Digital Preservation Policy
Approved by Library Leadership Team on April 2021
In this policy, the Robert L. Bogomolny Library (the Library) formalizes a sustained commitment to the long-term preservation of and access to the unique digital assets and collections created and held by the Library and all of its stakeholders.
As defined by the American Library Association (ALA), digital preservation is the combination of “policies, strategies and actions that ensure access to digital content over time” (1. 2.). This definition implies the need for more action than is required to make digital objects accessible, and requires active management and ongoing planning to ensure long-term preservation.
The Library’s digital preservation program contributes to the Library’s mission to ensure the preservation of and access to information, resources, learning spaces, and technology in order to cultivate knowledge creation within members of the University of Baltimore campus, the Baltimore metropolitan area, and beyond. The Robert L. Bogomolny Library endeavors to be the physical and digital nexus for information preservation, access, learning, and knowledge creation at the University of Baltimore.
In accordance with the Library’s mission and strategic goals to preserve and provide access to information, this policy and digital preservation program codifies the continued preservation of digital collections while ensuring access to users.
Policy Statement and Review
This policy addresses the preservation of digital collections and resources managed by the Library. This policy is subject to change and may be revised and updated at any time to reflect any changes in technology, infrastructure, and archival standards used in the digital preservation program.
Once the policy is completed and approved, it will be formally reviewed annually in order to manage and be appropriately revised. An informal review process may also take place on an ad-hoc basis.
Stakeholders and Audience
The intended audience for this policy includes staff, archivists, and librarians of the RLB Library across all departments.
The objectives of this digital preservation policy include:
- Establish and communicate a commitment within the Library for digital preservation to the Library’s user community
- Define and explain the scope of digital preservation, and the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders to the Library’s user community
- Identify digital assets and provide tools that facilitate perpetual access to materials
- Use international digital preservation practices and standards including the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Levels of Preservation Version 2 to scaffold digital preservation practices that reflect current best practices
- Utilize and support a Digital Preservation Task Force that consists of the user community
- Standards-Based: Comply with the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model ISO Standard 14721 and aim to conform to certification requirements for ISO Standard 16363 for Trusted Digital Repositories.
- Quality Metadata: Capture and maintain quality and useful metadata for all preserved digital content.
- Technically Robust: Commit to a reliable and scalable digital archive
- Authentic: Maintain local procedures to meet archival requirements pertaining to authenticity and integrity of content (provenance; chain of custody; etc.).
- Community-Minded and Collaborative: Adhere to prevailing community standards for preserving access to digital content of long-term value and contribute back to that community when possible. Participate in consortia and collaborative digital preservation solutions when they are a good use of Libraries resources.
- Up-to-Date: Document policies and procedures openly and consistently.
- System Management and Feasibility: Consider the preservation implications of any systems designed or implemented to manage digital content and allocate adequate resources and infrastructure for sustained digital preservation.
- Digital Storage Maintenance and Security: Collaborate with UB campus IT as they maintain hardware and software -- as well as storage media -- containing archival content in keeping with prevailing best practices, including adherence to environmental standards, quality control specifications, and security requirements.
- Security and Preparedness: Collaborate with UB IT as they maintain adequate and secure backup and disaster recovery safeguards and monitor threats to the accessibility of digital content.
- Legal Compliance: Comply with intellectual property, copyright, and ownership rights for preservation of and access to all content.
- Engage in Partnerships: Partner with parties within the institution and external to the institution to support the goals of the Digital Preservation Policy, to further develop our digital preservation system, and to serve the collective desire to preserve digital content.
The policy addresses the preservation of digital materials for which the Library (including all departments and the Special Collections & Archives) is the primary custodian and includes digital materials (born-digital or digitized) created by the Library which have archival value. The Library cannot guarantee preservation of materials that we do not directly own or manage. The Library cannot commit to preserving materials for which we do not know what needs to be preserved; can’t judge the extent of the commitment; and/or has not been funded to preserve the material.
