Digital preservation research and projects

British Library staff members looking purposefully at computer screens

Digital preservation is an emergent and rapidly developing field. It must both anticipate and respond to changes in the wider technical environment. The British Library maintains an active research and development (R&D) programme to achieve this.

Integrated Preservation Suite project (IPS)

Our main R&D project is the Integrated Preservation Suite (IPS). This will deliver a collection of linked and scalable technical components to devise, test and run preservation plans. These linked components will mitigate against risks like technological obsolescence.

Technological obsolescence is the inevitable by-product of technical advancement that threatens ongoing access to items stored in legacy formats or created on legacy computing environments. If we do nothing to manage it then we will be unable to provide access to our digital collections beyond the lifespan of the technologies within which they were created.

Our areas of research

Other areas of research include:

  • software preservation
  • representation information registries
  • digital forensics
  • emulation
  • virus checking
  • information packaging
  • preservation of mobile eBook apps
  • format analyses
  • requirements for the preservation of new and emerging formats of digital content

You can read more about many of these initiatives on our dedicated project pages.

Previous projects

  • SCAPE (2011 – 2014)
  • APARSEN (2011 – 2014)
  • SPRUCE (2012-2013)
  • AQuA (2011)
  • POCOS (2009-2011)
  • Planets (2006-2010)
  • LIFE: LIFE 1 (2005-2006), LIFE 2 (2007-2008),  LIFE 3 (2009-2010)
  • InSPECT (2007-2009)
  • Preserv: Preserv 1 (2005-2007), Preserv 2 (2007-2009)
  • EVIE (2004-2007)


Digital Preservation Capability Assessment

This project looked at our preservation capabilities as applied to digital legal deposit material


We will preserve and give you access to content on thousands of CD-ROMs in our collections.

Integrated Preservation Suite

We're tackling the threat of technical obsolescence facing our digital collections

Emerging Formats

This project builds our ability to collect publications designed for mobile devices that respond to reader interaction or are structured as databases.

All projects