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STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory at the leading edge when preserving digital scientific data

STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory becomes the first user in the scientific research sector to adopt SDB for their archiving solution.

August 23, 2011

STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory becomes the first user in the scientific research sector to adopt SDB for their archiving solution.

Oxford, UK | 22 August 2011. Tessella, the international provider of science powered technology and consulting services is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the Science and Technology Facilities Council to set up a pilot of Tessella’s Safety Deposit Box (SDB) to manage part of their scientific data archive.

David Corney, Head of Data Services at RAL said: “SDB integrates perfectly into our scientific data archive.”

The selection follows a successful pilot project used to evaluate the practicality and effectiveness of SDB for storing part of RAL’s data. Initially, datasets from the ISIS neutron spallation experiments will be collected and ingested in to SDB4, together with the metadata required to facilitate long-term management and preservation. SDB4 supports multiple data “tenants” and it is expected that the pilot will be extended to other users such as the British Atmospheric Data Centre.

SDB has been used for many years to store digital assets in memory institutes, but its use in a scientific environment is new. RAL is at the leading edge of digital archiving of scientific data. SDB will enable RAL to assess the benefits of long-term data preservation to scientific research environments.

Jon Tilbury, Director at Tessella said: “We are extremely pleased that RAL has chosen Tessella’s SDB. The flexibility of SDB's Digital Preservation Platform has come to the fore proving that it is a mature business solution ready for widespread adoption by academic and commercial organisations, as well as its traditional success with memory institutions. It is also great to work on a project linking Tessella's scientific heritage with our innovative work in Digital Archiving.”

Tessella will provide RAL with SDB4, the latest version, and will collaborate closely with key individuals from the eScience team and ISIS data administrators.

Tessella’s SDB technology is the leading platform for the preservation of long-term digital records in archives around the world. SDB4 has been designed to help memory institutions (including libraries and archives), who are already skilled at preserving paper material, but face the problems posed by preserving material stored in digital formats.

Pilot users will join the SDB community which includes other archives and libraries such as the UK, Swiss, Malaysian, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, and Austrian State Archives, as well as the Rotterdam Regional Archives, the Wellcome Trust Library and recently Family Search.

Tessella’s Safety Deposit Box (SDB) was developed out of work done in partnership with The National Archives of the UK to help confront the problem of digital preservation. The software, which has already been in use at The National Archives for over six years as the basis of their award-winning Digital Archive system, has been significantly enhanced as part of The National Archives’ Seamless Flow programme.

Tessella has over 30 years of experience supporting scientific research organisations, including RAL, and has a deep appreciation of their long-term data needs. SDB has been constructed to support archiving and preservation of all kinds of scientific and technical data, not simply documents.


Notes to the Editor

About STFC

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is keeping the UK at the forefront of international science and tackling some of the most significant challenges facing society such as meeting our future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and global security.

The Council has a broad science portfolio and works with the academic and industrial communities to share its expertise in materials science, space and ground-based astronomy technologies, laser science, microelectronics, wafer scale manufacturing, particle and nuclear physics, alternative energy production, radio communications and radar.

STFC operates or hosts world class experimental facilities including:

  • In the UK; ISIS pulsed neutron source, the Central Laser Facility, and LOFAR. STFC is also the majority shareholder in Diamond Light Source Ltd.
  • overseas; telescopes on La Palma and Hawaii

It enables UK researchers to access leading international science facilities by funding membership of international bodies including European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

STFC is one of seven publicly-funded research councils. It is an independent, non-departmental public body of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

About Digital Archiving at Tessella

Tessella are world leaders in the provision of Digital Archiving technologies, working with major governments in 7 countries across 3 continents. Tessella's Digital Archiving offerings cover software, consulting, research and support and place us at the cutting edge of this emerging discipline. Our core technology, SDB, is now in its fourth generation and provides stable professionally supported platform with the flexibility to deliver individual customer needs.

For further information visit our dedicated microsite on

About Tessella

Founded in 1980, Tessella is the international provider of science powered technology and consulting services. World leading organizations choose our unique blend of science, engineering and sector expertise to deliver innovative and cost-effective solutions to complex real-world commercial and technical challenges. Our people are high achievers from leading universities and are passionate about delivering value to clients.

For further information visit our dedicated website on

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