Technical Registries are used
to maintain definitions of the formats, format properties, software, migration pathways etc. needed to preserve content over the long term. We describe a new approach using linked data technology, which makes it easy for
organisations to pull content from multiple, trusted sources, update it, and extend the data model.
have been a number of initiatives to produce technical registries such as
PRONOM, UDFR and the Planets Core Registry. However, they have been subject
to two main criticisms: (1) the data models are fixed and difficult to
extend, and (2) the governance of the information is not ideal. Typically,
maintenance of registry information has been restricted to the host
organisation, which may have restrictions on the investment it can make. Therefore,
while other organisations have been free to use the registry they have been
unable to add to or edit the information within it. Although the hosts have
been receptive to requests for additions and change, this has still led to
issues with timing or when organisations disagree about format definitions
or use or interpret things in different ways.
This talk will describe a new
approach developed by
ENSURE, the Linked Data
Registry (LDR), which is designed to solve these
problems. LDR uses linked
data technology, which allows the data model to be extended easily and flexibly, thus solving the first problem. Any organisation hosting an LDR instance is free to add and
edit content and to extend
the model. Additionally, if it publishes (a subset of) its content
on the internet, then any other organisation
can choose to retrieve some or all of
the published information to add to its
own LDR instance. This means a peer-to-peer network is established where each registry instance in the network chooses which other registry instances to trust for which
content. This gives control to each individual organisation,
since they are not dependent on any single source, but can choose to take
different content from appropriate authoritative sources.
There are a number of
innovative elements in this paper:
describes what is believed to be the first linked
data technical registry
that can be deployed widely, thereby allowing the creation of a network of information maintained by a diverse, collaborating community.
establishes a synchronisation
and governance model for this
network. This works on a peer-to-peer basis, which will be compared to and contrasted
with other models.
Some interesting design
compromises will be discussed: in particular the need to balance the ability to expand the
data model easily against the need to make
the data model’s entities easily viewable and editable by non-technical users.
This network of registries is being rolled in April, starting with Tessella’s SDB/Preservica customer
base. We anticipate
being able to report on
our initial practical experience of operating this network.