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State and University Library of Denmark collaborates with Preservica to safeguard history of Danish cultural heritage

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Danish library team engages digital preservation specialists as part of nationwide initiative to preserve Petabytes of culturally important records

Assets representing the story of the Emperor of Russia, Alexander III, and his wife, Princess Dagmar of Denmark

The State and University Library, Denmark, has embarked on a new venture with Digital Preservation specialist, Preservica, to safeguard its unique Audio Visual (AV) collections of national and local broadcast TV and radio programmes, as well as digitised collections of music, speech, commercials and newspapers, which date back to as early as 1666.

The collaboration will see the library’s extensive digital collections managed through the Preservica system, using active preservation technology to ensure that both born-digital and digitised content is safe, future-proofed and accessible to researchers and the public.

The end goal is for the library team to have access to all its digital collections in one place, supported by intelligent workflows, which will enable them to automate the preservation and access of records efficiently and easily. This will also allow unique items from different collections to be quickly compiled and accessed via one digital archive rather than spread across several. For example, the collections include digital assets representing the story of the Emperor of Russia, Alexander III, and his wife, Princess Dagmar of Denmark. One of these assets is a television broadcast of the re-burial of the Empress, who was originally interred in Denmark but wished to be interred next to her husband in Russia. Exactly ten years ago in September 2006, a series of new ceremonies were performed in St. Petersburg and shown in Danish television.

Further information on the Empress is also available through different collections in the library’s 24,000,000 online pages of newspapers, which will also be easily accessed and compiled via the new system. A curiosity in connection with the famous couple is a sound recording made in Denmark on a wax cylinder, probably recorded between 1889 and 1893. A man sings a Russian soldier’s song, and afterwards a woman replies “I am so pleased to hear my husband’s voice” in Danish. This could be – although there is no way to confirm this – the Emperor of Russia and his wife who are known to have visited Denmark in the same years where several sound recordings were made at the castle. Listen to the recording here: http://www.statsbiblioteket.dk/nationalbibliotek/adgang-til-samlingerne/musik-og-lyd/rubensamlingen-lydoptagelser/resolveuid/39e2028cdeaa4a5eae3dde649015a8b9

“The task of looking after all these different collections and media grows every single day, and becomes increasingly complex as old media becomes more fragile and new types of media are developed,” said Tonny S. Jensen, Director of the National Library Division at the State and University Library, Denmark. “A key objective of the project is to be able to manage and properly preserve all our digital content in one system and then overtime make these culturally important collections more easily accessible to the public.”

“Preservica was selected after achieving the highest score against a public tender and detailed evaluation process”, added Mr Jensen. “In particular, Preservica scored highly on its ability to manage many different types of digital content in a flexible way. Its active preservation technology will enable us to ensure that the files we are preserving today can be migrated to formats that can be used and read by the applications and technologies of the future.”

Preservica CEO, Jon Tilbury, said: “This is a project of phenomenal national importance and we are delighted to support the State and University Library team in preserving such a key part of the country’s heritage. The team really understands the importance of digital preservation, and we look forward to working with them to ensure these records are accessible and useable by future generations.”

The State and University Library of Denmark is using the Enterprise Edition of Preservica, and will start by ingesting the multi-petabyte national radio and TV collection over the next six months, followed by the rest of its collections over the next few years.

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