Digital Preservation Capability Assessment

Man holding magnifying glass over a computer.

This project assessed and evaluated the British Library's digital preservation capabilities. Its purpose was to provide input to a scheduled review of the UK Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations.

Published date:

Project outcome

The main outcome of the project was an independently verified review of digital preservation practices as applied to Non-Print Legal Deposit (NPLD) collections within the Legal Deposit Libraries (LDLs).

Finalised in early 2018, the review highlights current strengths and weaknesses and suggests areas of challenge likely to arise in subsequent years.

Key findings of the report include:

  • much of the British Library’s digital preservation practice is exemplary
  • the preservation of NPLD collections represents a challenge for the British Library on behalf of the LDLs - resources, skills and technology need constant renewal
  • the LDLs responded positively, effectively and in a timely manner to the review.

Project recommendations are being implemented and monitored through the Digital Preservation Legal Deposit Implementation Group sub committee. This group was formed on the recommendation of the DPC. It reports directly to the main Legal Deposit Implementation Group and is chaired by the Head of Digital Preservation at the British Library.

Read the Non-Print Legal Deposit Digital Preservation Review (PDF format, 800 KB).

Background to the project

In November 2016 the UK and Ireland Legal Deposit Libraries (LDLs) invited the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) to deliver a project that would assess and evaluate our digital preservation capabilities.

Unlike other aspects of the legal deposit regulations, preservation actions for Non-Print Legal-Deposit are concentrated at the British Library. The assessment  focussed on digital preservation workflows and capabilities at the British Library.

The Digital Preservation Coalition worked closely with the LDLs, in particular the British Library, to undertake this evaluation throughout the course of 2017. 

The project team adapted existing audit tools for digital preservation. These included the Unified Requirements for Core Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repository, formally known as the ‘Data Seal of Approval’ (DSA), which provided the underlying toolkit. The scope of the assessment included processes, data, staffing, skills, planning and policy matters. The language and focus was reviewed to ensure that the metrics were relevant and meaningful within a Legal Deposit Library context.