Monday, October 03, 2016

Digital Preservation Priorities: What to preserve?

Digital Preservation Priorities: What to preserve? Chris Erickson. 3 October 2016.
     Recently we have been reviewing the digital preservation policies that we have been working under. The current policy states that the subject specialists (curators, subject librarians, faculty members) who are responsible for a collection should decide what will be preserved in the Rosetta digital archive. They should know the library collection and the collecting policies, as well as the faculty and the university curriculum, and be able to decide what is worth preserving long term. We provide the Digital Preservation Decision Form to help them in their decisions. Currently the choices are to preserve, not to preserve, and the order in which collections needs to be processed.

The amount of content in our digital archive is increasing rapidly. As we plan for the future of the archive, there are questions raised about the number of archival copies, particularly when discussing what content should go into DPN. Those questions in turn raise other questions, including the question of preservation priorities. Are all objects equally important? If not, what are the most important objects or collections to preserve? Should we periodically revisit what is in the archive and deaccession content that is less important? In a world of finite resources we decided that we need to determine our preservation priorities in order to better preserve the important content.

Our goal is to preserve the important digital resources created in, or acquired by, or managed by the University Library and Archives. The proposed change is that the content preserved will be addressed according to the following guidelines, in descending order of importance:
1.      Unique University created content with no physical copy 
2.      Unique University owned items that are At-risk 
3.      Digital content in the library with a physical copy that may be at risk
4.      Digital content that would be difficult or costly to reproduce 
5.      Content digitized for convenience

We will be reviewing our digital collections and deciding if these priorities will help our selection and preservation processes, if they need to be revised, or if we need to go in another direction. We are also looking at implementing levels of preservation along with these priorities.

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