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This first SCAPE training course focuses on one of the biggest initial challenges to digital preservation, file format identification. While there has been a lot of work in this area, the ever changing nature of digital formats realistically means the problem will never be "solved". This training course will give you the knowledge and experience to confidently choose a file formation identification and basic characterisation tools. 

Further to introducing the tools this training session will bring forward the expertise of the scape project on integrating tools into your own scalable systems and workflows.

With more businesses and organisations actively deploying preservation services, there is critical need for more knowledge to be shared and services to be developed in order to inform of change. Panels and open discussion sessions will provide a valuable space for voices to discuss the latest preservation services to monitor change.

With regards to file formation identification and characterisation there are a number of recent conference papers and blogs outlining the on going challenge and many of the writers of these resources will be at the event for open face to face discussion.

(becky list the iPres scape papers and blogs on file format issues from me/maurice etc etc)

Who should attend?   

Digital preservation practitioners; digital librarians and archivists, digital curators, repository managers, or anyone with a responsibility to manage digital collections. To get the most out of this training course, attendees should ideally have some experience of command line interfaces and system architecture. 

Developers who actively deploy such systems are also encouraged to attend. 

Learning Outcomes (by the end of the session the attendees will be able to:

  1. Distinguish between different file types and identify the requirements for characterising each of them.
  2. Carry out a number of identification, characterisation, and duplication detection experiments on example files.
  3. Critically evaluate characterisation and identification tools and assess their advantages and disadvantages when used in different scenarios.
  4. Compare and contrast the differences in running characterisation and identification tools both stand-alone and within workflows.
  5. Envisage a system that combines workflows with identification, characterisation and validation tools to suit a variety of scenarios.
  6. Conduct an in-depth analysis of large volumes of identification and characterisation data and find representative sample records suitable for preservation planning experiments.


Thursday 6 December 

Time Session Facilitator Learning outcomes
09.30 - 10.00 Registration    
10.00 - 10.15 Welcome and housekeeping Miguel Ferreira, KEEPS  
10.15 - 11.15 Introduction to file formats 
Understanding the different requirements for identification and characterisation experiments

File format identification and characterisation tools: file, droid, tika, exiftool
What can they do?
File Format Identification, File Format Characterisation,
File Format Validation, File Format Signature Files

Carl Wilson, OPF
Asger Blekinge, SB
Dave Tarrant, OPF
11.15 - 11.30 Coffee    
11.30 - 12.45 Applying file format tools to different scenarios (demonstrations)
How do they compare?
Carl Wilson, OPF 
Asger Blekinge, SB 
Dave Tarrant, OPF
12.45 - 13.45 Lunch    
13.45 - 15.15 Break out groups: practical exercises
Creating file format profiles with an example dataset
Command line processing

Evaluation of the results
Carl Wilson, OPF
Asger Blekinge, SB
Dave Tarrant, OPF

15:15 - 15.30 Coffee
15.30 - 16:30 Wrapping tools for identification and characterisation
FITS (File Information Tool Set) 

Panel session: advantages and disadvantages of wrapping tools
Petar Petrov, TUWIEN

16.30 - 17.00 Wrap up Dave Tarrant, OPF  
17.00 Close    
20.00 Event dinner    

Friday  7 December

Time Session Facilitator Learning outcomes
09.00 - 09.10 Welcome back, overview of agenda for the day Dave Tarrant, OPF  
09.10 - 10.15 Using file format identification tools as part of a workflow
Introduction to Taverna workflows
Demonstration: Web archive content identification over ARC files
using tika in a Taverna workflow
Sven Schlarb, ONB 4
10.15 - 10.30 Coffee    
10.30 - 11.45 Comparing the Taverna workflow with a DROID version of the workflow
Introduction to file format identification using a Hadoop cluster (demonstration)
Understanding the implementation differences
Sven Schlarb, ONB
11.45 - 12.15 Comparison of results Sven Schlarb, ONB
12.15 - 13.15 Lunch    
13.15 - 13.45 Content profiling and planning
Introduction and motivation of large-scale content profiling for preservation analysis
Petar Petrov, TUWIEN
13.45 - 14.15 Practical exercise: analysing an example scenario file set without a content profiler
Discussion of results
Petar Petrov, TUWIEN
14.15 - 14.45 c3po (A content profiling prototype) demonstration of the tool and its capabilities
14.45 - 15.15 Quality control for digital collections: the matchbox tool
Identifying duplicate images in digital collections
Roman Graf, AIT
15.15 - 15.30 Coffee    
15.30 - 16.30 Practical exercise: analysing the scenario file set using c3po
Comparing the results and lessons learned
Petar Petrov, TUWIEN
16.30 - 17.00 Wrap up discussion and event evaluation Dave Tarrant, OPF
17.00 Close    
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  1. Oct 22, 2012

    Dear Becca,

    A few comments:

    - I've removed coffees at the beginning of the day. We won't have catering ready at that time, unfortunately.

    - The coffee break at 11h30 is too close to lunch. Do you think we can break the session "Understanding different file formats" into two in order to have the coffee break in the middle?

    - Are you sure roman will participate in "Understanding different file formats"?

    - Session descriptions should be enhanced. I'm not sure if someone from outside the project will understand descriptions so brief. Remember that people will be paying for the event, so they really want to know what to expect for their money.

    - Please make sure that in the event page the attendees requirements (e.g. laptop, VM, etc.) are well defined

    - Make it clear in the program which sessions are theoretical and which ones are hands on.