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Digital preservation

At Gloucestershire Archives we preserve 'born digital' records - that is, information created electronically where there is no paper or physical version - as well as traditional paper and parchment documents. Much in the same way that we place an 800-year-old manuscript in an acid-free container in a temperature controlled strong room to preserve it, we store digital information in a secure digital archive.

We use our SCAT (Scat is Curation And Trust) tool to 'package' digital deposits as 'GAip' files. GAip (Gloucestershire Archives Ingest Package) files are then stored in our dedicated digital archive along with their own unique 'fixity file', which is a snapshot of the contents of the package and a way to verify that the contents have not changed during the storage period.

SCAT allows us to package any form of digital deposit (images, text, spreadsheet, sound or movie files) and store it in a compressed file format. We can add metadata and other archival information related to the content. When a researcher requests to see information stored in the digital archive, SCAT allows for the GAip package to be 'inflated' to its original form to make an access (or 'dissemination') copy.

We are continually adding to the digital archive as more born digital material is offered to us.


Gloucestershire Archives is engaged in developing demonstration tools and workflows for digital curation in order to provide

  1. Hands-on learning opportunities for archivists and others involved in digital curation, and
  2. A platform for advocacy in support of digital curation practices


As part of the preservation process we make a copy of the original material. We cannot do this if your files contain anti-piracy or copy protection. Please remove copy protection prior to donating/depositing digital records with the archive.



SCAT - "Scat is Curation And Trust"

SCAT is a digital curation workbench tool for archivists in local government archive services which enables learning by "doing".

More information is available from "Digital curation presentations and papers".

SCAT is being developed using perl in a Linux (Fedora 10 onwards and Xubuntu) environment.  It wraps several digital curation applications in a single graphical user interface.  SCAT includes the GAip application which is therefore no longer maintained as a standalone application.

SCAT is also being made available as an Oracle VirtualBox appliance.  This makes SCAT portable since by using VirtualBox it can be easily installed in a MicrosoftXP desktop environment.

The software is freely available (go to "Software").  It is hoped that others can experiment with SCAT and more effectively join in digital curation developments. 

Feedback is welcomed.


GAip: Gloucestershire Archives' open digital curator

GAip is a proof of concept demonstration system written in perl.  It provides archivists and others with the means to

  1. ingest a digital object and create the associated Archival Information Package (AIP),
  2. compile metadata for the digital object which is included in the AIP, and 
  3. create Dissemination Information Packages from AIPs in order to provide access to the ingested digital object.

GAip operates by way of a graphical user interface.

GAip is now a component of SCAT. 



Library of Congress, BagIt:

The National Archives: DROID

Phil Harvey, ExifTool:

Harvard University, FITS:

JSTOR-Harvard University, JHove:

New Zealand National Library metadata extractor:

Gloucestershire Archives, SCAT: Please Contact us for latest details

JISC, sword: SWORD v3 – SWORD (

National Archives of Australia, Xena:

Digital Preservation: Library of Congress digital preservationOpens new window

DigitalPreservationEurope: Digital preservation in EuropeOpens new window

Digital Curation Centre: Digital Curation CentreOpens new window

Digital Preservation Coalition: Digital Preservation CoalitionOpens new window

JISC repositories and preservation programme: JISC digital preservation repositories and preservation

Metadata Encoding & Transmission Standard: METS - Metadata Encoding and Transmission StandardOpens new window

OAIS material: OAIS - Open Archival Information SystemOpens new window

PREMIS maintenance activity: PREMIS - Preservation Metadata