Friday, June 14, 2019

Archangel project: use of Blockchain technology in digital preservation

Archangel project: use of Blockchain technology in digital preservation

National archives of any country have a very precious collection of scientific, cultural, economic, social and historical digital records.  In a rapidly changing digital world, it is important to save the national archives and transforming them with the change of technology. Long term sustainability of these digital records without any tampering, which questions the authenticity and originality of these records, is a big challenge to the Archival institutions and their governments.
History has many examples of expunging of records during major political unrest and happenings. To ensure the accessibility of digital records for long-term, the records need to be transformed into the other formats and transformation may result in a minor loss in fidelity of the original data. Currently, the archival practices are not able to cope up with these challenges.
Instead of cryptocurrencies and in the financial sector,  many attempts are being done across the world to use the blockchain technology concept in other fields. Libraries are also running at this pace to find the possibilities in the various aspects of the library, digital preservation is one of them. To maintain the long term sustainability of digital records along with maintaining the authenticity and open accessibility of records to the public, the big leaders in this field along with the support of government have started the project using blockchain/ Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). 

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT): It is a technology behind the blockchain technology and other similar concepts.It is an umbrella term used to describe technologies which store, distribute and facilitate the exchange of value between users, either privately or publicly. Blockchain is the first fully functional Distributed ledger technology, which became the most popular in the world.”1
According to Wikipedia, It is a consensus of replicated, shared, and synchronized digital data geographically spread across multiple sites, countries, or institutions. There is no central administrator or centralized data storage.”2

Archangel Project

The digital archives of any nation must be trustworthy for the public. To make sure the public about the  policies of government regarding the safety

and  integrity of records while migrating the data without any alteration in their originality, a 24 months project was started in June 2017 with the title “Archangel: trusted archives of digital public records” with the multidisciplinary partnership of University of Surrey, UK and a consortium of AMIs (Archives and Memory Institutions) stakeholders including the National Archives (One of the world's largest and oldest AMI preserving the digital records of UK Government) and Tim Berners Lee’s Open Data Institute (ODI).

Archangel project is to safeguard their integrity and open accessibility for future generations through the cutting edge technologies and models based on it. It involves the creation and evaluation of new prototypes of archival practice and their feasibility which also involves exploring the public attitude towards these new models and formulating the archival policies. The project uses DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) services.


  1. To ensure the integrity and safety and to promote open accessibility of digital records.
  2. Creating and evaluating the models of new archival practice using DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) for long term sustainability of archival records.
  3. Developing a novel cross AMIs model in which we have single DLT contributed to by multiple AMIs, across disciplines and nations. Its impact is not limited to AMIs but also on any Digital Public Archives and Research Data Repositories.
  4. To formulate digital preservation and archival policies.
  5. To build trust among the public about the authenticity and originality of digital records in archival institutions.
  6. Finding out solutions for the transformation of digital records with the change of technology without any change and loss of content and maintaining their originality.

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