Digital long-term preservation at FSD

FSD is an expert in digital long-term preservation and ensures the safety and usability of research data permanently. FSD also makes sure that the materials remain usable and comprehensible over time, preserving their evidentiary value for future generations of researchers.

On the Archiving Services page, we provide detailed information about the data deposit, curation, and preservation services offered by FSD. In implementing actual digital long-term preservation, we build on our own domain and preservation expertise, Tampere University IT services infrastructure, and the National Digital Preservation Service (DPS) provided by CSC.

FSD has been involved in planning the aforementioned national long-term digital preservation solution from the beginning (in 2007). The specific features required for preserving research data and FSD’s own unique needs were therefore considered during the planning process. The DPS, produced for cultural heritage resources, ensures the preservation of essential national information resources held in libraries, archives, and museums. Similarly, the DPS tailored for research data guarantees the availability and preservation of digital research resources.

Out of the two parallel and technically almost identical preservation service lines, FSD utilises the service designed for cultural heritage resources. As an organisation, we function very much like an archive, assuming responsibility for the permanence and curation of data and contextual materials with approved preservation decisions. The DPS serves as a high-quality bit level storage solution, and the stored items are self-explanatory.

The utilisation of DPS is governed by a contract between FSD and the Ministry of Education and Culture. CSC carries out the service. Preservation activities are guided by controlled workflows, metadata and file format specifications, schema catalogues, and the Enterprise Architecture of the National Digital Preservation Services.

DPS workflow at FSD

In practice, FSD’s digital preservation extends down to the individual file level, guided by well-considered decisions. If there are changes in metadata, file formats, or technical aspects of the data, or if the needs of the designated community evolve, FSD assesses and takes necessary actions to ensure long-term digital preservation.

FSD employs an automated workflow for digital preservation, integrated into the normal data curation process. All data files and metadata required for opening, processing, and understanding a dataset are automatically packaged into DPS submission information packages. The information package must conform to the national METS profile, and the digital objects to the DPS file format specification. These packages are transferred to the Digital Preservation Service. The service verifies the authenticity of files and adherence to specifications before accepting and storing them as archival information packages. If changes occur in data or metadata, FSD updates the package. In an unlikely catastrophic scenario where FSD loses all copies of its holdings, the files would still be accessible through the DPS service as dissemination information packages.

The DPS maintains multiple geographically separated copies of data on different storage media, disconnected from the internet to prevent malicious cyber-attacks. Additionally, the DPS actively monitors information integrity, assesses risks, and assists with file format migration.

Service agreement on digital preservation

FSD’s Cultural Heritage DPS service agreement with CSC clarifies the tasks, responsibilities, and cooperation between the partners.

In brief, it includes the following topics.

1 Parties of the service agreement (FSD and CSC)
2 Definitions and terminology
3 Purpose of the service agreement
The DPS is a long-term preservation solution provided by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Its purpose is to safeguard digital cultural heritage (or research data) materials for future generations. By using the service, organisations can fulfil their statutory or similar digital preservation obligations. The DPS ensures that transferred materials remain accessible in a usable form, even as file formats and technologies evolve.
4 Object of the service agreement
The named organisation is granted an access to use the Cultural Heritage DPS service.
5 Contact persons
Designated contact persons from both parties.
6 Purpose of use and capacity reserved for the organisation
Defines the specific purpose for which the organisation will use the DPS, as agreed upon with the Ministry. Additionally, it outlines the storage capacity (in terabytes) reserved for the preserved material. Capacity refers to the total size of approved transfer packages. Materials accepted for preservation must adhere to DPS specifications. If any materials contain confidential or personal data, the utilising organisation must notify accordingly. Security requirements for handling such materials are detailed in the security annex. The agreement also specifies the maximum person-months (2) allocated per year by CSC for the organisation utilising the service.
7 Costs
The services outlined in the service agreement are provided free of charge to the utilising organisation. Costs related to maintaining and developing the DPS technical environment, as well as supporting organisations, are covered by funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture, provided that the parliament grants the necessary funding. Otherwise, both parties are responsible for their own costs.
8 Intangible rights and data protection principles
The utilising organisation bears the responsibility of ensuring that it has the appropriate rights to process the material deposited with the DPS according to the agreement. The organisation grants CSC the necessary rights to process the material to the extent necessary to produce the digital preservation service. The service agreement does not affect any existing rights under copyright law or other agreements. If the materials contain personal data, the utilising organisation acts as the data controller, while CSC serves as a personal data processor. Both parties are obligated to operate within legal frameworks and adhere to intellectual property rights.
9 Validity of the service agreement
This service agreement is effective after both parties have signed it and is valid until further notice.
10 Changes to the Service Agreement
Both parties may propose changes to the service agreement. Proposed changes are discussed and decided by the management group defined in the agreement between CSC and the Ministry. Any modifications to the DPS service agreement, data processing agreement, CSC’s general terms and conditions, or security addendum require a duly signed document from both parties.
11 Termination of service agreement
Termination of the service agreement must be done in writing. Prior to termination, both parties are obligated to negotiate with the Ministry of Education and Culture. Either party has the right to terminate the service contract with twelve months' notice.
12 Termination of service agreement due to breach or financial difficulty
If a party breaches its obligations under the service agreement and does not fulfil its obligation within thirty days, the aggrieved party has the right to terminate this service agreement. If the other party loses its ability to freely manage its business due to financial difficulties, the other party has the right to terminate the agreement.
13 Obligation to provide assistance when the agreement is terminated
CSC commits to assisting the utilising organisation in transferring materials to a third party or to the organisation itself. The obligation to provide assistance extends for a maximum of 6 months following the termination of the agreement.
14 Transferring the service agreement
The parties may transfer the service agreement to a third party only with the written consent of the other party. If tasks related to the agreement are transferred to another organisation, the party have the right to transfer the service agreement without prior consent.
15 Compensation for damages
The parties limit the amount of damages arising from a breach of this service agreement to the immediate damage caused to the other party. Compensation does not cover indirect or consequential damages.
16 Interpretation of the service agreement
In cases of conflict between the service agreement and its appendices, a defined order determines how the documents will be interpreted.
17 Date and signatures

Appendices to the service contract:

  1. Data protection appendix
  2. Data processing agreement
  3. Digital preservation solution’s service description
  4. Cultural Heritage DPS Service description
  5. CSC’s General terms and conditions for the sale of the services
  6. Safety appendix

The full DPS agreement templates and their appendices can be reviewed on the website (Opens in a new tab) (in Finnish).