IQF Project – Centre for the Composition of Digital Tradition - CODIGT



CODIGT aims to become the Centre of Digital Tradition as a research and advisory institution for long-term digital preservation of complex digital objects of research and art.

It is a project within the framework of the Baden-Württemberg Innovation and Quality Fund(IQF) (12/2011-11/2014)

The Centre of Digital Tradition (CODIGT) has created guidelines for memory and research institutions which dedicate themselves to providing the preservation of complex digital objects of research and culture. CODIGT advises several specific facilities at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and in the local region, including ZKM - Centre for Art and Media Technology and the University of Arts and Design Karlsruhe (HfG).

The project is headed by Prof. C. Y. Robertson-von Trotha and coordinated by Dr. R. Schneider. As cooperation partners, the KIT Archive (Dr. K. Nippert) and the Steinbuch Centre for Computing (J. v. Wezel) are also involved in the project. Further, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies is an associate partner (Prof. T. Dreier).

IQF - Topics and Activities

The Maintenance costs for digital objects are largely influenced by their degree of complexity. Digital objects are defined as complex when: a) insufficient or no description of their representation or reproduction are available, b) they are no longer accessible or functional within digital environments which have previously enabled their functioning in this form, or c) elements contain interactive parts or embedded programming. Digital objects of science and art often combine all of the features mentioned.

The long-term preservation of digital objects belonging to the fields of scientific research and art requires complex and innovative conservation strategies which equally ensure technical and semantic preservation. Long-term preservation in the context of archives refers to a time horizon that goes far beyond the benefits of scientific data centres. The typical time horizon in academic computer centres is 10 to 50 years.

This grim situation may be only the beginning. Scientific collections for research possess a constitutive and innovative meaning without any expiration date for their usefulness. Insights and innovations often arise in the use of already long existing collections and existing objects that can be interpreted and processed by new methodological questions and research requests. The threat of loss of such data collections would therefore have serious and far-reaching consequences for science and society.

Within the CODIGT IQF-project the following measures are planned:

  • Creating a holistic integrative model of long-term preservation of complex digital objects of research and art;
  • Design of a digital archive for complex objects and art research at KIT;
  • For CODIGT to consult on the development of archiving, migration and emulation process methods for long-term preservation of complex digital objects (in close cooperation with the SCC);
  • Construction and operation of a consulting centre for legal issues of digital tradition (in close cooperation with the CAD);
  • Development of specific advice concerning conservation planning (Preservation Planning) in research and the arts;
  • Application of theoretical and practical knowledge and procedures via concrete examples from the areas of complex digital research data and complex digital art, and documentation of case studies and preparation of guidelines for each division;
  • Implementation of an exchange program, which a) consists of a Scientist in Residence program, under which renowned scientists and experts can bring their research interests and issues into the project and b) Visiting Fellowships which would enable the project team to visit relevant European actors in this field.

CODIGT is dedicated to the proposed measures to make a significant contribution to counter the threat of loss of digital knowledge resources. It will specialize in theoretical and conceptual issues of long-term preservation of complex digital objects and apply that knowledge as an advisory institution in the process of structure formation for digital memory preservation at KIT and the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg.