Trustworthy Repositories

A product of more than three years' work, Trusted Repositories Audit & Certification (TRAC) has its roots in a joint task force created to develop criteria enabling the identification of digital repositories capable of reliably storing, migrating, and providing access to digital collections.

Originally sponsored by RLG and the US National Archives and Records Administration, the work grew to incorporate and leverage work from several organizations, laying the groundwork for international collaboration on digital repository audit and certification between the DCC, RLG (now OCLC-RLG Programs), NARA , nestor, and the US Center for Research Libraries.

The end result of the international collaboration is a set of criteria applicable to a range of digital repositories and archives, from academic institutional preservation repositories to large data archives and from national libraries to third-party digital archiving services.

TRAC provides tools for the audit, assessment, and potential certification of digital repositories, establishes the documentation requirements required for audit, delineates a process for certification, and establishes appropriate methodologies for determining the soundness and sustainability of digital repositories.

Trusted Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist incorporates the sum of knowledge and experience, new ideas, techniques, and tools that resulted from cross-fertilization between the U.S. and European efforts.

The publication exemplifies how combining individual institutional investments (in the form of staff time) into a single collaborative effort can produce returns that greatly exceed the costs of development. Collaborative activities like TRAC's development leverage community resources to create important shared tools and resources and demonstrate solid advances in the digital preservation arena.

David Giaretta, Associate Director (Development) of the DCC, has been a key participant in the certification task force since its very inception, and currently leads an international Birds of a Feather group that aims to implement an ISO standard upon which formal audit and certification can subsequently be conducted.

Andrew McHugh joined the group in 2006, following the publication of an initial draft version of the checklist, and has subsequently contributed a great deal to the development of the Digital Repository Audit Method Based on Risk Assessment (DRAMBORA) in association with the European Commission funded DigitalPreservationEurope project.

In general terms, TRAC:

  • Provides tools for the audit, assessment, and potential certification of digital repositories
  • Establishes documentation requirements required for audit
  • Delineates a process for certification
  • Establishes appropriate methodologies for determining the soundness and sustainability of digital repositories

TRAC is now under the management of the US Center for Research Libraries.

Download the Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist.