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Nestor Catalogue of Criteria for Trusted Digital Repositories

In Germany, nestor — the Network of Expertise in Long-Term Storage of Digital Resources — has undertaken efforts to design a catalogue of criteria for trusted digital repositories for long-term preservation, following a community based approach.

The overall aim is to introduce stable criteria for a wide variety of long-term digital repositories and to maintain the criteria over a long period. For this reason, the 14 catalogue criteria have been formulated at an abstract level. 

Each criterion is enriched by detailed explanations and concrete examples and grouped into sections entitled Organisation Framework, Object Management and Infrastructure and Security. The catalogue was also designed to conform to the OAIS Reference Model.

Although at an abstract level the catalogue corresponds to internationally agreed concepts of trustworthiness, within its explanatory text and examples of good practice it relates to the German context, manifested in terms of judicial constraints, the establishment of public institutions (in financial and human resource terms), national organizational decisions, and the status of development in Germany more generally.

The basic principles for applying the criteria catalogue to determine trustworthiness are:

  • Adequacy: Absolute standards cannot be given. Instead, evaluation is based on the objectives and tasks of the long-term digital repository in question
  • Measurability: In some cases — especially regarding long-term aspects — there are no objectively measurable features. In such cases we must rely on indicators showing the degree of trustworthiness;
  • Documentation: The objectives, specifications and implementation of the digital long-term repository should be documented. This provides opportunities to evaluate the status of development both internally and externally
  • Transparency: Transparency is achieved by publishing appropriate parts of the documentation, allowing users and partners to themselves gauge the degree of trustworthiness. Transparency establishes trust, because it allows interested parties a direct assessment of the quality of the long-term digital repository

The DCC has been an active collaborator throughout the development of the nestor Criteria Catalogue, playing a significant role in both its review and its translation to English from the original German. In addition, the DCC will collaborate with the nestor group during a forthcoming period of pilot audits within German repositories, lending the weight of its experience in that area.

Download the nestor Catalogue of Criteria for Trusted Digital Repositories Version 1 (draft for public comment).