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Digital Preservation

ones-and-zerosNEDCC has provided education on digital preservation since the establishment of its landmark School for Scanning conference (now Digital Directions) in 1995. The resources offered here include tools developed by NEDCC as well as links to organizations that support the research and development of digital preservation tools, standards, and best practices.

Handbook for Digital Projects: A Management Tool for Preservation and Access

Northeast Document Conservation Center
Edited by Maxine K. Sitts, 1st edition, 2000
An easy-to-use primer on managing digital projects for libraries, museums, archives, and other collection-holding institutions. (Out of Print)
Online Version

Stewardship of Digital Assets

In 2007 and 2008, the Northeast Document Conservation Center, in conjunction with PALINET, SOLINET, Amigos Library Services, and the OCLC Western Service Center, and with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, developed a two-day workshop focusing on sustaining digital collections. A faculty of digital experts taught an interactive, hands-on workshop at four locations across the country. Through lectures, case studies, and small-group sessions, participants learned about the long-term needs of the digital information that exists in their institution and how to plan for the preservation of their digital assets.

An outcome of the workshop was the creation of two digital preservation tools: a Digital Stewardship Questionnaire and a Digital Preservation Policy Template. The Questionnaire is intended to help an institution examine the current status of its digital collections care. The Policy Template is intended to lead the user through the steps in writing a skeleton preservation policy.

Digital Preservation Policy Template

Digital Stewardship Questionnaire

Surveying Digital Preservation Readiness

In 2004, the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) partnered with Heritage Preservation, the American Institute for Conservation, the Museum Computer Network, and the Center for Research Libraries to develop a methodology for assessing the preservation needs of digital collections in cultural organizations. With funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, they gathered data on current practices, convened a colloquium of experts to explore the issues, and developed practical planning tools to assist the survey process.

In May 2005, NEDCC conducted an online survey to gather data about the state of digital preservation readiness in cultural organizations. This initial survey showed that many cultural organizations are digitizing without policies in place to deal with long-term preservation of those digital resources. The experts at the colloquium determined that although self-evaluation is important, surveying by consultants will better serve small and medium-sized institutions.

Using the colloquium findings and the survey data, NEDCC worked with consultants Tom Clareson and Liz Bishoff to develop a handbook for surveyors. This and several other tools were developed to help institutions better understand their preservation needs and plan for digital preservation. NEDCC is proud to offer these tools in the hope that cultural organizations will begin planning for long-term preservation of their important digital resources.

Planning for Digital Preservation: A Self-Assessment Tool
(Liz Bishoff, The Bishoff Group, LLC and Erin Rhodes, Consultant)

Planning for Digital Preservation: 20 Questions for Providers of Digital Storage Services
(Bernard Reilly, President, Center for Research Libraries)

Additional Digital Preservation Resources

The following resources provide essential information about current best practices and new developments in the field of digital preservation:

Digital Preservation Reading List
This annotated bibliography has been compiled to acquaint you with the challenges associated with developing a digital preservation plan and repository, and successful strategies for overcoming those challenges.

National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program
(Library of Congress)

An initiative of the Library of Congress, the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) is implementing a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations. Explore the NDIIPP website to find a variety of digital preservation tools, educational opportunities and meetings, and publications by NDIIPP and its partners.

The Signal: Digital Preservation

Started in 2011, "The Signal" is a blog written by staff affiliated with the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP). It is an excellent resource for timely information about new developments in the field of digital preservation, as well as explorations and discussions about the challenges associated with "saving bits."

Digital Curation Centre

The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) is a world-leading center of expertise in digital information curation with a focus on building capacity, capability and skills for research data management across the UK's higher education research community. Developer of the DCC Curation Lifecycle Model, it provides a wealth of best-practice information for the worldwide digital preservation community, including briefing papers, how-to guides, a reference manual, and more.

International Internet Preservation Consortium

The International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) is an international membership organization created to develop tools and standards enabling institutions to collect, preserve, and provide long-term access to websites.