About the Texas Digital Archive (TDA)

The mission of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is to “safeguard significant resources, provide information services that inspire and support research, education and reading, and enhance the capacity for achievement of current and future generations.”  In order to fulfill this mandate TSLAC is developing the Texas Digital Archive (TDA), the infrastructure needed to manage, preserve, and provide access to records of Texas state government agencies in a variety of digital formats.

In January, 2015, the TSLAC received approximately 7 TB of electronic records, along with 4000 cubic feet of paper records, from the administration of outgoing Governor Rick Perry (2000-2015).  At the same time TSLAC has had a robust digitization program for the last decade generating over 150,000 digital files, including the conversion of 25,000 audio cassette tapes of the Texas Senate (from 1972-2006) producing 18 TB of digital audio files.  TSLAC used this collection of electronic records and support from the Governor’s Office as the foundation of the Texas Digital Archive.

The Texas Digital Archive (TDA) is a built on the Preservica (http://preservica.com/) preservation system.  Designed around international archival and digital preservation standards, Preservica is a comprehensive suite of preservation tools and workflows that allow for the:

  • ingest of records in virtually any format;
  • management of content as well as the descriptive, administrative and structural metadata associated with stored objects;
  • integrity checks to allow for long-term preservation of objects;
  • normalization and migration to new formats to insure objects do not become obsolete;
  • controls to insure timely and proper access to objects stored in the system.

Preservica is powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) currently in the Amazon Public Cloud.  However, the TDA will be the first state moving into Preservica built on the Amazon Government Cloud, offering more back-end security, by the end of 2015.

TSLAC secured funding for the Texas Digital Archive in the last legislative session allowing for ongoing development and expansion of the TDA.  Beginning in the last quarter of 2015 into 2016, TSLAC will begin working 3 additional agencies to acquire, preserve, and make accessible their electronic records as well as continue to develop the process, procedures, and workflows governing the TDA.

Preserving digital material presents a different set of technological challenges than that found with paper.  The creation of a comprehensive digital archive capable of ingesting digital records, storing and managing those digital objects and associated metadata, and ensuring that digital material is accessible for the long term is essential to TSLAC fulfilling its mission.