Friday, August 05, 2011

Economics and Digital Preservation: Final Report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access

Economics and Digital Preservation: Final Report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access.  Fran Berman and Brian Lavoie. Library of Congress. July 21, 2011. PDF. [Old link has disappeared. To read, use the 2015 link]
Digital Preservation is both a technical and economic problem. There must be solutions to both for there to be success.  Even the most elegant technical solution is no solution at all if it is not economically sustainable.  Some of the challenges they list:
  • “One‐time” funding models are inadequate to address persistent long‐term access and preservation needs
  • Poor alignment between stakeholders in the digital preservation and access world and their roles, responsibilities and support models
  • Lack of institutional, enterprise, and/or community incentives to support the collaboration needed to enforce sustainable economic models
  • Complacency that current practices are “good enough” and / or the problem is not urgent.
  • Fear that digital access and preservation is too big to take on
Stakeholders are:
  • Those who benefit from use of a preserved asset
  • Those who select what to preserve
  • Those who own or have rights to an asset
  • Those who preserve the asset
  • Those who pay
There is no magic bullet, and there is no "free" solution.


1.        Create Sustainability‐friendly policies and mandates
2.        Invest in preservation infrastructure
3.        Create preservation‐aware communities
a.        Create public public‐private partnerships to align distinct stakeholder groups
b.        Convene expert communities to address the selection and preservation needs of valuable materials for which there is no stewardship
4.        Raise awareness
a.        Provide leadership in training and education For 21st century digital preservation,
b.        Promote digital preservation skills and awareness
5.        Take individual responsibility
a.        Provide nonexclusive rights to preserve and distribute created content
b.        Partner with preservation experts throughout the data lifecycle to ensure your data will be maintained in a form that will be useful over the long term
c.        Pro‐actively participate in professional organizations to create best practices and selection priorities.

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