Digital Preservation Committee

Recommendation to IAC

For a Reconstituted Committee

16 Oct 2006


The Digital Preservation Committee (DPC) recommends that a new group be formed to replace the DPC. This group will continue to establish digital preservation best practices for Yale University. We are making this recommendation due to the imminent installation of a repository framework and development of repository services.


DPC and Repository Services: The DPC views the selection of VITAL/Fedora by the library as the fulfillment of our charge to recommend a system to support digital preservation. We believe the remaining crucial work for the YUL toward establishing a digital preservation program involves promulgating best practices. These topics are numerous, complex and dynamic. We recognize that the list of issues to be addressed is long and current thinking is rapidly evolving as a deeper understanding of digital preservation emerges from our community. We recommend that a new group be established as outlined in our Digital Curation Proposal to continue to research, recommend and establish digital preservation best practices for Yale University.


Background: DPC Charge

The DPC is charged to promulgate a digital preservation policy, establish best practices, and recommend the technical infrastructure (a system) to support digital preservation. Our charge reads:

        Develop a digital preservation program by evaluating, compiling, documenting and articulating policies, procedures, best practices and systems in order to establish a digital preservation infrastructure at Yale University Library.

        The committee will work from a base of clearly articulated policies, then will focus on preservation program planning and, finally, will make recommendations for implementation through digital preservation projects, initiatives, and system development.


Status of Work:

The DPC:

        Published a Digital Preservation policy. This policy addresses several specific deliverables specified in our charge:

o       Establishing a mission statement.

o       Publishing a policy statement

o       Promulgating preservation policies for institutional standards governing the quality, type and source of digital assets to be archived in the repository.

        With the recommendation for the establishment of a Digital Curation Center and the identification of digital preservation cost centers, the DPC addressed the establishment of a business model for an affordable and sustainable program to the extend that is possible given the nascent nature of digital preservation programs. Our expectation is that this model will develop to more clearly identify real cost projections as the financial implications of digital preservation become more apparent.

        The current work of the PREMIS task force, a joint Metadata and DPC group, is establishing core preservation metadata elements to be used to manage digital resources of all kinds.


As indicated above, digital preservation issues and problems are numerous, complex and dynamic. The list of best practices to be addressed is long and current thinking is rapidly evolving as a deeper understanding of digital preservation emerges within the library community.


To date we have addressed the following issues:

        System Infrastructure: Repository Backup Function and Repository Services

        System Infrastructure: Repository Functions on Well Supported Operating Systems and Other Core Infrastructure:

        System Infrastructure: Operating System and Software Obsolescence and Failure

        System Infrastructure: Taxonomy of Threats

        Persistent Identifiers

        Fixity (Checksums, message digest and digital signatures)

        Registries: Collection, Format, etc.

        Encapsulation: METS & RDF

        Handling the Original; Guidelines for Digitization (in process)




Digital Preservation Committee

Rebekah Irwin

David Gewirtz

Kevin Glick

Audrey Novak

Bobbie Pilette