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Digital preservation: what we do

Our work programme is informed by the requirements of our strategy. The current programme combines technical development with curatorial assessments to deliver, embed, and promote digital preservation best practice across the Library.

Activities target the entire lifecycle of digital content, from thinking about acquiring digital content, to appropriate management prior to ingest in our long term repository and long term preservation in the repository. Our digital preservation team lead these activities in conjunction with colleagues in other areas of the Library.

Collection profiling

We work with curatorial staff across the Library to generate Collection Profiles. These are policy documents that detail the preservation principles associated with each high level content type (e.g. e-theses, e-books, web archives, e-manuscripts, geospatial data etc.) and the variations in content type that may require particular attention. These Collection Profiles identify the content specific and general preservation requirements associated with a collection and provide benchmarks against which particular tools or actions can be assessed.

Tests and assessments

We run independent tests of preservation tools (e.g. for migration, quality assurance and file integrity) to assess outcomes against the requirements laid down in the collection profiles and our digital preservation policy. Alongside this, we run independent file format assessment exercises, profiling formats against a set of high level preservation principles to determine which are most suitable for long term preservation and are recommended for use as preservation master formats. This work informs content management activities throughout the lifecycle but in particular for our long term repository.

Repository Management

As business owners of the Library’s long term digital repository, we manage the system to ensure compliance with the Library’s digital preservation policy and provide assurance that the Library’s digital collections are properly managed and preserved for future generations.  The Digital Preservation Team runs regular assessments of stored collections to make recommendations on changes to their management that will facilitate preservation in the short term. We also run regular assessments of our long term repository and are establishing a preservation watch to alert the Library of impending obsolescence or other risks that are likely to manifest unless action is taken imminently.

Working with the community

In addition to these internal activities, we participate in a number of externally funded, collaborative projects and feed the results of that research through into our internal activities. We also belong to a small number of expert digital preservation organisations. More details about our external collaborations are available here.


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Collection Care

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