The Library of Congress, through the National Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP), has awarded Artstor a grant as part of its new Preserving Creative America initiative to address the long-term preservation of creative content in digital form.

The award will allow Artstor to conduct research with several individual photographers and organizations to determine what technical and preservation metadata should be captured and embedded in their files to help make their born digital images “archive-ready.” Artstor will also create a tool to help photographers embed technical and preservation data in their files. Data will extend beyond the camera data already captured by many digital cameras, but also include information on the authenticity of the file—what state or version the file represents, the original filename, whether any adjustments were done to the file in Photoshop or other applications (for example, tonal or color enhancements were performed, or particular content was cropped out of the image). The tool would allow for exporting this data embedded in the file into a database, whether a simple Excel spreadsheet, FilemakerPro database, Extensis Portfolio, or a digital asset management system.

To help determine data requirements and to test the tool, Artstor is partnering with: Northwestern University, a partner in developing the Mellon International Dunhuang Archive; The Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation, which is creating high resolution digital photographs of a substantial body of the Albers works; Rob Wilkinson from Art on File, an architectural photographer who documents contemporary architecture in the United States; and Artesia, a digital asset management system used by a range of non-profits and companies. The eventual minimal dataset will be mapped to the NISO Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images Standard (ANSI/NISO Z39.87 – 2006).

The project will begin with requirements gathering for the recommended minimal technical and preservation data that should be embedded in a digital still image file. The second phase will involve creating and testing an editing tool. The project should be completed in September 2009.

For more information please see the Library of Congress NDIIP website.