Portage is working to connect components of the various infrastructure and services needed for a national preservation and discovery platform. The ultimate aim is to enable all interested universities to participate — whether or not they have their own local infrastructure — by coordinating shared repositories and services under a cost model that recognizes varying institutional investments and needs.
The envisioned platforms will provide ingest and preservation services that include networked replication storage services. This infrastructure will be highly distributed with local, regional, and central nodes and will be based on standards that ensure interoperability across nodes and data types.
In addition to ingest and preservation, a complimentary set of services is envisioned to support the discovery of data contained in data repositories across Canada. For this, metadata from repositories will be aggregated into an open registry through which discovery tools will be built to enable searching across data collections and repositories. The goals are to map common metadata elements and to allow an appropriate level of dataset integration across repositories.
In 2015, Compute Canada and Portage tested an experimental preservation pipeline assembled from Archivematica, Globus Publication, and customised code to establish an integrated workflow. Processing datasets from Canadian-funded research in the recent International Polar Year, this software stack demonstrated that automated processes could generate archival digital objects for research datasets and that these objects could be deposited with an access platform and archived in preservation storage. Once ingested into a discovery and access platform, datasets were discoverable and retrievable under appropriate controlled access conditions. This test also identified several enhancements required for a production system based on this specific design. Coming out of this project was an agreement between Portage and Compute Canada to build a production service based on improvements to this project’s model.
On January 27, 2016 CARL/Portage and Compute Canada signed a memorandum of agreement that defines a new working relationship between these organizations with the objective of expanding the work already undertaken in the pilot. The agreement also allows for other parties developing software components within a common research data management software framework to join this partnership.