Yale University Library

Integrated Access Council

Digital Preservation Committee



Long-term access to digital collections through systematic preservation is a strategic goal for Yale University Library.


The practice of storing human knowledge in electronic formats has forever changed the way librarians and archivists think about the collection and preservation of the cultural record. In contrast to our lengthy experience with paper documents, today we face new challenges as we safeguard from technological obsolescence and media decay the integrity of digital assets. The University Library aggressively creates and acquires electronic collections, but these holdings are as vulnerable as sand castles on a beach unless protected by a digital preservation program.  Access to digital objects is as short lived as the next technological wave. Technology waves therefore are a direct challenge to the Library's mission to be a custodian of human knowledge. To remain a good steward of the cultural record the Library must establish a digital preservation infrastructure.  (Paraphrased from:  Integrated Access Objectives Planning Report to LMC, 21 Sep 2002, http://www.library.yale.edu/lmc/public/Integrated%20Access%20OPG%20Report%20(Intro)%2009.25.02.pdf .


With the establishment of the Digital Preservation Committee, the Integrated Access Council is sponsoring a 36-month planning and development process to achieve this end.



The charge to the Digital Preservation Committee is to develop a preservation program that ensures digital information of continuing value will remain persistent, accessible and usable. The committee will evaluate, compile, document and articulate 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.


The preservation framework developed by the DPC will:

-         Promulgate preservation policies, procedures and best practices for the following:

o       institutional standards governing the quality, type and source of digital assets to be archived in the repository

o       core preservation metadata elements to be used to manage digital resources of all kinds (as developed by the IAC Metadata Committee)

o       a scheme for managing whole classes of digital objects with differing life cycles and access requirements

o       commitments to preserving digital objects themselves and all the information required to authenticate, understand, present, and manage them,

o       digital migration strategies; emulation of hardware and software platforms; data recovery

o       the integration of the digital preservation program among the Library's core services.

-         Identify and determine compliance with current and emerging standards embraced by the preservation community, (e.g., Open Archival Information System (OAIS) standard),

-         Establish a business model for an affordable and sustainable program,

-         Articulate implications of implementing the preservation policies and program, assign preservation priorities based upon clear and available guidelines.

-         Working with the ILTS, ITS and other departments as needed, identify suitable hardware, software, expertise and techniques for long-term, mass storage of digital assets,

-         Establish appropriate security and rights management guidelines.


The DPC will serve as a focal point for digital preservation in the University Library. The Committee will act as a liaison to the Library's and external digital preservation projects and initiatives including:  LOCKSS, ERA, Fedora, institutional repositories research project, the IAC Metadata Committee, PREMIS, METS, Format Registry, etc.


The DPC will also address and establish training and outreach mechanisms for testing, implementation and adoption of these policies, procedures and best practices.

The DPC will raise the awareness and interest in digital life cycle and preservation concerns by developing information sessions open to Yale faculty and staff regarding developments such as rights management, format registries, persistent naming.  It will also report to the IAC on a quarterly basis.


The IAC is establishing a 3-year planning and development process.



The expectation is that the DPC's work will evolve over time. The DPC will establish an annual project plan that identifies deliverables for the upcoming 12 months.  Deliverables for the first year include:

            - A digital preservation mission statement.

            - The publication of a digital preservation policy statement.

            - The publication of a road map to a digital preservation program.

            - Time lines for digital preservation projects, initiatives, and implementation strategies.

            - A project plan for year 2.



The expectation is that a small group of University staff will constitute the core of the Digital Preservation Committee. These individuals will participate in this committee for the entire 3-year period.  Additional members may be added to the committee each year.


Ann Green, ITLS/ITS

Audrey Novak, ITLS

Bobbie Pilette, Preservation


David Gewirtz,  AM&T/Library Group

Kevin Glick, MSS&A

Nicole Bouche, Beinecke


Level of effort from DPC members:

The expectation is that the level-of-effort will change throughout the life of the DPC.  Level-of-effort for members during the first year are:

Co-chairs: Should expect to commit about 8% of their time.

Members:  Should expect to commit about 5% of their time.