Digital preservation planning in a library association chapter

Digital preservation planning in a library association chapter

The DC Chapter of the Special Libraries Association

As Archivist of the DC Chapter, I lead the Archives Committee in archival and digital preservation initiatives. After a period of limited-to-no activity, our primary goal is to plan strategy and set in place policies and procedures for present and future preservation and collection management.

Where we are now

This year, we developed several areas of work that we would like to accomplish, including drawing up a Collections Management Policy document with a Digital Preservation plan; contributing to the upcoming 75th Anniversary in ways that best suit an archive; and updating and adding to the somewhat skimpy physical collection.

This week, we will present some strategic questions to the Chapter Board, as well as some ideas about how the Archives can contribute to the Chapter’s 75th Anniversary celebrations.

Specifically, we want to focus on opening channels for donations of physical materials, and answering questions about appropriate access and materials for our digital preservation strategy, as well as finding out what digital preservation infrastructure/systems/storage/planning/capturing is already in place.

Digital preservation – part of archival preservation strategy

Starting out this year, my focus was on digital preservation, because it seemed we already had a good physical collection in place. Since then, I have discovered that our physical archives could, in fact, use more attention. Given the meagerness of it, and the lack of Committee documentation to tell us what has been done in the past to collect materials, we have expanded our scope to create a comprehensive Collections Management Policy that includes guidelines and procedures for digital preservation.

Not reinventing the wheel

Why would we want to? So, instead, we’ve come up with a list of relevant digital preservation projects and sites that will help us decide which aspects of digital preservation policies we need for our circumstances. Some of those include

  • Yale University Library’s Digital Preservation Policy  (2007) – Informs overall institution goals for digital preservation, with an easy-to-follow table format of content types, examples of the types, and examples of the formats of each type. Also has a handy glossary of terms and useful list of references (with links!). One of these leads to….
  • The Digital Preservation Coalition Handbook (2009) – A very thorough online guide to digital preservation, with different chapters addressed to different types of audiences (“Digital Preservation” is intended for novices in digital preservation; “Institutional Strategies” is addressed to those with intermediate knowledge of digital preservation).
  • Dartmouth College Library’s Digital Preservation Policy (2012) – Very easy to digest, this one briefly explains life cycle management and digital preservation activities important to Dartmouth. It also lists the key stakeholders, which points out the importance of working with stakeholders, and considering them in the overall planning. Lastly, it has a list of linked “Standards and Best Practices” section, with OAIS, PREMIS, and TRAC.
  • The Library at Wellcome Collection Preservation Policy(2007) – A collection of medical history resources, if you’re not familiar with it – has a pdf file that describes its entire collections policy, for all materials – useful for DC/SLA because we are in need of both a collections management policy and a digital preservation policy. The linked table of contents separates general policies, policies for physical resources, and policies for digital resources.
  • Cornell University Library’s Digital Preservation Management Tutorial (2003-2007) – Winner of the Society of American Archivists Preservation Publication Award, this interactive site leads readers through contextual information about digital preservation, such as precedents, milestones, developments, and emerging technologies. It also describes terms and concepts, threats, challenges, foundations, and program elements of digital preservation.
  • National Library of Australia Digital Preservation Policy 4th Edition (2013) – The most recent of the guides/policies in this list, it provides objectives, broad directions, implementations, scope, challenges, and collaboration needs of digital preservation at the National Library of Australia. References include the Open Planets Foundation, which has news, discussions, and further guidelines on digital preservation.
  • Attributes of Trusted Digital Repositories – OCLC (2002) – Builds on the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS), focuses on what makes a digital repository trustworthy, and what are the responsibilities a repository must fulfill to certified “trustworthy.”

Whew! That’s a lot to read. Best get started.

Do you have any other recommendations for where a small association chapter might find relevant resources for digital preservation (and also collections management)?

Up next

Very shortly, we will present our progress, proposals, and questions to the Chapter Board for consideration, approval, and answers. After which, we will have a better idea of the requirements for our collections policy and preservation.


Image Attribution

Chernilevsky, G. 2009. Image.


One thought on “Digital preservation planning in a library association chapter

  1. Pingback: Making connections within the international community | Cultural Heritage & Information

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