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Xena - software for digital preservation PDF Print E-mail

Xena (XML Electronic Normalising for Archives) is software designed to automatically identify the file formats of digital objects and convert objects into standards based, openly specified file formats.

Project Details

Name of project: Xena – software for digital preservation

Brief overview:

The National Archives of Australia really care about data. When they talk about long term access to data, they aren't considering 2 years, or 10 years. They are thinking 100 years, or 500 years into the future. This is why open formats are so important to their digital preservation project where they are treating and storing key records created by every Government department both in their original format and an open standard format such as  Open Document.

Open standards are often defined as committee and community led, internationally accepted, openly documented standards that are unencumbered by patents and royalities.

Xena is an Open Source software framework designed to integrate with digital preservation workflows to provide file type identification services and conversion of files to open formats for long term access to data. It is developed by the National Archives of Australia for its digital preservation needs, and readily integrates with other digital preservation software via the Xena API.

Xena is written in java for cross platform deployment and employs a plugin architecture to make it extensible as new file formats are encountered. While principally used as a framework intended to be called by other software, an example GUI implementation has also been released to showcase some of the features of the Xena framework. This application is called Xena Lite and may be downloaded via the xena project web page (see links at the bottom of the page).

Standards used:

XML, ODF, PNG, JPEG, PDF, FLAC

OSS technologies used:

Infrastructure: Xena is deployed internally in NAA on different production systems for redundancy. Windows 2003, Ubuntu and Xen are used, all running Open Source software developed by the NAA.

Development: Eclipse, Apache ant, OpenOffice, Hibernate, Sourceforge for  CVS, bug/enhancement trackers and the file release system, Sun Java, Firefox, Ubuntu and Fedora Core Linux.

Some non-open tools are also used: MS Windows and Sun Java.

OSS projects contributed to: NAA collaborated on the design of the ODF format via the OASIS technical committee, and submits bug reports or patches to the developers of upstream tools like Apache Ant, Hibernate, Castor and OSS Java projects used in development.

Xena itself is a GPL licensed Open Source project, available on Sourceforge.

Implementors (internal, external): Internal. Xena is used by the National Archives of Australia digital archive, the City of Perth recordkeeping system and is under testing at the University of Sydney DSpace repository. It also now works with Alfresco.

 

Conclusions

Rationale of Open Source technologies used:

The preservation of digital information requires proactive intervention if access to digital objects is to be guaranteed over time. This involves altering the structure and content of digital objects. Any software created for this purpose should be open source in order to assure that any alterations are transparent and authentic. Xena is also open source to encourage peer collaboration in the further development of the software.

Contact Details

Date of case study: 2005 - ongoing

State/s: ACT

Name of institute: National Archives of Australia

Contact person: Mike Carden

Contact details: recordkeeping at naa dot gov dot au

URLs (project and institute): Details of the project are available at http://xena.sourceforge.net
http://dpr.sourceforge.net & http://naa.gov.au/recordkeeping/er/summary.html

 
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