Long term preservation with Archivematica

12 June 2017 - 14:02

IISH has chosen the digital preservation system Archivematica to improve the ingest and long-term preservation of its digital collections. 

After a careful appraisal of various systems we started at the end of March 2017 with the implementation of Archivematica. We expect to have a beta version for born-digital archives at the end of June, after which the digitized collections and research data will follow.

The IISH already had a workflow for digital collections, but it was mainly based on a number of homemade scripts. This proved to be increasingly difficult to maintain, especially considering the huge influx of digital material and the growing urgency to process born digital archives.

In 2016 a project was started to appraise a number of existing systems. Eventually, test versions of Archivematica and Preservica were installed and thoroughly tested. Although Preservica is an excellent system, Archivematica was, financially and organizationally, a better match.

Archivematica uses a number of micro services that can be configured and turned on/off for a specific workflow. There are, for example, micro services for virus scanning, checking the integrity of files, and creating access copies of files. The digital collections can be passed through a pipe to store the material in the digital repository. The system registers all properties and eventual adaptations of the files to also guarantee the preservation in the long term.

The Archivematica workflow largely follows the steps of the OAIS model. This model is an influential and important starting point for sustainable digital archiving. Through the use of Archivematica, the IISH follows a so-called OAIS-compliant workflow, and will come closer to the status of a Trusted Digital Repository (TDR).

The implementation of Archivematica takes place in collaboration with the Canadian company Artefactual. Artefactual will do development work to configure Archivematica to IISH wishes and to connect it to the existing IISH infrastructure (Persistent Identifier Service, Acquisition Database, Metadata Systems and Storage System). The expectation is that at the end of June, a beta version is in use for the workflow of born digitall archives. After the summer, the system will go into production and it will be followed by a workflow for digitized collections. At the same time, we start investigating the processing of email collections, social media and websites. Finally, the research data stored at the IISH will also be processed via Archivematica.


  1. In this context dissemination does not mean offline or online access. Access itself is provided using other software. Archivematica ensures that files and metadata are provided in such a way that they can be processed by the access software.
  2. See website: http://www.datasealofapproval.org
  3. In this context authenticity means whether the essential characteristics of the digital object are preserved – even after being migrated to another, more durable format. One question concerns whether the metadata adequately capture the context (provenance) of the creation and transformation of the digital object.
  4. In this context the integrity of the digital object is taken to mean that the integrity of objects should be ensured at bit level
IISH Collections | Digital | ArchiveMatica - Photo by ArchiveMatica