- Digital surrogates created (internally or externally) by the Library and Special Collections & Archives. This includes:
- Digitized materials not available in analog
- Digitized materials available in analog
- Born-digital materials created by the Library departments for internal or external use with permanent value
- Digital materials which have been transferred or deposited with the Library and Special Collections & Archives
- In the future this may include web content created by the Library
- The content sources may exist in various types:
- Textual materials (records, papers, articles, lesson plans, etc.: PDF, DOCX, ASCII, HTML, XML)
- Images (scanned materials, digital images and art: TIFF, JPEG, JPEG2000)
- Audiovisual materials (digitized or born digital video and audio resources: Accept all formats at this point including: MOV, WAV, MPEG, AVI, MP4
Roles and Responsibilities:
The Digital Preservation Task Force : a group of existing archivists and librarians at the Library who hold permanent or annual membership. The task force develops the goals and direction of the Digital Preservation Program. The task force investigates and assesses digital preservation tools and solutions and presents findings to the Library Administration for review. The task force creates this digital preservation policy and workflow for the library and is responsible for updating it as needed.
Leadership/Library Administration: Directors or head of each department in the library that govern and implements policy in the library. Leadership will support and collaborate with the task force members on goals. Library leadership will review, approve, and integrate the outcomes of task force findings and reports into library policy and their respective department goals to create an environment of uniform accountability and progress.
Producers (Library Faculty and Staff and Archives Donors) : Producers are the creators of the content included in the Digital Preservation Program. Producers create or use digital materials that have lasting or archival value. Producers will be responsible for managing materials prior to transfer to the archives. This includes: identifying materials in need of long-term preservation, providing appropriate description for those materials prior to transfer to the Digital Preservation Program, using and submitting acceptable file formats to include in the digital preservation program, and for communicating with the task force when there are materials in need of preservation.
Consumers: All internal and external users including but not limited to: researchers, students, UB library and university faculty, and non-UB university faculty, the general public, or other organizations who use content identified for digital preservation or currently stored in the digital archive. Consumers are responsible for honoring applicable copyright restrictions, licensing agreements, and Library policies.
IT Services: The University Office of Technology Services (OTS) with the support of the Integrated Digital Services (IDS) department of the Library are responsible for the maintenance and security of the servers, digital preservation tools and software, networks, and storage systems employed by the Digital Preservation Program. OTS, IDS, and the Digital Preservation Task Force ensure that the Digital Preservation Program systems and tools are working properly and efficiently in a sustainable manner.
Challenges, Risks, and Incentives
Digital preservation programs face challenges and risks such as:
- Training and Expertise : To remain current in the field of digital preservation, task force members and IT services must engage in continuing educational opportunities and/or new membership must possess current knowledge in the field.
- Rapid growth : The materials held by and created by the Library departments are large and complex. For example, the digital collections managed by the Special Collections & Archives grow constantly and the resources created by other Library departments are increasingly born-digital. Managing these materials requires an investment in technology, resources, and staffing that must meet the demands and obligations of the Digital Preservation Program.
Change, Sustainability, and Support: The sustainability of staffing, organizational infrastructure and support, and rapid growth may occur faster than the Digital Preservation Program can adapt which could put the goals of the program in jeopardy. Technology changes frequently along with acceptable formats, and dissemination and preservation mechanisms and platforms. As the Digital Preservation Program grows it will be vital that the Library monitor the changing needs of materials, and update policies and procedures. The Library should dedicate sufficient funding to support the Digital Preservation Program.
- Communication: All participating parties (the Digital Preservation Task Force, IT professionals, and Library Administration) must commit to clear, open, honest communication regarding the Program. Regular reports and documentation should be provided to relevant parties.
Born-digital: Information created in electronic format.
Digital surrogate: materials that were originally created in analog form, but were reformatted into digital form, usually for preservation and access
Metadata: A characterization or description documenting the identification, management, nature, use, or location of information resources (data).
Open Archival Information System (OAIS): A high-level model that describes the components and processes necessary for a digital archives, including six distinct functional areas: ingest, archival storage, data management, administration, preservation planning, and access.
- Rockefeller Archive Center Digital Preservation Policy https://rockarch.org/programs/digital/DigPresPolicy.php
- Digital Preservation Policy: Libraries - Northwestern University https://www.library.northwestern.edu/about/administration/policies/digital-preservation-policy.html
- Digital Preservation Policy | Northern Illinois University Digital Library https://digital.lib.niu.edu/policy/digital-preservation/digital-preservation-policy
- North Carolina Digital Preservation Policy https://digitalpreservation.ncdcr.gov/digital_preservation_policy_dcr.pdf
- Digital Preservation Step by Step by the Orbis Cascade Alliance to assist https://orbiscascadeccd.github.io/digprezsteps/instructions.html
- A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology https://www2.archivists.org/glossary
- NDSA Levels of Preservation: https://ndsa.org/activities/levels-of-digital-preservation/