nestor – the German Network of Expertise for Digital Preservation

nestor is the German competence network for digital preservation. Its purpose is to bring together the existing know-how and the competencies with regard to digital preservation in Germany. Libraries, archives, museums and leading experts work together in the network to ensure the long-term preservation and accessibility of digital sources. After six years as a funded project, nestor transformed to a sustainable partner consortium in July 2009. Today, nestor is a cooperation association with 11 partners from different fields, all connected in some way with the subject of “digital preservation”.

The partners are:

  • Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library)
  • Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (German National Library)
  • Fernuniversität Hagen (Hagen Open University)
  • Georg-August-Universität Göttingen / Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen (Georg-August University, Göttingen / Lower Saxony State and University Library, Göttingen)
  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Humboldt University in Berlin)
  • Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Württemberg State Archive)
  • Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz / SMB – Institut für Museumsforschung (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation / SMB – Institute for Museum Research)
  • Bibliotheksservice-Zentrum Baden-Württemberg (Baden-Württemberg Library Services Centre)
  • Institut für Deutsche Sprache (German Language Institute)
  • Computerspiele Museum Berlin (Computer Games Museum)
  • Leibniz-Bibliotheksverbund Forschungsinformation Goportis (Leibniz Library Network for Research Information)

The nestor partners host five working groups, which are open to non-nestor members as well. The WG “Networking and Cooperation” provides a forum for identifying and addressing collective problems in digital preservation. The WG “Preservation of non-textual Media” gathers expertise and best practices from the area of AV and multimedia preservation. Legal experts of the WG “Legal Issues” points to passages of the copyright legislation which hinder digital preservation. The WG “Digital Preservation” discusses how the concept of significant properties can be pragmatically used in practical preservation processes. The just recently established WG “Emulation” acts as a network for all aspects concerning emulation and for exchange of best practices.

The nestor service portfolio.

The nestor service portfolio.

A group of eleven higher education institutions has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work collaboratively and in association with nestor towards a digital preservation curriculum. They design several e-learning modules, for example an introduction to digital preservation, and modules on formats and data carriers, on metadata generation, and on web archiving. The university partners already deploy some of the developed modules in their academic teaching. The higher education partners also co-organise the yearly nestor summer school.

nestor provides an overview of existing standards in the field of digital preservation, bundles together standardisation activities and proposes new activities where required. User interests are represented at the national and international levels via the partnership with the DIN organisation. The standardization work takes place in the DIN Standardisation Committee for Libraries and Documentation (NABD), subcommittee Records Management and Preservation of Digital Information Objects (NABD 15). The subcommittee and nestor collaborate closely. The draft standard DIN 31644 – Kriterien für vertrauenswürdige digitale Langzeitarchive (“Criteria for trustworthy digital long-term archives”), based on the nestor-Catalogue of Criteria for Trusted Digital Repositories, has just been published.

nestor has been engaged with the topic of certification of trustworthy repositories for several years. Now progress on the European level is made: Following a series of European Commission sponsored workshops on audit and certification of trusted repositories, three European initiatives have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to harmonise their activities on the European level. The three initiatives are nestor/DIN NABD 15, the Data Seal of Approval (DSA), and ISO Repository Audit and Certification Working Group (RAC).

nestor also cooperates with institutions and initiatives in a European and international context. Even though the conditions may differ, there is a lively exchange and collaboration with the national coalitions of the Netherlands (NCDD), the UK (DPC), and the US (NDIIPP).

To provide a platform for sharing of knowledge and expertise, nestor organises workshops and events on different aspects of digital preservation and provides information and exchange about best practices. A publication series „nestor edition“ is dedicated to scientific theses and scientific monographs with an explicit reference to digital preservation and analysis of new approaches.


Natascha Schumann (
nestor – Kompetenznetzwerk Langzeitarchivierung

About Natascha Schumann

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