The Concoct of Digital Preservation in Open Access: A Case of the University of Botswana Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Archive

The Concoct of Digital Preservation in Open Access: A Case of the University of Botswana Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Archive

Thatayaone Segaetsho (University of Botswana, Botswana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5018-2.ch007
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Research pursuit in Open Access (OA) has become a center of interest in academic institutions. Academic institutions and publishers have been energetically working hard towards achieving strategic and sustained partnerships in providing OA to information resources. While the work of strengthening these endeavours is ongoing, very little have been done on the logistics for digital preservation of OA resources in Institutional Repositories. This chapter explores digital preservation processes in OA using the University of Botswana Research, Innovation, and Scholarship Archive (UBRISA) as a case study. The chapter establishes the implementation activities, the outcomes, and challenges experienced by UBRISA. The findings reveal that the UBRISA commits to strategically capturing and preserving the intellectual output, raw data, and historic values of the institution for posterity. The UBRISA is challenged by limited budgets, logistical challenges, and limited expertise. This chapter recommends that partnerships and advocacy for legislative structures that support OA are critical.
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Introduction And Background

The transition from the first to the fourth Industrial Revolution has resulted in enormous technical changes. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is key in the fourth Industrial Revolution. In education, academic institutions have also transformed from the traditional teaching, learning and research methods into virtual digital teaching platforms. The proliferation of web-based platforms such as Social Media (Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter etc.), Podcast, Blogging, and YouTube have changed the teaching and learning landscape in academic institutions. In order to be relevant, information resource institutions have also transformed ways of providing collections' custody, access and preservation of information resources. Given the escalating prices of publishers’ information resources, Open Access (OA) has thus gained popularity. OA is one of the critical knowledge and universal access to information resources in heritage institutions. The innovation and movement for OA is critical in opening up of scholarly resources, particularly research literature, to worldwide researchers and public communities free of charge. While the work of strengthening OA endeavours is ongoing, very little has been done on the preparations required for digital preservation of OA resources such as in Institutional Repositories (IR). The proliferation of OA in academic institutions has thus increased the dire need for digital preservation for a continued access. Digital preservation remains an important part in sharing the research activities, raw data, and historical setups of different academic institutions. Digital preservation is defined as the application of various planning techniques, financing, policies, resource allocation, and application of technology to protect digital information resources for access in short, medium or long term (Beagrie & Jones, 2008; American Library Association, 2018). Digital preservation is the protection of digital information resources and their equipment for their enduring value (Das, Sharma & Gurey 2009). The use of technology to develop collections' custody, creation of metadata, and protect both content and the storage equipment for a continued access becomes critical in digital preservation. The active activities in digital preservation include providing quality learning space, metadata, virtual conferences, addressing legal issues, storage maintenance, raising awareness, building capacity on information, communication, and continuous backup updating (Masenya & Ngulube, 2019). The processes involved in digital preservation include both digitised materials and born-digital collections.

The increasing dependence on internet or web-based search engines have put museums, libraries and archives under pressure of converting analogue print information into digital based resources. Therefore, digitisation has also become critical in museums, libraries and archives. Digitisation processes involve the conversion of analogue collections into electronic formats for improved access. The activities in digitisation firstly require organisations to fully understand implications associated with funding resources, suppliers, selection process, digital imaging, surrogates and the context of collection management. Researchers concertedly agree that the processes in digitisation involve four key stages of: (1) selection of materials (proposal, evaluation, resources enhancement, copyrights condition assessment, etc.); (2) digital image capturing (quality assurance, transcription, metadata, and file management); (3) creation of database (delivery, hosting, marketing and user evaluation) and; (4) long term sustainability (Rieger, 2008; Public Records Office Victoria, 2010; Bülow & Ahmon, 2011). The stages of digitisation are critical in meeting the objectives of both preserving collections and increasing access to it. However, Bülow and Ahmon (2011, p.7) caution that, despite the increase in demand for digital world, “in the future the growing emphasis on the virtual rather than the materials may result in a loss of appreciation of the materials itself, or conversely the opposite may happen- as experiences become predominantly virtual there may be growing reverence for the material world.”

Key Terms in this Chapter

Preservation: All managerial activities of minimising deterioration and providing protection to valuable information resources through application of different strategies such as storage management, housekeeping, care and handing, environmental considerations, pest management, security, and disaster preparedness.

Digital Archive: Is a 'bank' or storage of valuable electronic information resources that serve as evidence of the past, sources of information for research, and are therefore preserved for posterity.

Open Access: The principle of disseminating information resources, at no cost, through the use of different information platforms. It is the principle of increasing knowledge development to everyone, through published information and raw-data without restrictions from copyrights, patents, legislations, or other mechanisms of control.

Digital Curation: Professional principle of providing collection development, management, preservation, archiving digital asserts, and providing access to electronic information resources. It is generally the process of strategically establishing and developing electronic repositories and adding value for long term access.

Digital Preservation: Planning, decision making, and allocation of resources to protect information resources for as long as they are needed. It is the application of strategic management skills, and the use of scientific techniques such as metadata capturing, emulation, reformatting, and digitisation in order to maintain the integrity of digital collections for posterity. Digital preservation emphasises on the principle of providing long term protection and access to digital information resources.

Institutional Repository: An electronic library system of digital information resources showcasing the intellectual output of academic institutions with the ultimate goals of capturing electronic resources, showcasing their research output, impact, allow open access, and dissemination of knowledge information to the community.

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