Developing a digital preservation strategy and policy

The aim of your digital preservation strategy should be to achieve consistency in the management of digital records. Your strategy should identify the actions required for active preservation. It can be part of an integrated preservation approach, in line with requirement 2.4 of the Archive Service Accreditation Standard. It should provide:

  • a formal means of accepting records, including an agreed standard for file formats and levels of description for the records
  • a secure process for transferring records into storage and then managing them appropriately (including integrity checks) 
  • a way of mapping processes to capture the descriptive information into a searchable database linked to the records to allow them to remain discoverable
  • a formal means of providing the content of the preserved records to users in the most appropriate format for the content of the record
  • a rigorous system for monitoring the preservation activities that can produce usable audit data

The extent to which each process is used will be dependent on the size and the extent of the collection.

The digital preservation strategy should be supported by a policy. The policy should join digital preservation to the business outcomes of the organisation by:

  • allocating responsibility and ownership of the policy to a senior role within the organisation (a director or head of service)
  • directing procedures to be followed and referencing any internal guidance
  • aligning the digital preservation policy with other relevant policies including record management, freedom of information and data protection, information security and the preservation policy for analogue records
  • supporting the digital preservation strategy and over-arching system of governance

Learn more:

Digital preservation policies: guidance for archives
JISC Digital Preservation Policy Study