PREFORMA is a FP7 funded joint PCP for an open-source toolset for conformance checking of digital files, intended for long-term preservation in memory entities
Memory institutions face growing transfers of digital files and other media for long-term preservation. Typically, data is stored in specific file formats produced by software from different vendors, where the implementation of standards is not guaranteed. Aim of the project is to address the challenge of implementing good quality standardised file formats for preserving data content in the long-term. The main objective is to give memory institutions full control of files’ conformity tests, by procuring a specialized software toolkit. The developed tools are innovative and provide an implementation of the most common file format standards for the assessment of the collections to be archived and for their correction. The Pre-Commercial Procurement, following the rules for tenders in public sector, matched the memory institutions' professional knowledge with the suppliers' development skills to create a win-win situation. The joint PCP enabled PREFORMA to build a sustainable network of common interest, where public procurers can remain in contact with each other and suppliers and cooperate. PREFORMA showcased a reference scenario for public authorities acting from the demand side of innovation. The coordination part of the project, i.e. the tender procedure, defining the functional criteria for suppliers, including legal and financial issues and setting up the network of stakeholders can be used as a reference model suitable to mobilize public and private beneficiaries.
In total, PREFORMA procurement budget reaches 2.805.000 Euros.
Evidence of success
In general, PERFORMA funded the design and prototyping of three open source projects and useful tools: veraPDF, EasyInnova and MediaArea. Already from the early stages of the project, the result of the design phase of the PREFORMA project has been nominated for the Award for Research and Innovation in the 2016 Digital Preservation Awards. Moreover, representatives of the project have been invited to a series of conferences and panels in order to present outcomes and learnings.
Carrying out a joint Pre-Commercial Procurement is a hard task, in terms of dealing with the diverse expectations and preferences of multiple procurers. Moreover, partners tend to be unaware of the state of the art and hesitant to involve external experts, thus limiting the impact of the project.
Potential for learning or transfer
The PERFORMA project can serve as point of reference for public entities when procuring open source software. Indeed, PREFORMA is following an open source approach, with the aim to establish a sustainable research and development community comprising a wide range of contributors and users from different stakeholder groups. The open source nature ensures long-term availability of the software, beyond the memory institutions and suppliers involved in PREFORMA. All software developed during the project are provided under open source licenses and all digital assets developed are provided under Creative Commons and in open file formats. Moreover, the project’s workplan is a good example for public procurers when working with complicated and large joint procurement projects as it showcases best practices when dealing with issues such as the utilization of PCP methodologies, the definition of tender requirements and the tentative care of Copyright and intellectual property rights issues.
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.