Integrated Preservation Suite

British Library staff member looking purposefully at computer screens

The Integrated Preservation Suite (IPS) is a project to improve our preservation planning capabilities for our digital collections. It will do this through the preservation of software and capture of information about digital formats and hardware. This will ensure access to our current and future digital content for the long term.

Published date:

Aims of the project

One of the biggest threats to the long-term preservation of digital content is technical obsolescence. Technological obsolescence is the inevitable by-product of technical advancement. It threatens ongoing access to items stored in old formats or created on legacy computing environments.

If the Library does nothing to manage obsolescence, we'll be unable to provide access to our digital collections beyond the lifespan of the technologies used to create them. So there is a need for memory institutions like the British Library to develop preservation planning functionality that can help monitor and manage obsolescence.

The Integrated Preservation Suite (IPS) is the Library's project to develop such a preservation planning functionality. The project aims to minimise the preservation risks facing our digital collections and to help us achieve our mandate as a national long-term memory institution.

Components of the project

The project is developing three essential system components that will operate alongside the Library's existing infrastructure:

  1. a technical registry for gathering and linking information about file formats, software, hardware, tools, and storage media
  2. a policy and planning repository, a database for the Library's policy and planning information, incorporating things like preservation policies, collection profiles, as well as collection-specific preservation plans
  3. a software repository that stores and is able to provide access to current and legacy software, e.g. for the implementation of preservation plans and for file rendering.

These three components are integrated by a preservation workbench, which provides interfaces between these components and other parts of the Library's digital infrastructure.