Manual quality assurance (QA) of digitised content is typically fallible and can result in collections that are marred by a variety of quality and access issues. Poor storage conditions, technology obsolescence and other unforeseen problems can also leave digital objects in an unusable state. Detecting, identifying and ultimately fixing these issues typically requires costly and time consuming manual processes. An inadequate understanding of potential tools and their application creates a barrier to the automation and embedding of preservation processes for many collection owners. The JISC funded Automating Quality Assurance Project (AQuA) applied a variety of existing tools in order to automatically detect quality and preservation issues in digital collections and work to bridge the divide between technical and collection management expertise. Two AQuA Mashup events brought together digital preservation practitioners, collection curators and technical experts to present problematic digital collections, articulate requirements for their assessment, and then apply tools to automate the detection and identification of the content issues. By breaking down the barriers between technical and non-technical practitioners, the events enabled grass-roots digital preservation collaboration between the two communities. This paper describes the AQuA Project’s novel approach to agile preservation problem solving and discusses the incidental benefits and community building that this strategy facilitated.
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