Project Canopus – By Steve Marks
Libraries. Libraries never change. The Babylonians built one of the first libraries from stacked clay tablets and a thirst for knowledge. Egypt created a library at Alexandria so grand, it became a wonder of the ancient world. But libraries never change. Well, maybe they do, in some ways. While the mandate of the University of Toronto Libraries remains to collect, preserve, and provide access to scholarly resources created and used by U of T researchers, the nature of those resources has undergone a massive shift. We are collecting and curating an ever-increasing amount of digital content, in our traditional collection areas, but also in areas like research data. This change in our collections brings with it new opportunities (broader access, the ability to engage in text and data mining) but also new challenges in how we keep these resources whole, integral, and usable by research communities. Project Canopus is a new, 2-year initiative to advance the state of digital preservation at the University of Toronto Libraries. A partnership between the University of Toronto Libraries Information Technology Services and Scholars Portal, the project has identified three key deliverables: a unified digital asset management system (DAMS), a preservation processing pipeline, and an end-user-facing “Dropbox” style client to aid in transfer of digital content on campus. This session will talk a bit about the institutional and technical context for the Canopus work, and then dig into the specific deliverables, with a focus on how each of these items will support the longevity of the University of Toronto’s digital legacy.