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Programme interministériel archivage numérique

Vitam Program presentation

Three ministries, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Culture, responsible for State archives and records keeping, associated to tackle the challenges of digital archiving for the whole data lifecycle.

The Vitam program for the development of digital archiving software

  • Vitam Program (Values Intangible Transmitted to the Archive for Memory) was validated by the Interministerial Committee of Archives of France (CIAF), 1st july 2013 ;
  • Obtained a favorable decision of Interdepartmental direction of digital and information systems (DINSIC), 4th september 2013 ;
  • An agreement between the three ministries and the Prime minister services signed the 5th march 2015 ;
  • Funded by the Future Investment Program, on the axis « State digital transition and Public action modernization » ;
  • Launched officially and led by DINSIC and CIAF, 9 march 2015.

The 3 objectives of the program

5 projects in the Vitam Program The Program have 3 objectives, standing on 5 projects :

  • The development of an open source software to manage and preserve digital records and archives (back-end). It will ensure to ingest, manage, preserve and provide long-term access to large amount of digital records of administrative as well as archival value ;
  • The implementation of digital archival repositories based on this software in, at least, the three ministries supporting the program. The construction of digital archiving systems using Vitam software, in each of the three ministries, through ministerial projects: Saphir (Foreign Affairs), Adamant (Culture / National Archives) and ArchiPel NG (Defense) ;
  • The largest dissemination and re-use of Vitam software, by fostering and federating all the activities of financial support, advise and support in digital archiving beyond the three ministries carrying the program, via Ad-Essor project (Culture/Interministerial French Archives Service).

Vitam software’s Agile manifesto

The Agile Manifesto is a sentence that takes up the essence of a project, used as a foundation of the Agile methodology. Here is Vitam :

For public agencies,

In order to provide long term acces to their digital information,

Vitam proposes a free archiving software, scalable, simple and easily interfaced and integrated,

Which permits unitary and secured management of billion objects

And targets its adoption by the largest number of public agencies

The software solution project calendar

The commitments are made from the date of notification of public tenders for the development and integration of Vitam, in order to respond quickly to the needs of the sponsoring ministries (Culture, defense and foreign affairs) and of the partners who must insert the software solution in their own development and in their existing Information System. At the beginning of 2016, were awarded different contracts for Vitam realization: the companies HIT-Part and Linagora for the development, the company Smile for an expertise adaptable to the development needs and the company Thalès for Integration and quality (IVVQ) of the software solution. The Vitam software devlopment started in April 2016. In accordance with the schedule settled, the first deliveries took place in 2016, with the publication of the first APIs in July and the delivery of the beta test software to the sponsor and partner ministries on 29 November. The deliveries will go on with a rythm of one production version of the software solution each year in 2017, 2018 et 2019, and an intermediary version every 15 weeks. Program timeline

Each release (approximately every 15 weeks) the Vitam software is publicated on GitHub, under the Cecill V2.1 Open source licence (compatible with GPL V3).

Collaboration the very heart of Vitam Program

The program targeting wide dissemination and re-use, is open to those interested in participating in the realiszation of the software, in implementing the software to create their own digital archiving system or to a larger extend in discussing on the digital archiving issues. This actors benefit of an access to dedicated spaces in the Program collaborative tools and can participate in workshops and working groups. They become members of Vitam community. Collaboration is based on 4 differents levels of partnerships, that vary according to the objectives chosen. The two more important levels are the subject of signed agreements and open participation to the partnership committee.

4 different levels of partnerships of Program Vitam

  1. Participate in technical and functional reflexion: participation in tests (dexport of data, analysis of exports, installation and use of identified tools …), surveys, calls for comment ;
  2. Participate in the test of VITAM software solution: participation in functional and technical tests at the end of major delivery cycles (Releases). These tests aim to verify that the functional and technical requirements of the Vitam software solution are taken into account ;
  3. Implement the software solution: implementation of a digital platform project using the Vitam solution and deliveries from the development phase ;
  4. Give developments and contribute to the community.



Archivists Focus

The Vitam software will enable Departments creating digital archives to ingest them in a certified system, to manage their life-cycle (administrative and archival stages), to search and to access these data. It will also enable Archives services to fulfill their tasks of collecting, ingesting, store, use a preservation planning with a monitored data management policy.

Vitam is an open-source software which is freely reusable. To make a digital archiving system, it will have to be interfaced with other business applications of the Department: Human Resources Information System (HRIS), Document Management System (DMS)… and archive management software used by the Archives services. It can either use its own file system solution or it can be connected with the storage solutions provided by the IT services of the Department. Vitam solution will support any kind of objects: office files, data, pictures, sound recordings, e-mails. Most importantly, it will be able to manage a very large number of objects (up to 10 billion files). It can also be used in a shared context, in order to manage in a single system a multiplicity of producer services with distinct Archives managers.

OAIS model functionalities

The Vitam software meets the standards and norms applicable for archiving (Medona, Seda, NF Z42-013) and is fundamentally based on the OAIS model which divides its functionalities into six areas:

  • Ingest: receive and process ingests (submission information package) prepared by front-end: business applications or manual ingest preparation applications;
  • Storage: storage of archives;
  • Data management: management of descriptive, technical and archival metadata;
  • Administration: technical and functional supervision of the system (logs, statistics, control and monitoring, management of repositories and storage spaces …);
  • Preservation: management of file formats, their obsolescence, strategies and conversion methods;
  • Access: Search, download and view archived data.

… As well as the addition of essential elements for archivists

In order to better serve the core business of French archivists, a specific functional area called « management of current archives » has been added. It regroups all the activities of archives life-cycle management : modification and enrichment of the metadata, destruction, management rules (conservation lasting), declassifying, disposal preparation, transfer to another archiving system. This block of functionalities will allow the archivists to better perform their archive and records management tasks.

Is the Vitam software suitable to the needs of my agency?

The Vitam software matches primarily to entities with a high need for digital archiving (large number of data, frequent access requirements). Here are some questions to help you identify the fit between your agency’s needs and the use of the Vitam software solution.

Participe in the Program Vitam: the archivists’workshops

The way of realization of the software (Agile methodology development) is based on a strong interaction with users through participation in workshops, use-cases reports or feedback. The Vitam team leads functional collaborative workshops with archivists from various public entities (ministries, operators, local authorities). The workshops have two objectives:

  • Express the functional needs for the Vitam software developments (back-end), by a good understanding of the demands,
  • Share the reflections among interministerial projects and partners, on the adaptations of their Archive’s front-end softwares.

The workshops cycles 2015-2017

In 2015, the two workshops carried out by the Vitam team were:

  • The preparation of digital archives Ingests;
  • The Search and access to archives held in digital archiving systems, from the Archives and producer services’ front-end.

The results of this works were published for comment in the first quarter of 2016. In 2017, in parallel with the progress of the Vitam software developments, works will continue on the following subjects:

  • The extraction and processing of documents (format migration, automatic generation of metadata, de-identification …),
  • The digital evidence management,
  • The freeze of Data in judicial proceedings (judicial “set-aside”).