Why? What? Who? The COPTR FAQ

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COPTR aims to meet the following simple aims:

  • Help users find preservation tools that meet their long term digital preservation needs.
  • Avoid reinventing the wheel by sharing knowledge about existing tools and their effectiveness rather than starting again from scratch and creating new tools.

Google provides some answers, but typically not all. Many tools aren't handily labelled "digital preservation". In some cases it's not clear what search terms to use, particularly if you're looking for a tool that isn't file format specific. Sometimes, what's needed is a registry of tools that are browsable in helpful functional categories. Finding tools that perform the right function is the first stage. The second stage is selecting a tool that best fits the user's needs. User experiences, implementation examples and actual data on usage of the tools helps prospective users looking to make a tool selection.

Existing tool registries are not meeting this use case well. There are lots of tool registries. Lots and lots of tool registries! But few have many tools recorded in them. The community's information about tools has been spread thinly around the web rather than being pooled in one place. That is the challenge that COPTR aims to solve.

By helping to raise awareness of tools that are already available, it is hoped that reinvention of the wheel will be reduced and precious community tool development effort will be better focused where it is really needed.


COPTR captures basic details about a tool, what it does, how to find more information (relevant URLs) and references to user experiences with the tool. The scope is a broad interpretation of the term "digital preservation". In other words, if a tool is useful in performing a digital preservation function such as those described in the OAIS model or the DCC lifecycle model, then it's within scope of this registry.

  • In scope: Characterisation, visualisation, rendering, migration, storage, fixity, access, delivery, search, web archiving, open source software ->everything inbetween<- commercial software.
  • Out of scope: Digitisation, file creation


COPTR is a community registry that is owned by the community, for the community. It is supported by the Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation group, and has initially been championed by ?, ?, ? and ?. Anyone can contribute to it, or edit existing entries in the registry. Spamming will of course be frowned upon.

Organisations who would like to fully buy into COPTR should follow this guide.