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IFLA Conference

World Library and Information Congress: 74th IFLA General Conference and Council

"Libraries without borders: Navigating towards global understanding"

10-14 August 2008, Québec, Canada

Arabic translation  Spanish translation 

Call for Papers

Preservation and Conservation Section, IFLA CDNL Alliance on Bibliographic Standards (ICABS), Information Technology Section, IFLA Core Activity on Preservation and Conservation (PAC) and Law Libraries Section

Session 1: Digital objects on physical carriers
Session 2: Preservation infrastructures

Jointly organised by the Preservation and Conservation Section, IFLA CDNL Alliance on Bibliographic Standards (ICABS), Information Technology Section, IFLA Core Activity on Preservation and Conservation (PAC) and Law Libraries Section

Session 1: Digital Objects on Physical Carriers

Digital preservation R&D had focused mainly on webarchiving, archiving of online journals and how to set up preservation systems and workflows. A very practical issue, preservation of digital objects on physical carriers (floppies, cd-roms, etc.) has received less attention. This is changing however. A number of institutions are currently carrying out risk assessments of their physical digital material and tests are being performed on how to preserve this material.

Digital objects on physical carriers, also referred to as physical format digital publications, are digital publications, datasets or programmes stored on floppy-disks, cd-roms, dvd’s or any other kind of medium. Nowadays, many publications are released on dvd, but libraries also hold collections with older material still on floppy-disks and cd-roms. To preserve these objects, they have to be transferred to archiving systems and strategies have to be set-up to ensure their future accessibility.

Some specific issues have to be addressed when preserving of physical format material. These issues include the following:

  • How to transfer the objects from the carrier to the archiving system? (Install everything manually, develop a robot...)
  • In case of old objects: do we still have the hard- and software to read the floppy-disk? And how do we give access to this old material in the future?
  • Security: many floppies and cd-roms have read/write restrictions that interfere with the preservation process.
  • Future accessibility of cd-roms/dvd’s: many digital publications that are released on dvd, are very complex objects, containing all sorts of embedded files, audiovisual material etc. To keep this kind of material accessible is a major challenge.
  • When objects are transferred to other carriers: how can we do this in the most durable way?
  • How can a risk assessment be performed that helps us to prioritise our actions?

We invite papers that address the challenges as mentioned above.

All types of digital material that are held on physical carriers can be the focus of a paper – irrespective of the type of content : multimedia applications, e-publications (e-journals, e-books), audiovisual materials, old tapes and floppy-disks, ‘new’ dvd’s, etc.

We especially call for papers that offer practical solutions. One of the aims of this session is to offer guidance to ‘smaller’ libraries that want to preserve digital objects on physical carries but don’t have the possibility to set up full-fletched digital preservation systems and workflows.

Session 2: Preservation Infrastructures

During the past decade, the growing awareness of the need to preserve our digital publications, has led to a better understanding of activities that a library should set up to implement a digital preservation workflow. We realise now that implementing a system is not enough: there are a number of organisational issues that have to be addressed apart from the technical ones.

Currently, libraries are setting up repository systems in different ways: buying something off-the-shelve (not really an option yet), building something themselves, joining others to build open-source solutions, etc. There are different technical and organisational models that describe how this can be set up. But with implementing the archiving system, digital preservation has just begun. The library then needs different and innovative tools to address several challenges in the digital workflow, either for characterising the digital objects, or to ensure future accessibility.

The number of steps involved, and the complexity of this new workflow that is required, means that any institution that is responsible for the long-term maintenance of digital collections, needs new preservation tools and services as well as a (trusted) digital repository. This is not a task that can be performed by one single institution alone: libraries have to set up new ways to collaborate to address this new challenge. In general, we now see different models emerging:

  1. The library runs its own repository and develops and/or employs its own services.
  2. The library runs its own repository and shares the development and use of services with others
  3. The library shares both its repository as well as the development and use of services
  4. Any other model...

We call for papers that give examples of preservation infrastructures in any of these four models. Submitted papers can describe developments within a specific library, national project or international project. Together, the papers should present possible directions and practical experiences in collaboration and joint infrastructures for digital preservation.


  1. The deadline for submitting a detailed, abstract (500 words) and full author details is 30 January 2008. Selection of papers is based on the abstract, and presenters will be notified by 1 March 2008 at the latest whether they have been successful
  2. The full paper is due on
  3. and must be an original submission not published elsewhere
  4. Both abstracts and full papers should be submitted by e-mail; fax or post should be used only as a last resort
  5. Papers should be up to 4000 words
  6. 20 minutes will be allowed for a summary delivery of the paper in the Conference
  7. The author(s) should indicate his/her personal full contact details and include a summary curriculum vitae with the paper. Also, a digital photograph would be useful.

All submissions should be sent to:

Hilde van Wijngaarden
Head of Digital Preservation at the National Library of the Netherlands
Please make clear for which session the paper is intended.