowns CIESIN, Columbia University
SimonLambert STFC
DavidGiaretta STFC


The meeting focussed on the document on the Wiki containing Marks comments - with David's further comments.

Actions (see transcript for details):

  • All
    1. read the document with DG/MC comments.
    2. section editors to correct their sections i.e. clarify unclear phrases and missing words etc which Mark has pointed out. Highlight points where there are disagreements
    3. DG to do other tidy up e.g. references
    4. all to think about how to handle "preservation" i.e. to concisely describe what we are trying to certify - see discussion below

Transcript of chat

BruceAmbacher >> (All): How many more weeks will we be holding megameetings?
BruceAmbacher >> (All): Monday is still usually good for me
BruceAmbacher >> (All): Mark's comments show that some of us have been at this
too long and don't see things or read things into what we see.
Mark Conrad >> (All): Good morning Robert
RobertDowns >> (All): Hi Mark and all
David Giaretta >> (All): Hi
David Giaretta >> (All): I send an email copy of my mark-ups to Mark's comemnts.
I'm trying to put this on the Wiki so Mark can see it since his email is down.
David Giaretta >> (All): ...sorry - I sent the email 5 minutes before the meeting
David Giaretta >> (All): See
BruceAmbacher >> (All): David, what did you actually audit - an entire repository or
one/a few specific collections? I ask per your statement that different parts of an archive
should be tested differently.
David Giaretta >> (All): Test audit summary on WIki at
BruceAmbacher >> (All): But from a certification perspective shouldn't the same
rules/procedures apply? A mission statement, a preservation strategy, etc,
David Giaretta >> (All): Yes, but they did not have things as neatly oraganised
JohnGarrett >> (All): Hello, Katia and others
David Giaretta >> (All): It would have been nice if I could have done a full audit but
time constraints meant that I only had had a day.
David Giaretta >> (All): However that seemed enough to get at least some comments
on the metrics and we did go through the full set
BruceAmbacher >> (All): Per Mark's comments I see a residue of issues coming from
David's earlier effort to put "preservation" into every aspect, rather than to let certain
issues (mission statement) relate to all aspects of the repository's activities, structure, etc,
David Giaretta >> (All): I put a Word file on the Wiki containing my comments on Mark's comments
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - I think many of mark's coments arise because I did not make
that change well enough.
David Giaretta >> (All): ...I did try not to mess with people's text too much - only for consistency.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): David, What is the citation for the document with your comments?
David Giaretta >> (All):
David Giaretta >> (All): I also emailed it around
David Giaretta >> (All): I was not sure how we should handle Mark's comments - there
were so many and they were so good!
Mark Conrad >> (All): I think there was a move at the Face-to-Face meeting, largely by
Don Sawyer, to focus this document solely on preservation rather than trustworthiness of the repository writ large.
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - I think Don meant trustworthiness with respect to preservation
rather than, say, response time
Mark Conrad >> (All): I just think that is where some of the text being focused on preservation
came from. If you look at the document before and after that meeting the word preservation
seems to pop up in a lot more places.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): That approach is too narrow.  We are revising TRAC.  It deals with all
aspects of organizing, operating a repository that producers and consumers can have confidence
that ALL aspects will meet norms.  The most important being long term preservation and access.
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - it seemed to me that many of your comments arise from 3.1.1
DIGITAL INFORMATION" instead of "Preserving Digital Information"
Mark Conrad >> (All): Yes. I believe it should be the former - not the latter.
Mark Conrad >> (All): I agree with Bruce.
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - yes I agree but the question is are we judging things like the
response time to requests for access.
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - but does that phrase cover all of preservation - in particular
Mark Conrad >> (All): David, Taken with the metrics covering understandibility for the designated community
it certainly does.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): David, response time would be considered only if the repository has
stated a response time and that is unacceptable to the Designated Community and/or the repository
constantly fails to adhere to its stated response time.  In the former case the community may have
to provide the resources to improve the response time
BruceAmbacher >> (All): For some communities a multi-week response time may be undesirable
but acceptable.  For others anything less than instantaneous would be unacceptable.
David Giaretta >> (All): mark - yes if everything is taken together then preservation includes
all the other points. But to explicitly pull of those points indicates that they are exhaustive
and/or need definitions
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - the Designated Community may be a small part of the
