2.2 Preservation Policies

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According to JISC Briefing Paper, “Digital Preservation is the series of actions and interventions required to ensure continued and reliable access to authentic digital objects for as long as they are deemed to be of value" (Pennock 2006).

Preservation, then, is the heart of a repository, and often it is what distinguishes a repository from other facilities that store data. A Digital Preservation Policy is a part of the preservation environment of the Data Repository. Its content includes the information about (i) an organizational framework in terms of the mission, selection and acquisition, access and use of data; (ii) potential challenges such as legal issues or the role technological progress; (iii) principles for the guidelines of the Data Preservation like the main strategy, principles in terms of standards and co‐operation, well‐documented and traceable processes, transparency and trustworthiness and technical infrastructure; (iv) roles and responsibilities for the different types of work that Data Preservation requires and potential coordination between teams (following C. Links to examples - Digital Preservation Policy in GESIS, Schumann 2013). 

Digital Preservation Policies aim to determine the rules, the responsibilities, the roles and the system of monitoring data management within a Data Repository.

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Preservation Policies should be in line with the core mission of the organization as well as the legal framework in order to ensure permanent accessibility to archives' holdings or secure access to specific datasets (sensitive data, data under embargo period, etc.). Repositories need to determine the scope of preservation actions by identifying the collections to be preserved, their significance and the desired preservation period: how, for how long, and under which specific access conditions/restrictions.

Resilient preservation makes an archive trustworthy towards designated communities of users, data providers, funding institutions and policy makers.

Relevant sections from Chapter 1

1.2 What does an archive look like and what does it do?

1.5 What is a certified archive?

Links to examples

Digital Preservation Policy. Principles of digital preservation at the Data Archive for the Social Sciences. GESIS. Retrieved from: http://www.gesis.org/fileadmin/upload/institut/wiss_arbeitsbereiche/datenarchiv_analyse/DAS_Preservation_Policy_eng.pdf

Preservation policy template for repositories. Digital Curation Coalition (DCC). Retrieved from: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Preservation%20policy%20template.pdf

Preservation Policy. UKDA. Retrieved from:  http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/media/54776/ukda062-dps-preservationpolicy.pdf

Digital Preservation Policies: Guidance for archives. The National Archives. Retrieved from: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/information-management/digital-preservation-policies-guidance-draft-v4.2.pdf

What to consider when creating or adapting a Preservation Policy

A Preservation Policy should clearly define the scope of materials covered, specifying data and metadata for example. Because preservation activities affect other areas of the repository, such connections should be considered.  External guidelines and standards are also often relevant, as are considerations about long-term sustainability.