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Digital preservation

The British Library collects and must preserve an increasing amount of digital material for future users. The diversity of digital material and the frequent changes in computer technology present ongoing challenges for long term preservation and access. The Library is at the cutting edge of international research in this area and our digital preservation team works closely with colleagues across the Library to improve the longevity of our digital collections.

The challenge of digital preservation

The British Library is committed to preserving digital content for the long term, safeguarding our intellectual heritage so that it can be used by future researchers. The rapid rate at which technology is evolving and the relative transience of digital content make this a significant challenge.

Our British Library's Digital Preservation Team undertakes the R&D necessary to ensure the Library is able to implement the right technology to support digital preservation, at the right time.

A strategy for digital preservation

In 2013 we released the first of a two part strategy intended to help us achieve our 2020 vision. The second part of the strategy has now been released that clearly explains our focus for the next three years.

You can read more about our current strategy here.

What we do

Our work programme combines technical development with curatorial research to deliver policies, best practice and recommendations for operational units across the Library. The programme is directly linked to our strategy and strategic priorities. Areas of activity include policy and preservation planning, collection profiling, risk assessments, legacy content preservation, content sampling, repository management, and tool development. We work closely with colleagues across the Library to ensure these activities meet core business needs and we monitor operational activities across the Library to ensure recommendations are appropriately implemented.

Read more about our current programme of work.

National and international collaboration

Digital preservation is a global challenge. We have participated in several national and international initiatives since 2004 to advance the state of the art and state of the practice in digital preservation. Details of our major past and current collaborative activities can be foundĀ  here.

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