User Community - who should determine the response time?
Mark Conrad >> (All): David, I would say that preservation is subsumed in those other points.
RobertDowns >> (All): Over time, the user community and the Designated Community could
evolve, and so could their expectations for response time.
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - you may have the sort of phrasing which might be acceptable to
people - BUT my question about DC vs User Community needs to be resolved
JohnGarrett >> (All): Clearly a repository could still be preserving data very well even if it didn't
meet access time requirements from the community.   Should that repository pass RAC certification or not?
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - I guess the problem is that we dont have a definition for those
terms and so we can read into them what we want. In particular I would NOT read
understandability into retention or management
Mark Conrad >> (All): John, Not if it is not meeting the expectations of its Designated Community.
Mark Conrad >> (All): David, Understandibility would come under providing access.
RobertDowns >> (All): Response time also could be specific to a particular resource. Average response
time could be acceptable, but response time for a specific resource could be excessive.
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - my recollection is that we cut out only a couple of metrics - it
sounds to me as if you really really really want them back in.
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - I would not read understandability into access - BUT ---- it does say 
"to digital information".It would be OK with me if that were chahnged to "digiitally encoded information"
David Giaretta >> (All): ...or we added  ".. ensuring that it is understandable to the DC.." - but to
my mind all that extra phraseology is covered by "preserve"
JohnGarrett >> (All): I think we may need to include more if we are certifying all aspects of a
repository and not just preservation aspects.  I can go either way, but the requirements are different.
I thought at face to face the agreement was to only consider preservation ( I thought otherwise then),
but I think we need to decide and stick with a decision.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): I am not asking for more metrics.  I think we have clouded the
meaning/intent of some metrics when we placed them under a tighter mantle of preservation.
Financial stabliity is financial stability.  If a repository can't afford to bring in collections and
properly process them it then is unlikely to be able to preserve them over time.
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - but it could preserve things but not be able to meet the DC
expectations about response time (my favorite example) 
David Giaretta >> (All): ...and hitting response times would save money
BruceAmbacher >> (All): I took the face-to-face narrowing of purpose to focus only on those
aspects related to the long term preservation of digital objects.  That cut out some aspects of
overall management, overall IT security, overall IT refreshment, etc.
Mark Conrad >> (All): David, If it doesn't meet the needs of the DC it would certainly not be
considered trustworthy by the DC.
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - I used to consider my bank trustworthy even though it took
5 days to clear checks - even though I wanted that done instantly.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): Which metrics specifically poll the DC?  How does an auditor determine
if the DC is satisfied?  I think we are moving beyond the existing document
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - the metrics which check that the information actually
IS understandable to the DC
David Giaretta >> (All): ...e.g.
David Giaretta >> (All): ...and 4.3.4
Mark Conrad >> (All): Where are we going with this conversation? If you are looking for a quick
fix for all of my comments I do not believe you will find one.
RobertDowns >> (All):  Yes, we may have to consider each comment in succession.
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - I provided my comments - others, especially the section authors
need to look at fixing many of your detailed comments
David Giaretta >> (All): ...but there were some general ones and some fixes e.g. replace the
"retention..." by "preserve" - which would address a number of your comemnts. 
David Giaretta >> (All): that's why I started the discussion of that
Mark Conrad >> (All): I don't think that is in fact the case.
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - yes, that's clear now but that was my hope in raising it
Mark Conrad >> (All): So how do we proceed?
David Giaretta >> (All): So how about grouping the discussion into 1) the question of "preservation"
2) the various typos and missing words
BruceAmbacher >> (All): David, I sent my edits to you in late May.  Have they been added to
the document or posted for review?
David Giaretta >> (All): ...and 3) other corrections like the references
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - I HOPE i included all the comments I received in the document
as best I could - how late in May did you send them?
BruceAmbacher >> (All): I created the word document 27 May
David Giaretta >> (All): The doc we are talking about was created May 22, so does not include
your comments
BruceAmbacher >> (All): I can resend it if needed.  Most were edits I think all would accept -
