All PhD dissertations and masters theses (“graduate works”) are archived on 2 copies of microform, each stored in separate climate and humidity controlled vaults which are world class and the industry standard, meeting all Library of Congress qualifications. The microform created follows the ANSI/AIIM specifications that ProQuest helped to set as an industry standard. Even “born digital” graduate works are archived on microfilm. All page-based material (e.g. material that can be printed out as either 8.5 X 11 or A4) is captured using the state of the art Electron Beam camera, which converts born digital graduate works into microform. (For additional information about submitting paper and digital graduate works, please refer to: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/submittinggrad.shtml)
In addition to microfilm, digital back up is done as well. Page-based dissertations and theses are stored as TIFFs and PDF in the online electronic vaults. Titles received in paper are manufactured to 600 DPI format for storage. The data storage arrays are highly reliable, enterprise class systems. Internal data integrity checks and hard drive validation is conducted independent of the application and operating system(s). The underlying storage is protected using RAID-5 or Mirroring, protecting against individual disk failures.
In addition to storing the dissertation content on 2 physically separate, highly available disk arrays, dissertations are backed up daily. Copies of the tapes are stored offsite at Iron Mountain for an extra layer of protection.
The dissertations application logs any retrieval failures and those failures are investigated and corrected on a regular basis. The vast majority of errors are logical errors (application errors or configuration problems) rather than media errors (data integrity errors on disk). In either case, they are corrected on a regular basis as they are discovered.
Expanding upon a relationship begun decades earlier, in 1999 ProQuest and the Library of Congress entered into a landmark agreement whereby the ProQuest Digital Dissertations Database was designated as an official off-site repository of the Library of Congress. The agreement marks the first time that the Library has designated an official off-site repository for digital collections deposited with the Library of Congress. All dissertations and theses submitted to ProQuest Dissertation Publishing will enter the national collection. The agreement calls for ProQuest to turn over its files to the Library should ProQuest cease providing access to the collection. (Additional information is available here: http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/1999/99-007.html)
ProQuest is committed to following best practices related to preservation, and has taken an active role in the area of digital preservation. In December 2005, a group was convened to advise ProQuest on strategies for moving toward digital preservation best practices. The group consisted of:
The group made a number of recommendations including:
As it has been for the past several years ProQuest is committed to moving forward with a number of projects in these recommended areas.
Part of that commitment is communicating ProQuest’s progress as a steward of digital preservation. To that end, in 2008 ProQuest participated in a study with the National Science Foundation under its Strategic Technologies for Cyberinfrastructure Program conducted by the Center for Research Libraries. This study consisted of a two-year project to analyze established, "long-lived" collections of data and digital resources, and create tools and metrics for developing and assessing new repositories. Through this project CRL thoroughly analyzed and scrutinized the preservation methods of ProQuest Dissertation Publishing. The final results lauded ProQuest innovative strategies to ensure the longevity of the dissertations database. The study also put forward several recommendations to assist with ensuring the continued availability of the collection, which ProQuest is investigating. Click here to access the full study.
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