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Digital Preservation

Digital Preservation – the process of keeping electronic material accessible and usable for longer periods of time – has turned into one of the most pressing challenges not only for the cultural heritage community but affecting virtually all areas of industry from large scale cooperations to SMEs . Keeping digital material accessible over long time periods (where “long” may be anything between a few years and several decades) is a highly complex and diverse matter. This is partially due to rapid changes and ongoing developments in file formats, protocols and software architectures. At the same time, hardware and information technology infrastructure are subject to constant changes, making the task even more difficult.

Digital Preservation research performed at SBA aims at creating conditions under which our partners are enabled to keep their digital content accessible in the future. This means developing solutions and providing education, hiding the complexity of digital preservation solutions based on established best practice examples and providing simple and fully automated preservation services. It also requires research on the specific aspects of document and process security pertaining to long-term digital preservation. For example, digital preservation of sensitive documents such as health records pose a major problem for “typical” researchers in digital preservation because archival standards such as PDF-A explicitly prohibit ERDM mechanisms or other privacy-preserving techniques since they make it harder to guarantee accessibility in the long term. Furthermore, audit services allow institutions to validate the trusted status of their repositories.

Research in Digital Preservation tackles these challenges by addressing the whole life cycle of digital objects as well as their surrounding organizational and technical environment.

The research in this field is driven in strong cooperations with colleagues from Vienna University of Technology, who join the team at SBA for this work. Detailed information on joint activities can be found here.

Contact Person: Ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Andreas Rauber




The Alliance Permanent Access to the Records of Science in Europe Network (APARSEN) project was launched in January 2011 and aims to create a Virtual Centre of Excellence for digital preservation in Europe. More information: APARSEN at SBA.





The Digital Preservation for Timeless Business Processes and Services (TIMBUS) project extends traditional digital preservation approaches by introducing the need to analyse and preserve services, and by aligning preservation actions with business continuity management. More information: TIMBUS at SBA.



4C logo


The Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation brings together 13 agencies in 7 different countries so that organizations can approach their investment in data curation and preservation with greater certainty and with greater clarity about what they’ll get back in return. More information: 4C at SBA and project’s webpage.



Ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Andreas Rauber

Johannes Binder

Hannes Kulovits

Konstantin Hobel

Rudolf Mayer

Tomasz Miksa

Stefan Pröll

Stephan Strodl

Marco Unterberger

Elisabeth Weigl

Former team members:

Mark Guttenbrunner