‘Preserving CAD’ enables continuous access to design

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) is has published the latest in its series of topical Technology Watch Reports, Preserving Computer-Aided Design (CAD). Writtenby Alex Ball, and published electronically, this report provides a comprehensive overview of the development of CAD technologies, the threat caused by its own innovative application and its vendors’ drive to add ever more features which can render valuable and strategically vital information unusable.

A specialist in digital curation at the Digital Curation Centre and UKOLN at the University of Bath, Alex writes ‘CAD is an area of constant innovation…, resulting in CAD systems that are ephemeral and largely incompatible with each other.’ The report examines the key standards, techniques and technologies developed in an attempt to slow the seemingly inevitable obsolescence associated with native CAD formats.

Having outlined some of the critical issues surrounding CAD preservation, as well as some of the potential solutions, the author reminds us that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to the problem. He urges anyone with an interest in the long term viability of CAD data to ‘consider an advocacy programme which raises awareness of the importance of standard formats and high quality format migration,’ with a view to providing greater interoperability and better support for CAD users.

The report is primarily aimed at those responsible for managing repositories with CAD content, but will also appeal to creators of CAD content who want to make their models more amenable to preservation.

The not-for-profit DPC is an advocate and catalyst for digital preservation. The coalition ensures its members can continue to deliver resilient long-term access to digital content and services through knowledge exchange, capacity building, assurance, advocacy and partnership. Its primary objective is raising awareness of the importance of the preservation of digital material and the attendant strategic, cultural and technological issues. The DPC Technology Watch Reports support this objective through an advanced introduction to topics that have a major bearing on its vision to ‘make our digital memory accessible tomorrow.’

Read Alex Ball’s report ‘Preserving Computer-Aided Design (CAD)’ by downloading from the DPC website now: http://dx.doi.org/10.7207/twr13-02

Read the complete announcement here.