MetaArchive FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Contents

  1. What is the MetaArchive Cooperative?
  2. MetaArchive is a Private LOCKSS Network (PLN). What does that mean?
  3. Is MetaArchive a Trustworthy Digital Repository?
  4. Why should I select MetaArchive as a preservation solution?
  5. What are the different types of memberships?
  6. How much does it cost to participate in MetaArchive?
  7. What are my member obligations?
  8. How is the MetaArchive Cooperative organized and governed?
  9. What institutions are currently members of the MetaArchive Cooperative?
  10. How do I get my collections into MetaArchive?
  11. How do I get my collections out of MetaArchive?
  12. Can I be sure that no one will have unauthorized access to our collections?
  13. What type of file formats does MetaArchive allow?
  14. Do I need to have an institutional repository in order to get started?
  15. What are the technology requirements for MetaArchive?
  16. What are the staffing requirements for MetaArchive?
  17. Is the MetaArchive Cooperative currently accepting new members?
  18. Who do I contact to get started or learn more?

1. What is the MetaArchive Cooperative?

The MetaArchive Cooperative is the first international community-owned, community-led digital preservation network. We are currently working with over 50 libraries, archives, research centers, foundations, and other digital memory organizations in four countries. The Cooperative was founded in 2003-2004 to develop a collaborative digital preservation solution for all types of digitized and born digital collections. The Cooperative seeks to embed both the knowledge and the technical infrastructure of preservation within MetaArchive’s member institutions.

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2. MetaArchive is a Private LOCKSS Network (PLN). What does that mean?

The MetaArchive is a Private LOCKSS Network (PLN) through its specialized use of the award-winning, open source Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (LOCKSS) software. The MetaArchive was the first network to use the LOCKSS software to preserve numerous and diverse digital collections beyond those of open access e-journals. There are now multiple PLNs in existence (see here: http://www.lockss.org/community/networks/). Private LOCKSS Network participants tend to have common interests in specialized subject or content genre areas; these networks are highly targeted collaborative efforts. Like-minded institutions work together to share the preservation responsibility (including governance and sustainability) of digital content important to the group.

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3. Is MetaArchive a Trustworthy Digital Repository?

The MetaArchive has engaged in an audit of its technical infrastructure and administrative operations using the Trustworthy Repositories Audit Certification: Criteria & Checklist (TRAC). The results of that audit assessment are publicly available on the Cooperative’s website here: http://metaarchive.org/documentation.

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4. Why should I select MetaArchive as a preservation solution? What are the benefits of joining a community-owned, community-led network?

There are a number of benefits to joining the MetaArchive, including:

  1. Low barriers to preservation ingest: MetaArchive uses low-cost embedded technologies and flexible data models
  2. Broadest geographic replication to avoid data loss: Each Member collection is distributed across seven geographically dispersed archives to ensure good protection
  3. No outsourcing of your digital collections: Members host the archival infrastructure and work with trusted peer libraries, archives, research centers, and other memory organizations to preserve their collections
  4. Maintain control over the cost of digital preservation: Members review the full price of our preservation work annually and are fully in charge of setting the costs for continued operations
  5. Community-driven opportunities to advance digital preservation: MetaArchive is more than a service, it is an opportunity to learn from other Members and grow in digital preservation capacity in common

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5. What are the different types of memberships? Where does my institution fit?

MetaArchive has three membership levels (3 year terms):

  • Sustaining: These are our Steering Committee members - they approve policy, set our strategic objectives, and assist with research & development. Join at this level if you are interested in taking the lead to shape the state-of-the-art in digital preservation.
  • Preservation: These members support the network by actively maintaining their embedded technologies and preparing their collections for preservation. Join at this level if you are interested in playing a supportive role and gaining experience in digital preservation along the way.
  • Collaborative: These are groups of institutions that are able to partner together and appoint a lead institution to prepare their collections on their behalf for preservation in MetaArchive. Join at this level if you are a consortia or a group of consortia-like institutions interested in a community-driven approach to digital preservation.

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6. How much does it cost to participate in MetaArchive?

Participating in MetaArchive has 4 primary cost obligations:

  1. Membership Fees: Billed annually or up-front for 3 years *
  2. Storage Fees: Billed annually
  3. Technology Fee: One purchase per 3 year term
  4. LOCKSS Alliance Fees: Depends on institution type and size (http://www.lockss.org/join/). Some institutions may be exempt. Contact LOCKSS directly for a quote: http://www.lockss.org/contact-us/.

* Members of the Networked Digital Library of Theses & Dissertations (NDLTD) enjoy an additional 5% annual discount on their MetaArchive membership fees.

A cost sheet and example cost calculation are available on our Costs page.

