Crowd sourced Representation Information for Supporting Preservation (cRIsp)

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cRIsp: A new initiative to encourage collaboration in collecting representation information to support long term digital preservation 

cRIsp is now live! Get involved by following the simple instructions below. Check out this blog post on our launch of cRIsp in an impassioned presentation at iPRES2012.
Click here to see what's been contributed so far... (there are two worksheets, check them both!)

What is the problem?

Representation information (RI) is essential for successful rendering and understanding of digital content, now and in the future. Good RI is a fundamental requirement for effective digital preservation and curation. Manual collection and maintenance of RI has so far proven to be highly resource intensive and this is compounded by the massive scale of the challenge. Existing RI repositories are typically sparsely populated.

What is cRIsp?

cRIsp is aiming to combat these challenges by drawing upon the wisdom and knowledge of the crowd to identify online sources of RI, and then collect, classify, and preserve them. We've aimed to set the barrier for participation as low as possible. Anyone can easily contribute URLs via a really simple web form, or by tweeting and including @dpref. The collated results will then be passed to participating web archives who can crawl the sites and preserve them for posterity.

See the FAQ for more details.

I want to contribute, what do I do?

We'd like you to contribute URL's for any web sites that provide information that could help to render or make sense of digital data. That might include:

  • Information about file formats, data structures or relevant standards
  • Information about tools that render or interpret digital objects

You can contribute via one of these simple methods:

Use the simple web form to contribute a URL.

Simply paste your URL into the form, optionally add some tags and then click on "Submit".

Contribute via Twitter by including @dpref and your URL in a tweet. Include #hashtags to categorize as appropriate.

Its as simple as that!

Drag this bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar to make submitting URLs a breeze:


With the bookmarklet on your browser bookmarks bar, all you have to do is navigate to the web page you want to contribute to SPRUCE, and then click on the bookmarklet. You'll be automatically taken to the SPRUCE form (as above) with the URL of the web page already filled on the form.

What next?

The resulting collection of RI will hopefully be a useful resource in its own right, but will represent only the first step on the road to powerful RI and file format registries. cRIsp is all about finding the RI and making it safe. The results of cRIsp can then feed into other initiatives such as the LoC's Sustainability of Digital Formats site, Just Solve the Format Problem and the UDFR. In this way, we hope that cRIsp will be quite complimentary to these other approaches.

About cRIsp

This is a collaborative initiative between the digital preservation and web archiving teams at the British Library, alongside the JISC funded SPRUCE Project. However, this initiative is taking place in "neutral" online locations and is not strongly branded (other than acknowledging funding sources). Our key aim is to foster greater collaboration and communication and we feel that this is best labelled as a community owned effort.

Originally we had hoped to make use of a social bookmarking site, but were unable to find one that had a low barrier to entry for users, while allowing sufficient flexibility in the export of results. The code related to cRIsp can be found here.

Interested in other community driven initiatives? Support your digital preservation community!

Original image from We added RI.

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