Knowing your digital risk – the AWM May workshop on the Diagram Digital Risk Model

AWM’s Digital Progress Programme supports AWM members in their journey to develop digital preservation and leverage digital technologies.  On 10 May the Programme gave members the opportunity to learn about the Digital Archives Graphical Risk Assessment Model, known as DiAGRAM.  This was developed by The National Archives (TNA) and the University of Warwick and now maintained by TNA.  Members were treated to an interactive workshop with one of the tools developers, David Underdown Senior Digital Archivist at TNA.

The tool is a sophisticated model that incorporates a Dynamic Bayesian Network to model the risk of multiple variables over time.  A user of DiAGRAM is required to answer questions over a whole range of potential digital preservation risks, using where possible measures from other well-established tools e.g. NDSA Levels.  The model will then assess the significance of the risks based on those answers and enable respondents to model the impact of particular risk mitigations.  So DiAGRAM is a really valuable tool for supporting decisions around digital preservation action and resourcing priorities.

Practical demonstration

David talked attendees through a practical demonstration of how to use DiAGRAM, explaining the reasons for particular attributes, how to source the information needed to answer the question and what results the tool produces.  Members then got the opportunity to play with the tool themselves. This proved really helpful as they could work through each step and talk to David as they did so.  This was particularly useful for understanding how to interpret the results and how to work with the options for applying mitigating steps.  It proved a really practical session and delegates left with plans to use DiAGRAM in their digital preservation planning.  As one participant noted:

The DiAGRAM workshop was an essential introduction to TNA’s digital preservation risk assessment model and, in conjunction with the NDSA and DPC digital preservation level models, will be invaluable in assessing our organisation’s digital resilience and robustness.  The hands-on nature of the workshop with guidance from one of its developers meant I was able to come away with an outcome I could work with immediately.

The Digital Progress Programme runs three events a year and are designed in response to members’ needs.  These are usually free to members or at a very subsidized cost.  Events are also open to non-members for a fee.  To find out more about the programme contact Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan. To find out more about AWM membership contact the AWM Administrator.

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