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7. What are my member obligations? What is expected of me?

All of our members support the network in the following ways:

  • Maintain membership in good standing
  • Maintain at least one server installed with the LOCKSS software
  • Comply with MetaArchive policies, specifications & technologies
  • Ensure proper copyright clearance to preserve own collections
  • Prepare, ingest, and monitor own collections
  • Replicate another member’s collections when requested
  • Cover travel expenses for annual meetings (Sustaining Members only)

For a complete list of all member rights and benefits please consult the MetaArchive Charter and Membership Agreement: http://metaarchive.org/documentation.

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8. How is the MetaArchive Cooperative organized and governed?

  • Member Steering Committee: The MetaArchive Cooperative is member owned and driven. This takes place through a Steering Committee that is represented by the MetaArchive Sustaining Members. The Steering Committee convenes twice annually and as needed to set strategic directions and approve policy.
  • Member Sub-Committees: The MetaArchive also convenes several sub-committees, including a Preservation Committee, Content Committee, Outreach Committee and Technical Committee to develop policy and carry out research and development on behalf of the Cooperative. These committees meet monthly and/or as needed.
  • Member Working Groups: In addition to the Steering Committee and the sub-committees, the Members may also convene ad-hoc Working Groups to study specific preservation areas of mutual interest to the Members. These Working Groups are of limited duration and have specific outcomes that are reported to the sub-committees and Steering Committee.

The MetaArchive organization and governance is set forth in the MetaArchive Charter and Membership Agreement available at: http://metaarchive.org/documentation.

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9. What institutions are currently members of the MetaArchive Cooperative?

The MetaArchive maintains an up-to-date list of its Member institutions on its website, available in the right-hand sidebar of this page and at: http://metaarchive.org/members.

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10. How do I get my collections into MetaArchive?

MetaArchive, through its use of the LOCKSS software, makes use of web harvesting to ingest your collections. You only need to make your collections web accessible to other members in the network. Once your collections are made web accessible, LOCKSS can be made aware of their location on the web through a collection entry in the MetaArchive Conspectus database. First, a test ingest is performed in the MetaArchive test network. If all collection content is successfully ingested on a test, then the collection is assigned to seven member locations. The LOCKSS servers at each of the seven members are then instructed to perform ingests. Once each assigned member has completed their ingest LOCKSS continues to monitor each copy for bit integrity.

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11. How do I get my collections out of MetaArchive?

If you lose your local collection copies for any reason, a copy can be easily obtained from one of the members in the Cooperative who were assigned to archive your collection. The MetaArchive central staff will work with you and a member to establish a secure connection to their LOCKSS server. An uncompressed ZIP package will be constructed and made available for download.

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12. Can I be sure that no one will have unauthorized access to our collections?

All members sign a material breach agreement and by participating in the Cooperative agree to abide by the policies set by the Steering Committee, including the Access Policy. No member is permitted to access another member’s stored collections. Login pages are only accessible to the host Member institution and the MetaArchive Central Staff.

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13. What type of file formats does MetaArchive allow? Are there any formats that are prohibited?

The MetaArchive accepts all formats and does not require a member to transform or normalize their content prior to ingest. If a member has a concern about a format type and its risk of obsolescence they can consult the MetaArchive Preservation and Content Committees to assist with assessing the risk and offer recommendations.

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14. Do I need to have an institutional repository in order to get started?

No, it is not necessary for you to have an institutional repository. So long as your collections can be made web accessible to our member sites they can be harvested. That being said, the MetaArchive has had success harvesting collections from many of the leading institutional repository systems in use, including DSpace, DigiTool, Digital Commons, and ArchivalWare.

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15. What are the technology requirements for MetaArchive?

The MetaArchive provides a full description of its technology requirements in its annual Technical Specifications, which are available here: http://metaarchive.org/documentation.

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16. What are the staffing requirements for MetaArchive?

A participating Member institution is required to appoint staff for the following on-going duties:

  • Systems Administration: Maintaining a single LOCKSS server
  • Collection Preparation: Preparing collections for ingest
  • Ingest Preparation: Testing and completing ingest for collections

The MetaArchive details average Time Required, Required Skills, Helpful Skills, and Common Tasks associated with each of the above-listed duties in its annual Technical Specifications, available here: http://metaarchive.org/documentation.

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17. Is the MetaArchive Cooperative currently accepting new members?

Yes, the MetaArchive is currently accepting new members and would welcome the opportunity to explore collaborations with prospective libraries, archives, historical societies, research centers, foundations, and other digital memory organizations.

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18. Who do I contact to get started or learn more?

Please contact Sam Meister, MetaArchive Program Manager, at sam@educopia.org.

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