Digital preservation workflows

As part of Plugged in Powered Up, we commissioned guidance on digital preservation workflows. In this guidance, a workflow is a number of connected steps that need to be followed from start to finish in order to complete a process. The guidance aims to support archives in the UK to move into active digital preservation work by providing those who look after archives with:

  • Practical examples of workflows for managing born digital content, which you can change and use in your own organisation
  • Actions for how to process and preserve born digital content, including using free software

You do not need a significant level of digital preservation knowledge in order to follow the guidance and key terminology is explained in the glossary.

Further guidance on digital collections can be found on our Preserving digital collections webpages.


Developing workflows for digital preservation is a key way to actively manage the digital records you are responsible for.

1. Select and transfer

This workflow describes the process of selecting the content and obtaining it from the depositor.

2. Ingest

This workflow describes how you prepare the content so it is ready for preserving at the next stage.

3. Preserve

This workflow describes the process of transferring content to secure storage and preserving it.

4. Access

This workflow describes the process of making content easy to find and accessible for users.


The below glossary is a list of common terms used in digital preservation that are included in the workflow guidance.