C.I.N.E.S. Centre Informatique National de l’Enseignement Supérieur

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A PREFORMA workshop held in the premises of the National Library of Stockholm (Kungliga Biblioteket) on Thursday 7th April 2016. The registration was free but limited in number of places and opened to national institutions, national libraries, research institutions and the whole community concerned by the long-term preservation issue. The CINES was among a hundred of attendants.

The aim of this one day session was to motivate the communities to follow the move towards digital archiving. Then, they could contribute in different ways to the evolvement of free software. PREFORMA is a European project whose goal is to support long-term preservation through conformance checking.  Therefore some tools have been chosen during the selection phase to validate PDF/A, Matroska, FFV1, LPCM and TIFF. These tools are respectively: veraPDF, MEDIACONCH and DPF MANAGER. This PCP project is co-funded by the European Commission, under its FP7-ICT program, and will run till December 2017.

In the morning, they presented the project to the attendant, then the advantages of free software and the relevance of freeware licenses. From these two last topics, which are highly related, it is said that free software offers four liberties. Someone can:

  • Use it for any purpose
  • Study how the program works and understand it
  • Share copied of the software
  • Improve the program and distribute the changes

Regarding law, it was said that, it is very important to understand the texts of the licenses before any use, reuse, exploitation or mixture of programs. The speaker, who is a lawyer, also insisted on the fact that it was useful to consider the type of the “copyleft ” license (wether strong, weak, non-copyleft) before using it or derived programs.

The afternoon was devoted to the presentation of the tools which are part of the project, before the demonstrations. The speakers seized the opportunity to announce the future improvements of their tools, and also encouraged the participants to contribute in various ways to this project. Even though the checkers are really efficient, they have been tested on hundreds of files which were created for the purpose, when almost a thousand is needed.

The CINES as archiving service could be helpful for the tests and the remarks tied to it. Discussions with the developers in charge of the PREFORMA tools strengthen the relationships for future collaborations. The involvement of the only French institution part of this event was well received by the promoters of the project. It was another way for the CINES to reinforce and share its expertise in digital files and conformance checking.