EU releases open source digital archive

The European Union (EU) has released open source software for preserving and accessing its huge digital archive.

The move comes as part of the Cultural, Artistic and Scientific knowledge for Preservation, Access and Retrieval (CASPAR) project, not a friendly ghost but an initiative which aims to digitally preserve information of value to European citizens and give them better access to it.

The open source software provided by CASPAR allows data in multiple formats to be accessed and even has a rescue feature which can save previously inaccessible documents from the abyss, something which is essential as part of ensuring the EU’s files are never accidentally deleted.

“Digital information is extremely vulnerable and also extremely valuable. Anyone who has lost access to family photos or old documents will know the frustration of dealing with incompatible technologies,” said Neelie Kroes, Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda. “I am very excited by the potential of CASPAR’s tools and techniques to ensure sustained quality of and access to valuable data in the future.”

The CASPAR project is funded by €15 million, €8.8 million of which was provided in a grant from the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme. It has already helped to preserve EU data relating to science, cultural heritage, and contemporary performing arts, with countless other sectors set to benefit from it in years to come.

The software is open source and can be downloaded for free through SourceForge. The code can also be utilised by developers for creating a better program or for fixing bugs in the current release.