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Digital preservation strategy

Digital preservation is a lifecycle concern and an organisation’s shared responsibility. Our digital preservation strategy (2017 – 2020) recognises this and implements a cross-directorate governance structure to ensure it can be achieved. This is not a strategy for the digital preservation team alone, but a strategy for the whole library.


The Library has been working hard since the turn of the millennium to ensure our digital collections can be reliably preserved. As an ‘early adopter’ in digital preservation, we play a leading role in the international digital preservation community. We have developed and enhanced our digital library system and workflows to embed support for long term preservation through such functionality as integrity and fixity checking, content stabilisation, format validation and file characterisation, delivering projects that focus on specific types of content or formats.

We are now consolidating this work to confidently, reliably, and cost-effectively manage and preserve all types of digital content destined for long term preservation, and embed best practice in digital collection content management in all areas of the Library.


Our vision if that by 2020, end-to-end workflows are in place that deliver and preserve our digital collections in a trusted long term digital repository so that they may be accessed by future users. This is fundamental if we are to achieve our corporate 2020 Vision and guarantee access to future generations.

Key Activities

The strategy identifies the key activities required to sustain the value of our digital collections over the next few years. Each priority is accompanied by a series of actions. These priorities are aligned with the Library’s core purposes of custodianship, research, business, culture, learning and international partnership.

In summary our priorities are to:

  • Replace and enhance the existing technical repository infrastructure: A new digital repository and set of preservation tools will be deployed for long term preservation of collection content and metadata.
  • Ingest our digital collections into the new infrastructure for long term preservation: Content and metadata destined for long term preservation shall be ingested into the Library’s new digital repository, regardless of form or type
  • Implement robust processes and reporting mechanisms to provide evidence of preservation: robust processes will provide assurance and evidence that content is appropriately managed and preserved
  • Ensure content can be accessed by the Library’s designated community: Access to digital collections will be timely and reliable.

Full details of each can be found in the full version of our strategy: British Library’s digital preservation strategy 2017 - 2020 (PDF)


PDF files

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Related links

Collection Care

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