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Message on HathiTrust & DPN

Many of you by now will have seen the announcement from the Digital Presentation Network (DPN) of its plan to cease operations.  Despite DPN’s sunsetting, as a digital preservation program it has made important contributions to the digital preservation and cultural heritage communities. DPN's model--dark data replication across a number of locations with diverse technical infrastructures--is a sound practice, and DPN's failure is no judgment against it.   During its six years DPN drew attention to and attempted to resolve a number of difficult issues, such as the economics of long term digital preservation, and the legal complexities that can inhibit future access.  DPN did not completely resolve these, and as a community we must continue to wrestle with them.

We have already joined the other DPN nodes in commenting on the need for continued coordinated action to support digital preservation.   More specifically, we wanted to share what  DPN’s end means for HathiTrust’s activities.  No parts of the HathiTrust collection were deposited in DPN, and we do not rely on its infrastructure in any way for our delivery of long-term preservation for HathiTrust-deposited items.  As a node in DPN's architecture, we stored only a portion of the data that DPN’s depositors have added to the network. HathiTrust has been reimbursed for providing these services by DPN, but work with DPN has not underwritten any of our core activities, programs, or associated staff, and thus DPN’s closure will not have any effect on the services we provide to users or institutional members of HathiTrust.

HathiTrust is committed to working with DPN and our partner nodes over the coming weeks to ensure a graceful shutdown of the Network's operations and the appropriate disposition of the depositors’ data.  We have appreciated working closely with the staff of DPN over the years, and we participated extensively in the development of its technology and services. HathiTrust is proud to have supported DPN’s work and to have contributed to collaborative efforts in an evolving digital preservation landscape.