The dominance of digital objects in today´s information landscape
has changed the way humankind creates and exchanges information.
However, it has also brought an entirely new problem: the longevity
of digital objects. Due to the fast changes in technologies, digital documents have a short lifespan before they become obsolete. Digital preservation, i.e. actions to ensure longevity of digital information, thus has become a pressing challenge. Different strategies such as migration and emulation have been proposed; however, the decision between available strategies and the evaluation of potential tools is very complex. Preservation planning supports decision makers in reaching accountable decisions by evaluating potential strategies against well-defined requirements. The
analysis of the qualitative and quantitative performance of different migration tools for digital preservation has to rely on validating the converted objects and thus on an analysis of the logical structure and the content of documents.
Different approaches exist for analysing and characterising digital objects. However, the connection to the specific requirements and criteria that have to be considered in the evaluation procedure is yet unclear, and there is no automated and traceable way of linking these characteristics to the decision factors. Furthermore, an integration of preservation action, characterisation and planning is missing.
This paper presents an extensible integration architecture for automating the analysis and evaluation of potential preservation actions. We describe the problem context and the planning methodology underlying the approach. We then present an overall integration architecture and an extensible evaluation framework connecting requirements and criteria to measurable factors both in the environment and the digital objects themselves. We discuss the problems and expected benefits and outline the next steps towards implementing the proposed solution.