spacing, misspellings, revised section references
David Giaretta >> (All): Yes please
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - I have your doc dated 27 May - yes they were corrections which
seemed straiightforward - you sent it to the list
JohnGarrett >> (All): I remember looking those over and they all seemed straight forward.
David Giaretta >> (All): My earlier comemnt was about including all the PREVIOUS comemnts I
had received and my attempt to combine them.
David Giaretta >> (All): SHow about my groupng into 3 parts
David Giaretta >> (All): We could usefully do (1) now
David Giaretta >> (All): ...and assign (2) to the section authors
David Giaretta >> (All): and I can tidy up (3)
BruceAmbacher >> (All): ok.  The first instance of preservation that is questioned is in 1.1
KatiaThomaz >> (All): ok for me.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): I suggest rephrasing it to read:" . . . assessing the trustworthiness of digital repositories."
Mark Conrad >> (All): Actually the first instance is in the statement of intent.
Mark Conrad >> (All): I agree with Bruce's suggestion for 1.1.
David Giaretta >> (All): It currently says "trustworthiness of the preservation capabilities  of digital repositories "
KatiaThomaz >> (All): ok.
David Giaretta >> (All): I guess my problem is what Trustworthiness means - it is well enough defined?
David Giaretta >> (All): BUt I can go with Bruce's wording - as long as others don't think it is too broad
David Giaretta >> (All): What other aspects is one judging?
BruceAmbacher >> (All): David, as 1.3 notes, this document stands on activity dating back to 1996
including the document that defines trusted digital repositories.
RobertDowns >> (All): Mark - Are you proposing that we replace all instance of  "trustworthiness of
the preservation capabilities  of digital repositories " with "trustworthiness of digital repositorie "?
David Giaretta >> (All): But that pre-dated OAIS
BruceAmbacher >> (All): David, doesn't each section and metric identify what aspects we are judging?
Mark Conrad >> (All): Robert, I am not proposing any global replacements.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): Robert, No.  There are instances where it is appropriate and focused
and places where it  does not fit
David Giaretta >> (All): Yes,  and I was happy with the wording as it was. Mark's comemnts
about then changing wording all the way through - replacing "preservation" with a whole phrase
is what makes me be picky in caswe we end up with a cascade of changes
David Giaretta >> (All): I would be happier to have a section defining preservation rather
than making changes throughout
Mark Conrad >> (All): David, I was not suggesting a global change. I was pointing out places
where I believed that the metrics had been unnecessarily constrained to cover only preservation.
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - but you then were suggesting putting in words that to my mind
could be read  as omitting understandability
David Giaretta >> (All): ...yes I know that you did not mean a global change - I did not mean to imply that
Mark Conrad >> (All): David, Understandability to the DC is specifically covered in several metrics.
David Giaretta >> (All): ....but I was worried about cascades of changes
BruceAmbacher >> (All): Understandability should be determined at the SIP and SIP to AIP
phases, long before the DIP phase.
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - and so is access and management etc
Mark Conrad >> (All): I was pointing out places where I believed that the metrics had
been unnecessarily constrained to cover only preservation.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): And forcing those metrics to address "preservation" may be
skewing the text and the context
David Giaretta >> (All): I entirely agree that preservation includes access and management etc
but I don't see that access and management are enough for preservation
David Giaretta >> (All): I'm somewhat worried that we are going to open everything up again
David Giaretta >> (All): We agreed on preservation at the face to face.
Mark Conrad >> (All): David, I do not believe that preservation covers all aspects of access
and management.
David Giaretta >> (All): We agreed  I think that preservation includes access, management etc
BruceAmbacher >> (All): David,  Everything does not fit into one metric.  That has been a
problem all along since 2005 - people want to see every aspect in one metric rather than
letting the metrics collectively build to a strong repository that supports long term preservation
David Giaretta >> (All): ...OK not all aspects but the point is that management and access
do not cover preservation
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - excellent point.
RobertDowns >> (All): In the Forward, should we replace "certification of preservation
capabilities  of digital repositories " with "certification of digital repositories"?
Mark Conrad >> (All): Robert, I would say yes.
David Giaretta >> (All): Robert - I guess the question is what aspects we are certifying
David Giaretta >> (All): ...even ISO 9000 specifies what it is covering.
David Giaretta >> (All): SO what are we certifying ABOUt the repository
David Giaretta >> (All): All the aspects of management, finance, access etc are only relevant
because we are interested in its ability to preserve
David Giaretta >> (All): Otherwise we could just leave it to ISO9000 and ISO 27000
