Digital preservation at UAL

The University of the Arts London has recently commissioned a project to safeguard its unique art and design special collections

UAL is a World Top 6 university for art and design according to the QS World University Rankings®, and is the largest institute of art and design in Europe. Made up of six globally established art and design colleges, the university houses more than 120 special collections, including book art, film, fine printing, product design, tailoring, textiles, and ceramics, amongst others.

The new platform is part of UAL’s cutting-edge approach to its digital environment. With significant advances in virtual reality and gaming UAL is aligning its digital systems to meet the demands of a new generation of students.

The UAL Digital Archives & Collections Project is being delivered in collaboration between Library Services, IT Services and collection managers across the university and its six colleges. The aim is to consolidate unique digitised and born-digital material into a single trusted and accessible digital preservation system. The new platform will increase access to UAL’s digital collections for teaching and research, facilitating better collaboration with communities, prospective students and alumni.

The university is investing in digital preservation to keep our digital assets safe and usable over the long term. – Jessica Crilly, Library Services, UAL

The Preservica active digital preservation platform will enable the UAL Archives team to migrate digital files to newer formats over time, ensuring they can be read and used by future generations of lecturers, students, researchers and the public. It will prevent the risk of UAL’s valuable digital collections being lost or corrupted, as media and file formats become obsolete. UAL will initially use Preservica’s cloud-hosted digital preservation platform to future-proof 10TB of digital material.

Jessica Crilly, Associate Director, Content & Discovery, Library Services at UAL, said: “The university is investing in digital preservation to keep our digital assets safe and usable over the long term; digital preservation is an important element of our digital infrastructure, and a foundation from which we will provide increased access to digital collections for teaching, learning and research for the university and the communities that we collaborate with.”

Mike Quinn, Preservica CEO, said: “UAL is home to some incredible and significant archive, museum and special collections, and we are very pleased to have been chosen to help safeguard this digital material for future generations. We look forward to welcoming UAL to our global user community that includes a rapidly growing number of libraries, museums and academic institutions such as MoMA, Yale, the University of Manchester, and nearly 50 other university and college libraries.” 

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