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At the SPRUCE Book Sprint in July one of the warm up sessions saw an effort to create a Digital Preservation 'Trumps' card game. The initial idea was to play file formats against each other, but after some discussion we agreed that this would send the wrong message - there's more to suggesting and agreeing which file formats to use than simply assessing against a narrow set of criteria. But for the game to work the components need to be comparable against consistent criteria.

After some discussion we came up with a set of criteria that could work against many aspects of digital preservation architectures:

  • Complexity - the extent to which something is complicated. Insanely overcomplicated scores 100 out of 100
  • Currency - how current is a technology. Something which is bang on trend even if widely used scores 100/100
  • Fear Factor - the extent to which something intimidates it's users. Impenetrable texts which create their own jargon score 100/100
  • Popularity - how widely is something used. Used by everyone scores 100 out of 100
  • Usability - how easy is something to use. If there's something you can use that you don't even know you're using, it scores 100 out of 100
  • X-factor - the extent to which something is a digital preservation 'classic'. This is hard to assess and is designed to encourage debate.

The group brainstormed the cards. It broke the cards into groups:

  • Content Types - broad groupings of typical content types and use cases that show up in preservation facilities
  • File Formats - a selection of typical file formats that show up for preservation. These need to be carefully selected to encourage comparisons, and they should be generic high-level groupings (ie TIFF) rather than specific versions of a file format (PDF/A3)
  • Platforms -
  • Processes -
  • Storage media
  • Tools and models