Monday, January 28, 2019

Introduction to Digital Preservation: What is Digital Preservation?

Introduction to Digital Preservation: What is Digital Preservation? Bodleian Libraries, Oxford LibGuides. Aug 28, 2018.    
     Digital preservation at Bodleian Libraries is defined as: "The formal activity of ensuring access to digital information for as long as necessary. It requires polices, planning, resource allocation (funds, time, people) and appropriate technologies and actions to ensure accessibility, accurate rendering and authenticity of digital objects.  A “lifecycle management” approach to digital preservation is taken, where action is done at regular intervals and future activity is planned. This includes policies and recommendations for appraising and selecting digital information to preserve, acknowledging resources are finite."

There are two different kinds of digital preservation:
  1.  Bit-level Preservation: a "very basic level of preservation of the digital object as it was submitted (literally preserving the bits forming a digital object)." It is a beginning step to the more complete set of digital preservation practices and processes that ensure the survival and usability of digital materials over time.
  2. Logical Preservation: The part of preservation management that ensures the continued usability of content by ensuring the existence of a usable manifestation the digital object. Sometimes  referred to as format preservation or active preservation, it includes
  • Understanding what digital materials are in the repository.
  • Identifying threats to the materials and planning actions to be taken for at-risk digital materials
  • Putting things into action 
Defining other terms:
  • "Digital curation involves maintaining, preserving and adding value to digital files throughout their lifecycle—not just at the end of their active lives. This active management of digital files reduces threats to their long-term value and mitigates the risk of digital obsolescence. Digital curation includes digital preservation, but the term adds the curatorial aspects of: selection, appraisal and ongoing enhancement of the object for reuse."It is commonly used in the science and social sciences for research data and is often being replaced with research data management, especially when referring to active digital files.
  • Digital archiving is often used interchangeably with digital preservation in archives. It has two main definitions used by computing personnel and archivists and librarians respectively. Recognize both definitions of the term and be aware of the audiences that use this term differently.
    1. The process of storage, backup and ongoing maintenance as opposed to strategies for long-term digital preservation
    2. the long-term storage, preservation and access to information that is "born digital" or for which the digital version is considered to be the primary archive 
  • Digital Stewardship, more commonly used in the US, "combines both curation and preservation—the active life of a digital asset and its continual preservation afterwards for long-term use. But this school of thought splits digital curation & digital preservation into two separate categories and then uses digital stewardship as the umbrella term."
The Bodleian Librarians consider digital preservation to be a "holistic term that includes aspects of digital curation and stewardship". They work with creators to organise and manage their digital objects to preserve them, to follow best practice for creation and managing active files so that they will be easier to manage and provide access to in the long-term.

See also: