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Digital Preservation Policy and Strategy: A simple framework for overcoming digital information overwhelm and self-defeat

9 Oct 2018


Athenaeum21 is pleased to announce the publication of the book Digital Preservation: Preparing for a Sustainable Future. Athenaeum21 co-founders, Christine Madsen and Megan Hurst, authored the book’s chapter “Digital Preservation Policy And Strategy: Where Do I Start?” The chapter is based on the authors’ extensive experience leading digital preservation projects in multiple contexts, and their intimate understanding of the obstacles and pitfalls that confront all organizations trying to successfully establish digital records management, digital archive, and digital preservation initiatives.



Digital preservation policies should be designed in such a way that they will actually be used and referred to.


“As organizations of all types increasingly create, collect, and disseminate collections of digital data and information, preservation policies and strategies are more important than ever. While information and data preservation have historically been, and will continue to be, the domains of libraries and museums, the centrality of digital information and data as organizational and intellectual property means that publishers and nearly all contemporary organizations should have digital preservation strategies and policies in place.


The phrase digital preservation can be used to encompass a wide range of activities, from best practices in file-naming and directory structures to fixity-checking, digital forensics, and format migration. It is therefore not surprising that when organizations set out to create digital preservation policies, the process can turn into a never-ending and increasingly detailed exercise in documenting all digital activities. This can be overwhelming and self-defeating.


Digital preservation policies should therefore be designed in such a way that they will actually be used and referred to, actively enabling the work of preservation, and they should align with the organization’s overall digital strategy. This chapter presents a simple framework for getting started (or restarted) on digital preservation in any organization.”


Comprehensive and global in scope, Digital Preservation In Libraries: Preparing for a Sustainable Future includes case studies and contributions that discuss key digital preservation issues. The book is available for pre-order now, for shipping in Fall 2018.


Does your organization need help setting a digital preservation policy and strategy? Athenaeum21 can help. Contact us for a complimentary conversation about your needs.

About Athenaeum21 Consulting

Athenaeum21 (A21) is an international digital strategy and technology planning consultancy serving organizations that want to derive more value from their past and future investments in data, information, intellectual property, and the technologies designed to manage them. A21’s approach includes data-driven, iterative assessment, strategy, and implementation, always aligning organizational missions and goals with end-user needs and behaviors. A21 clients include leading organizations in the research and development, publishing, higher education, and cultural heritage sectors in North America and Europe.


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