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Collaborating for Long-Term Preservation: Meet the PHAIDRA Network


It all began in Vienna in 2008 when the PHAIDRA repository went online at the University of Vienna in Austria.

In cooperation between the university library and the computer center, a digital location was created where researchers could archive their scientific materials in all formats for the long term and make them accessible to the public worldwide: PHAIDRA repository. With an optimally designed metadata editor, all members of the university were able to upload data themselves and then manage it independently. In the spirit of long-term archiving, objects could no longer be deleted; they were automatically assigned a persistent identifier when they were uploaded. In the meantime, a collection has grown that comprises millions of objects and will continue to represent the University of Vienna and its various disciplines very well in the future.

In 2024, a PHAIDRA network is established, it already has over 20 partners in Austria and Europe, and a network has been created in which all participating institutions work together and benefit from the experience and technical developments of a long-term archiving system that has grown over many years. PHAIDRA's partner institutions, such as the Universities of Padua and Venice, universities in the Western Balkan, art universities and universities of applied sciences in Austria, either operate their own PHAIDRA instance or are hosted by the Central IT Service of the University of Vienna. All data is archived in PHAIDRA according to the FAIR principles in order to be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. Open Science is not a buzzword for the PHAIDRA systems, all data can be made freely accessible and provided with free licenses, thus creating an open research data offering for all scientists worldwide.

Every year, the partners organize PHAIDRAcon, an international conference where experts in long-term archiving and research data management from science and IT can exchange ideas. PHAIDRAcon has been held virtually since 2020 and was held on-site at the University of Vienna for the first time in November 2023. In numerous presentations and discussions, the participants dealt intensively with content-related and technical aspects of the PHAIDRA systems

PHAIDRA is also an open system in technical terms - based on the open-source software FEDORA, all partners can also contribute to the code. This results in a constantly optimizing archive system that benefits everyone involved. The different content requirements of the partner institutions, such as the appropriate archiving of music, museum objects or geodata, are also incorporated into the technical development of the software. PHAIDRA can adapt to the different ideas of the partner institutions, also concerning the design; some PHAIDRA websites follow their own creative ideas. However, one goal is always clearly unifying: optimal long-term archiving of digital scientific objects, summarized: Research data management for all for the future.

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