Digital repositories are a manifestation of complex organizational, financial, legal, technological, procedural, and political interrelationships. Accompanying each of these are innate uncertainties, exacerbated by the relative immaturity of understanding prevalent within the digital preservation domain. Recent efforts have sought to identify core characteristics that must be demonstrable by successful digital repositories, expressed in the form of check-list documents, intended to support the processes of repository accreditation and certification. In isolation though, the available guidelines lack practical applicability; confusion over evidential requirements and difficulties associated with the diversity that exists among repositories (in terms of mandate, available resources, supported content and legal context) are particularly problematic. A gap exists between the available criteria and the ways and extent to which conformity can be demonstrated. The Digital Repository Audit Method Based on Risk Assessment (DRAMBORA) is a methodology for undertaking repository self assessment, developed jointly by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) and DigitalPreservationEurope (DPE). DRAMBORA requires repositories to expose their organization, policies and infrastructures to rigorous scrutiny through a series of highly structured exercises, enabling them to build a comprehensive registry of their most pertinent risks, arranged into a structure that facilitates effective management. It draws on experiences accumulated throughout 18 evaluative pilot assessments undertaken in an internationally diverse selection of repositories, digital libraries and data centres (including institutions and services such as the UK National Digital Archive of Datasets, the National Archives of Scotland, Gallica at the National Library of France and the CERN Document Server). Other organizations, such as the British Library, have been using sections of DRAMBORA within their own risk assessment procedures.Despite the attractive benefits of a bottom up approach, there are implicit challenges posed by neglecting a more objective perspective. Following a sustained period of pilot audits undertaken by DPE, DCC and the DELOS Digital Preservation Cluster aimed at evaluating DRAMBORA, it was stated that had respective project members not been present to facilitate each assessment, and contribute their objective, external perspectives, the results may have been less useful. Consequently, DRAMBORA has developed in a number of ways, to enable knowledge transfer from the responses of comparable repositories, and incorporate more opportunities for structured question sets, or key lines of enquiry, that provoke more comprehensive awareness of the applicability of particular threats and opportunities.
Andrew McHugh, Seamus Ross, Perla Innocenti, Raivo Ruusalepp, Hans Hofman, "Bringing Self Assessment Home: Repository Profiling and Key Lines of Enquiry within DRAMBORA" in Proc. IS&T Archiving 2008, 2008, pp 13 - 19, https://doi.org/10.2352/issn.2168-3204.2008.5.1.art00004