The Book


Yannis Tzitzikas and Yannis Marketakis, Cinderella’s Stick – A Fairy Tale for Digital Preservation, Springer 2018, ISBN 978-3-319-98487-2, pp. 1-249


This book aims to explain the main problems related to what is called digital preservation through examples in the context of a fairy tale. Digital preservation is the endeavor of preserving digital material against loss, corruption, hardware/software technology changes, and changes in the knowledge of the community. Digital preservation is important not only for the long run. The better we understand and deal with the problem of digital preservation, the better interoperability of digital content we enjoy today.

The book is addressed to those who would like to understand these problems, even if they lack the technical background.  However, the book also aims to explain (up to some degree) the technical background, to provide references to the main approaches (or solutions) that currently exist for tackling these problems, and to provide questions and exercises appropriate for computer engineers and scientists. To this end, it includes examples and links related to state-of-the art technologies from various areas including Metadata, Linked Data and Semantic Web, Emulation, Software Engineering, Cryptography, Blockchain, Information Identity, Intellectual Property Rights, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning.


This book can be useful to:

  • Persons involved in the management and curationof digital content in digital libraries, archives and museums. The provided examples can give them a taste of the problems and risks, as well as pointers to existing technologies or strategies that can mitigate them.
  • Engineers who use (or design) tools or information systems for digital preservation. The questions and exercises of this book can be an opportunity for practice and even a source of inspiration. The questions and exercises are related to many areas of Computer Science.
  • Engineers and researchers of Computer Science for explaining the main issues at stake of digital preservation.
  • Software designers and engineers for aiding them to understand the digital preservation problem, hoping that this will raise awareness and will affect positively the design of future information systems.
  • Citizens in general due to the increase of the volume and the diversity of the digital objects of our personal archives that already comprise digital artifacts related to almost every aspect of our life. We believe that the examples of this book can give anyone a basic understanding of the related issues and risks, and this understanding could help citizens to plan actions for better preserving their digital artifacts.

Style and Structure

The book starts by giving a modern variation of the well-known fairy tale “Cinderella”. This story is used for gluing together the examples that are given in the chapters and making the reading more interesting. Τhe structure of the book is modular. Each chapter consists of two parts: the episode and the technical background. The episodes narrate the story of the modern variation of the fairy tale in chronological order, exactly as in a fairy tale. Apart from the story itself, each episode is related to one or more digital preservation problems, which are discussed in the technical background section of the chapter. For revealing the more general and abstract formulation of these problems, we use the notion of Pattern. Each pattern has a name, a short description of the problem, a narrative describing one attempt to solve the problem, a description of what could have been done for avoiding or just alleviating this problem, some drawn lessons, and finally, links to related patterns described in other chapters of the book. Finally at the end of each chapter the reader will be able to find links, references and exercises. In comparison to other books on digital preservation, this aims in being short, concise and with concrete examples, while providing links and references for those readers that want to learn more about each topic.


You can find the table of contents here1


Check the product flyer from Springer here