Yale University Library

Digital Preservation Committee (DPC)

Meeting Notes prepared by Bobbie Pilette


Date:  October 24, 2005, 10:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.


Present: Kevin Glick, E.C. Schroeder, David Gewirtz, Bobbie Pilette, Rebekah Irwin

Absent: Gretchen Gano, Audrey Novak


Bobbie expressed concern that we seem to be stalled.  We have been trying to develop a framework for the best practices.  The “use case” approach helped in the short term to raise issues but as we discussed “use case” it became evident that the term meant different things to different people.  What we really meant was to come up with a scenario that could be used to raise concerns and issues.  And in the future we should use the term “scenario”.  This led into a discussion about what is we are looking for in terms of best practices.

Some felt we were to survey what is being done in the wider world [external as well as internal to the university] when it came to the various issues, review the practices, identify what was viewed as the “best practice” and put that into the policy.  Others had in mind that we were essentially talking about guidelines much as the model from Library & Archives Canada <http://www.collectionscanada.ca/information-management/0625_e.html> .  There was a feeling that best practices were not policy and therefore could only be guidelines.  Bobbie explained that the best practices would be “shoulds” which are in effect saying “if you want this preserved, you should follow this(these) practice(s).” 

At this point Bobbie suggested that the first thing on the agenda for the next meeting is a review of the charge.  [A copy attached]

A possible model for best practices was to come up with guidelines as a first step and then build on those.  To a certain extent MssA & Beinecke already doing this.  [See Rebekah & E.C’s Next Steps]

Next Meeting: October 31st agenda (@Law School dining hall):

·        Review of charge and discuss how we are progressing with regards to that.

·        Clarify what the committee means by “best practices”


Future Agenda items:

·        Preservation metadata discussion with Matthew Beacom and Joan Swanekamp


Committee members’ schedules with regards to scheduled meetings unable to attend:




Kevin               Dec 5&12




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 DPC will, through informational forums, contact with appropriate committees and /or task forces, emails and use of a web site raise the awareness and interest in digital life cycle and preservation concerns, keep the Yale community informed and request input and information with regard to the development of the above mentioned items.  The DPC will report to the IAC quarterly.


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

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 functional requirements for 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 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.