Data preservation, or more specifically, digital data preservation, refers to the series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary. This broad definition of data preservation refers to all of the actions required to maintain access to digital materials beyond the limits of media failure or technological change. Long-term preservation can be defined as the ability to provide continued access to digital materials, or at least to the information contained in them, indefinitely.

A sustainable preservation program should address organizational issues, technological concerns and the digital curation/data management process.

Organizational infrastructure includes the policies, procedures, practices and people — the basic elements of data preservation requirements. This includes the purpose, scope and objectives of the organizations; the legal and regulatory framework, and all aspects of funding and resource planning.

Technological concerns deals with the IT architecture of the organization. That is, the requisite equipment, software, hardware, skills, a secure environment and an updated media monitoring and refreshment strategy.

Data curation refers to the active management of data through its life cycle of interest and usefulness to a designated community. Data curation activities enable data discovery and retrieval, maintain its quality, add value, and provide for re-use over time. As such, it includes all processes in the organization that involves data management. That is, pre-ingest initiatives; ingest functions; archival storage and preservation; and disseminating and providing access to data for its designated community.


Sources/Recommended reading:

DPC Digital Preservation Handbook

IHSN: Principles and Good Practice for Preserving Data. IHSN Working Paper No 003. December 2009.

CCSDS: Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS).

Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories. Magenta Book. Issue 1. September 2011.

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