Digital preservation is a multi-faceted endeavor that requires institutional planning and policies, a suitable storage infrastructure, active management, and well thought-out and consistently applied metadata. Careful planning and thoughtful policies will provide a program with concrete, achievable goals and will help to ensure the organizational commitment needed to make a program sustainable over time. A storage infrastructure that addresses the needs of the institution while accounting for the costs involved will promote sustainability as well, and the options described in this chapter will empower organizations to make a thoroughly informed decision. However, without vigilant monitoring and management, the security and fixity of files cannot be assured, no matter how well designed the storage is for digital collections. Metadata that complies with standards and is informed by guidelines will facilitate this monitoring and keep digital audiovisual collections accessible into the future. These components, combined with planned migration of collections to address obsolescence, constitute the makings of an effective digital preservation program for audiovisual collections.
This series of programmatic elements can at first appear daunting to those at repositories seeking to reformat and care for audiovisual media. Developing a sense of your institution’s priorities will make phasing these components into a preservation program possible. The creation of these priorities should take into account their potential impact, feasibility, and urgency. The NDSA Levels of Digital Preservation can provide a helpful framework to further assist in this decision making.
Because a preservation program is so dependent on the unique context of an institution, there is no single correct way to create a program that is sustainable over time. Using the information outlined in this chapter will best prepare you to chart a course that meets your institution’s specific needs at a pace that takes into account the resources available to you. In Chapter 5: Disaster Preparedness and Response, you will learn about the considerations, strategies, and tips that will help you to secure and salvage your collections when faced with an emergency and to ensure that your developing preservation program is ready for the unexpected.