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This is the home of the Automating Quality Assurance project (AQuA), hosted by the Open Planets Foundation. AQuA is a JISC funded collaboration between: University of Leeds, University of York, British Library, and Open Planets Foundation

About AQuA

Manual quality assurance of digitised content is typically fallible and can result in collections that are marred by a variety of quality issues. Poor storage conditions can result in further damage due to bit-rot. Technological obsolescence can lead to additional risks. Detecting, identifying and fixing these issues in legacy digital collections are costly and time consuming manual processes. Identifying problems in a timely manner following digitisation or acquisition supports more effective and cost efficient mitigation.The AQuA Project applied a variety of existing software tools in order to automate quality assurance and assessment. Two AQuA events brought together digital preservation practitioners, collection curators and technical experts to present problematic digital collections, articulate requirements for their validation, and apply tools to automate the detection and identification of preservation and quality issues. Sustainability activities are ongoing, with the possibility of a further event to review progress and take up in the near future.

The AQuA Challenge

Preservation or quality issues can crop up in our digital collections from many sources. They can be introduced:

  • When we create the content via digitisation (eg. missing pages, duplicate pages, poor focus/constrast)
  • When the collection is stored (eg. bit rot)
  • When the collection is processed or moved from store to store (eg. when processes run out of memory or disk space)
  • When technology changes (eg. when our standards and file formats become obsolete)

Many of these issues are identified adequately by manual quality assurance processes enabling risks of loss or damage to be mitigated. Even where this is the case, this manual QA approach can be very labour intensive. Automated checking has the potential to provide us with more thorough validation at a much lower cost.

The AQuA Results

  • Collections, Issues, Contexts and Solutions
    • includes all of the event outputs in a single, easily browsable page
    • look for Collections or preservation Issues similar to yours, then follow links to view AQuA Solutions that you can make use of.
  • AQuA Mashup Tool List
    • indexes all of the existing tools that were applied by the participants as preservation Solutions, as well as some additional tools that show promise for use in a preservation context
  • AQuA results by label** enables browsing of the information above via keyword tags or "labels" (eg. file format, approach, technology)

Event specifc information, including the programmes and related blog posts can be found on the Leeds Mashup and London Mashup pages.

AQuA is complete, new projects and events are in progress

The AQuA project and events are now complete, but this work will live on as part of the Open Planets Foundation and the fledgling community created during the events. We are keen to maintain the momentum developed on the project and encourage much more in the way of grass roots collaboration across the digital preservation community. The DPC and OPF have subsequently run a new event using the AQuA format. The SPRUCE Project is now underway, and is further developing the event style created by AQuA.


Email digital@leeds.ac.uk if you have any AQuA Project queries.

All project outputs are available under open terms (proposed CC-BY-SA and Apache 2.0 respectively), and will be passed onto the Open Planets Foundation for safe keeping. This will almost certainly then go on to influence the SCAPE project, amongst others.

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