The increasing amount of born-digital materials being created and the increased focus on retrospective digitization has created a significant need for digital preservation initiatives. While there is no one definition of digital preservation, a broad definition is all activities required to ensure long-term retention and usability of digital objects. Although digital preservation is beneficial, there can be risks involved. Digital Library Services can help you navigate the digital preservation process.
There is no way to guarantee that files will remain completely preserved. Bit rot is one complication that can occur to preserved files. Bit rot is the disintegration of files. It can occur over time and causes files to become damaged. Other complications that can arise are changes or discontinuation of software. A file may be in perfect condition, but if there is no longer an application to run it, it is useless. There are steps one can take to avoid bit rot and dependence on particular software programs through certain preservation strategies.
Preservation helps to ensure that digital files are sustainable and accessible for the long term. Files may need to be moved from one storage device to another or converted to another format to accomodate possible software changes or other unforeseen changes.
Digital Library Services can give advice on proper encoding, file naming, and file format to help assure the longevity of your digital assets. We can also advise on a strategy for long term digital preservation. DLS uses Fedora as a repository for digital objects, allowing digital assets to be indexed, searched, and preserved in one system. Thus far, Digital Library Services has provided this service for Special Collections, but is available to discuss digital preservation in Fedora for other interested parties.
BePress provides open access scholarly publishing services. The Library uses BePress as an institutional repository for the preservation of several collections and plans to use it to provide more open access journals.
- National Digital Information Infrastructure & Preservation Program from the Library of Congress
- Digital Preservation from Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
- What is Digital Preservation? from Digital Preservation Europe
- Digital Preservation Management from Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
Best Practices and Standards
- Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities
- Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)
- Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification (TRAC): Criteria and Checklist
- Research reports from Digital Library Federation, Commission on Preservation and Access, and Council on Library and Information Resources