The DARE programme is a joint initiative of the National Library of the Netherlands (KB), the Dutch universities, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). DARE’s aim is to store the results of all Dutch research in a network of repositories, in which the National Library fulfils the role of safe place in charge of digital preservation. In this way all participants retain responsibility for and control over their own data while making them accessible at the same time. Moreover, as the KB takes responsibility for storage and long-term preservation, the universities can concentrate on their research work.

Use of the e-Depot

Long-term preservation and accessibility of the repository material is safeguarded as the KB’s e-Depot is used for the deposit. Not only is the e-Depot the world’s first electronic deposit system, the KB also is one of the leading institutions in the field of digital preservation research in the world. The participants of the DARE programme can benefit from this expertise.

At the moment the focus is on establishing the technical link for the delivery, the quality of the metadata in the repositories and the procedures for deliveries and versioning. Furthermore a start will be made with the retrieval aspect of the project. The technical issues required forbatch retrieval are currently being implemented, most of themin collaboration with the Tiff-archive, another KB project. Eventually DARE will result in alink between the institutional repositories and the e-Depot that facilitates the delivery and retrieval of digital objects as well as their long-term storage.

New technologies

The DARE project makes use of cutting edge technologies, that have only been implemented in a few other places in the world. Working on the project has been described as a balancing act on the edge of what is technically possible and what is not. It is not the harvesting of metadata that complicates matters, since the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) offers a framework for this. However, the object files described by these metadata present more difficulties. Actual harvesting techniques for qualified objects have hardly been implemented anywhere, although important work is carried out elsewhere to solve the challenges involved (see for instance the article Resource Harvesting within the OAI-PMH Framework in D-Lib Magazine).

The KB and the other participants are now working towards an optimal implementation of data harvesting. The institutions offer an XML-file to the KB in which the correct URL to the object is mentioned, as well as other important data such as the date of production, the PPN (Pica Production Number as identifier) and possible extra metadata. This enables the KB to approach the objects through the URL, harvest them and archive them within the e-Depot. It is estimated that this will be implemented by 2006.


Until now FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is used for the data stream to and from the e-Depot. When data are harvested, they are collected by the KB rather than sent by one of the participants. This is different from web harvesting as only a limited group of institutions is concerned and agreements can be made on the protocol and the way information is rendered.


DARE objects stored in the e-Depot can be returned to their original institutions at a later date, in case an institutioncan no longer read the original format or when objects have been lost due to an emergency. In order to deliver objects from the e-Depot to the original owner, a number of functionalities have been implemented.In the future, it will be possible to deliver a batch of objects from the e-Depot upon one request. In order to realise this, the rules of authorisation need to be elaborated so that only those institutions authorised to do so can retrieve their collections when necessary.


The project was carried out from 1 July 2004 to 31 December 2006.