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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 (QA) 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.  Detecting, identifying and fixing these issues in legacy digitised collections are costly and time consuming manual processes.  The Automating Quality Assurance Project (AQuA) will apply a variety of existing tools in order to automatically validate digital collections.  Two AQuA events will bring together digital preservation practitioners, collection curators and technical experts to present problematic digitised collections, articulate requirements for their validation, and apply tools to automate the detection and identification of preservation and quality issues.  Strong sustainability, take up and dissemination of project results will be ensured by facilitating cross pollination in events that bring together experts from a cross section of organisations and disciplines, and leveraging OPF’s existing role and expertise in preservation technology support.

The 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. There are some specific examples of the kind of potential issues and potential solutions we would like to explore in AQuA here: What do we want to validate in our digital collections?

The Results

The outputs of this work will be captured in two forms:

  • Use Cases
    Concise, clear and specific descriptions of the content quality issues we have discussed.
  • Prototypes
    Scripts and/or software generated during the events that address some of these quality issues.

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

AQuA Mashup Events: We need your participation

The AQuA Mashups will provide the perfect environment for cross sector collaboration in digital preservation. AQuA events are completely free, with free accommodation and subsistence. There will be challenges and prizes for the best tool/problem mashups and evening social events to get everyone talking. See the London Mashup wiki page for more information on the event programme.

Coders and Technical Experts
Do you have technical expertise and problem solving skills that you would like to apply in an exciting collaborative environment? Would you like the opportunity to apply your skills alongside digital preservation experts and gain hands on experience of preserving digital collections? We need your skills at our AQuA Mashup events! Working closely with digital curators who will bring along their digital collections, you will script up and apply existing software tools to validate the digital objects, identify quality issues and where necessary repair damage to collection items.

Digital Preservation Practitioners and Collection Curators
Do you have a problem with your digital files? Are you worried that unknown quality issues may be lurking in your content? We need you to come along to our AQuA Mashups with a sample of your collections on a memory stick or external hard drive. We'll match you up on the day with technical experts who can validate your content and confirm your bits are in perfect working order.

The registration form for these events is now available at http://aquamashup.eventbrite.com/

Download the flyer for the event so that you can spread the news AQuA events flyer

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

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