Mark Conrad >> (All): From the TRAC " identify digital repositories capable of reliably
storing, migrating, and providing access to digital collections."
David Giaretta >> (All): ...Unless we can say what we ARE certifying
BruceAmbacher >> (All): The Sections 3, 4 and 5 cover the aspects we are certifying.
The goal is a well established reporitory with the vision, stability, practices, policies to
ensure long-term preservation
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - one of the problems with TRAC was that it disappeared
for many months and wording like that appeared and was not discussed.
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - agreed - and all we are looking for is a way to put that in a
brief way - I am arguning that "preservation" is the aim. I'm not sure what the alternative is
Mark Conrad >> (All): Not unlike what happens to this document every time there is a
CCSDS meeting that most of this group cannot attend.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): We want to see a focused mission/collection policy, an assured
source of funding, appropriate ingest procedures, suitable agreements with producers,
good longterm storage, etc.  All of this sets the framework for preservation
David Giaretta >> (All): ...because just "management" and "access" do not do it
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - we explicitly say in the CCSDS meeting that we cannot make
detailed wording changes - we only discussed strategy
KatiaThomaz >> (All): david, look at the title of the document: "Metrics for digital repository
audit and certification". Maybe we should include the word preservation there.
David Giaretta >> (All): Katia - yes I think I did suggest that a while ago in an email (I think)
KatiaThomaz >> (All): and...
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - that is fine - I would make sure we include "understanability and usability"
David Giaretta >> (All): katia - I'm afraid I did not press the point since we had a title
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - we can put something like your phrase in the introduction
but I don't think it would fit in the title or the metrics. 
BruceAmbacher >> (All): I think we may be having a continental (N. America-Europe)
difference.  I would strongly oppose adding preservation to the title.  The goal with
TRAC and DRAMBORA is to certify welll rounded repositories not dark archives that just preserve bits.
David Giaretta >> (All): ...I guess that is what I meant about a section about preservation
David Giaretta >> (All): Bruce - I agree - that is why I did not press the point
KatiaThomaz >> (All): but if we´ve decide the focus was preservation...
David Giaretta >> (All): So would it be acceptable to work on a subsection discussing
preservation and then use that terms - OR we make up a new term 
Mark Conrad >> (All): David, The OAIS covers more than just preservation.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): The goal since 1996 has been to identify all of the qualities
that are part of a trustworthy repository/trusted digital repository.  The end goal is
preservation but that must be built on a broader foundation that also must be audited.
David Giaretta >> (All): OAIS has terminology for many things but conformance is
about things to do with preservation as defined in OAIS
Mark Conrad >> (All): I would suggest that before we go down the road of creating
a new section, we try looking at the individual comments and see how many we can quickly resolve.
David Giaretta >> (All): OK - lead on
BruceAmbacher >> (All): This is when we need a face-to-face
David Giaretta >> (All): We can have a telecon if that would help
David Giaretta >> (All): Actually with the numbers involved we could use Skype
David Giaretta >> (All): least I can use it from home
RobertDowns >> (All): Perhaps, in the forward, we need to describe what we mean by
certification within the context of preservation.
David Giaretta >> (All): Robert - yes I agree
Mark Conrad >> (All): We have three minutes left. Action items for next week?
KatiaThomaz >> (All): Some standards cover security, others quality and this one preservation
BruceAmbacher >> (All): Isn't section 1.3 Rationale the part of the Introduction where
preservation is laid out?
David Giaretta >> (All): How about 1) read the doc with DG/MC coments. (2) section editors
to correct their sections (3) DG to do other tidy up (4) all to think about how to handle "preservation" 
BruceAmbacher >> (All): ok
RobertDowns >> (All): ok
Mark Conrad >> (All): What is meant by (2)?
KatiaThomaz >> (All): ok
BruceAmbacher >> (All): Where do we place our comments/changes?
RobertDowns >> (All): I agree that 2 could be challenging.
David Giaretta >> (All): Mark - it seemed to me that you were pointing out lots of unclear
phrases and missing words which could be corrected by the section editors
BruceAmbacher >> (All): Any changes that a section editor does not agree with should be
highlighted for discussion in the next few weeks.
Mark Conrad >> (All): Ok. If that is what you meant by (2).
BruceAmbacher >> (All): David, will you convey this plan of action to section editors not here today?
David Giaretta >> (All): yes - in the actions
KatiaThomaz >> (All): Bye. Have a nice week.
BruceAmbacher >> (All): good bye
Mark Conrad >> (All): See you all next week.
David Giaretta >> (All): Bye
JohnGarrett >> (All): Bye

-- DavidGiaretta - 15 Jun 2009

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