- Collection care
- Information and records management
- Digital preservation
- Our role
- Digital preservation FAQs
- Digital repository
- Download DROID: file format identification tool
- File format registry (PRONOM)
- Research and collaboration
- What to keep
- Reform of public bodies
- Public inquiry guidance
- Information principles
1. Where do I start in understanding digital preservation?Digital preservation can be viewed as a set of concurrent processes. If you are just starting out, however, it helps to adopt a sequence of broad actions to get into this loop.
- Evaluate the digital records you have, or are likely to receive to identify formats and potential volumes.
- Identify records held on removable storage media (such as memory sticks or floppy disks) with a view to transferring them to a more secure storage environment, such as a server.
- Ensure there are at least two copies of a digital record. This will allow you to work on a copy and allow you to revert to an earlier version if required.
- Develop a system of governance by creating a digital preservation strategy. The strategy should identify the triggers and actions required for active preservation and should be mandated by a digital preservation policy.
Where can I learn more?
There are a number of accessible training courses and literature which will enable your organisation to understand how and why digital preservation is important.
- The Digital Preservation Training Programme
- Guidance from The National Archives on digital preservation
- The Digital Preservation Handbook published by the Digital Preservation Coalition
- The Digital Curation Manual published by the Digital Curation Centre
- JISC provide a number of resources on digital preservation and records management - typically (but not exclusively) for the higher education sector
- The Library of Congress is active in promoting personal archiving to individuals. Its guidelines are suitable if an archives service is asked where to start by private individuals, but would need to be supplemented with your own procedures if intended for future accession.
2. Why is digital preservation featured so prominently in Archives for the 21st Century?
We believe that digital preservation is a vital service development issue for almost all archives, even ones that can only progress in this area through partnerships. There is an increasing demand for storage of, and access to, digital information in a discoverable format and an expectation that the vastly increased public access achieved in recent years will continue to expand.
Funding agencies worried by expenditure on digitisation and other digital projects in the past are tightening their sustainability requirements. Services wishing to have access to these investment sources will need to demonstrate that they can continue to provide access in the future.
Where can I learn more?
Archives for the 21st Century
Archives for the 21st Century in Action
Mind the Gap: Assessing Digital Preservation Needs in the UK
Digital Preservation Self-Assessment
Digital Preservation Coalition