FAQs: Digital Preservation + CollectiveAccess


What standards-based preservation and descriptive metadata does CollectiveAccess support?
CollectiveAccess's cataloging module, Providence, comes stocked with a wide variety of metadata standards including, but not limited to: Dublin Core, Darwin Core, EBU Core, PBCore, CDWA-Lite/CCO, EAD, DACS, ISAD(G), VRA Core, and Spectrum. Although these "installation profiles" can be used as is, most CollectiveAccess users choose to expand, customize or hybridize their configuration. As a result, a large CollectiveAccess Configuration Library also exists offering installation starting points. These profiles integrate practical metadata elements (addressing workflow and operational description) with additional preservation attributes (drawn from standards such as PREMIS and METS). CollectiveAccess is open source; the configuration base can be browsed via GitHub.


Does CollectiveAccess perform fixity checks?
In CollectiveAccess MD5 checksums are generated for all ingested media files, and for derivative media files as they are created. Checksums are stored in the database and can be compared at any time with freshly calculated checksums from files on disk to verify that all original media and derivatives have not changed since ingestion. Fixity checks can be scheduled for any desired interval and fixity results are sent via email as a text or CSV report. The fixity report can be customized by format and can be tailored to check all media or media of specific versions, sets or kinds. The report provides errors with descriptions and details such as expected and actual MD5s, filepaths and version information. More details about file integrity checks can be found here.


How is media handled in CollectiveAccess? Does the software create access files for preservation media?
CollectiveAccess supports dozens of different file types across the categories of image, audio, video, document, and multimedia. Supported media file formats include: JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG, Camera RAW, Photoshop PSD, JPEG-2000, MP3, AIFF, WAV, AAC, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, QuickTime, WindowsMedia, FLV, AVI, PDF, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, STL, PLY and more. A complete list is available here. Preservation files are retained by CollectiveAccess and access derivatives for these files can be created as a standard set by the user. If desired, descriptive or technical metadata can be embedded into the access files at time of download. All file types mentioned above are supported for playback in browser. CollectiveAccess offers a choice of media players by format so that the playback environment can be tailored to the needs of the user. CollectiveAccess supports the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) and as a result offers a variety of image serving and viewing software options such as UniversalViewer, Mirador, and others. Options for video, audio, VR and 3D include VideoJS, MediaElement and ThreeJS.


Can media be migrated to new formats?
CollectiveAccess can convert between a wide variety of audio, video, image and document formats and these tools can be applied for media migration strategies. Rules can be defined for media migration in a media processing configuration file and reprocessing can be performed at scheduled or user-defined intervals.


Does CollectiveAccess integrate with BagIt?
Yes! BagIt is a standard for storage and transfer of arbitrarily structured digital content. Media stored in CollectiveAccess can be deposited as bags including exported metadata to local storage or, if desired, in external repositories. CollectiveAccess supports the generation of BagIt files for any record, set of records or record hierarchy. "Bags" contain media and user-defined record metadata. BagIt output may be created automatically on creation or change to a CollectiveAccess record, or manually during an export of selected records.


Does CollectiveAccess capture system logs?
CollectiveAccess logs record creation and modification by user with a timestamp and details documenting edits and additions made to each record. Global logs track logins by user (successful logins and failed attempts). Other logs track record deletion, searches and downloads by user. System logs are immutable.


Is virus checking included?
Integration with ClamAV (https://www.clamav.net), open source virus and malware scanning software, is in development and will be included in the next CollectiveAccess release. ClamAV is a popular and well-supported server-side antivirus solution available for a range of platforms, including Mac OS X, Linux and Windows. CollectiveAccess filters all uploads through ClamAV and rejects failing files with threat descriptions.


Does CollectiveAccess scale?
CollectiveAccess was built to accommodate collections at arbitrarily large sizes and has been successfully deployed for collections containing well over 300,000 files and/or records. Speed and performance is entirely dependent on the adequate provisioning of server infrastructure and the quality of available networks. It is crucial that the chosen server is configured with adequate CPU, memory and storage. Details about server requirements can be found here.