Yale University Library

Digital Preservation Committee (DPC)

Meeting Notes


Date:  December 6, 2004, 10:30


Present:  Nicole Bouche, Kevin Glick, Ann Green, Audrey Novak, Bobbie Pilette,

Absent:  David Gewirtz


It was agreed that the Monday meetings would continue through the month of December.


Kevin had submitted a list of 8 points for discussion—these points were agreed on after discussion surrounding #5 & #8.

1. Digital preservation is the whole of the activities and processes involved in the technical stabilization and physical and intellectual protection of digital resources through time.


2. Digital resources, both born digital and digitized materials, are part of the YUL collections and, as with other parts of the collections, are selected for preservation by selectors, curators, or bibliographers as experts on the value of the content, in consultation with relevant technical experts. Selection should be made on the basis of both the digital resources' enduring value and the feasibility of the digital resources' preservation.


3. Preservation policies, such as this document, do not apply to digital resources until selection has been made and digital resources have been assessed to have enduring value.


4. YUL need not retain all digital resources ever created and/or collected. Destruction is an acceptable stage in the information life cycle; YUL may destroy or delete digital resources when there is no enduring value or need to retain it (absent a legal requirement to the contrary). YUL should guide employees regarding how to identify digital resources that have enduring value or are required to be maintained by law or regulation.


5. Technically, it is not possible to preserve a digital resource, the intellectual work, as a stored physical object; it is only possible to preserve the ability to reproduce that digital resource. Reproducing a digital resource means to be able to render it with the content and any required elements of documentary form and annotations that the digital resource possessed before reproduction.


6. Responsible selectors, curators, or bibliographers must specify the requirements a copy of a digital resource should satisfy to be considered equivalent to the original (the required elements of documentary form).


7. Preservation of digital resources assessed to have enduring value may include any preservation actions necessary both to mitigate and/or reverse the effects of hardware and software obsolescence and media decay. [There should be a statement in the Financial Sustainability sections that reads something like, "decisions regarding the application of any preservation action should weigh the costs (in terms of the budget, technical expertise, training, staff time, resources, services, and tools necessary) versus the perceived benefits."]


8. The entire process of digital preservation must be thoroughly documented.


Discussion on #5 clarified that preservation of the physical object, if deemed important by selector than came under the general preservation policy and metadata would reflect that some aspect of the physical object is being retained. We will need to clarify that an 'original' digital object is not possible to retain; what is preserved is a 'copy' or reproduction of the original object.  Kevin will integrate this into the policy as we go along.


Discussion on #8 further outlined the type of documentation.  A “preservation action record” along the lines of a conservation treatment report would be associated with each digital resource.  This would record both decisions to preserve/migrate and those not being preserved, much as we record our “discard” decisions. 


The discussion on the policy statement resulted in a draft that all committee members present felt was at a point where we could proceed to the next steps.


Ann had sent out a list of principle sections based on the NPO doc:


statement of policy principles

scope statement

digital life cycle commitment statement

retention statement

security statement

storage statement

access statement

surrogate or substitution policy

financial policy for preservation; resource statement

statement of responsibility for the preservation policy including reviews,

    implementation and monitoring, Frequency of policy review

education and training

selection based on needs...

risk assessment and risk management strategies (monitoring risk)

disaster prevention, control and recovery

r&d in digital preservation and conservation; outside relationships

standards and best practice citations

Glossary and definition of terms


? areas to be covered in related policies:

content, accessibility, retention decisions

relationship of artifact, surrogates, delivery formats, etc.


These were reviewed and it was decided the next areas to tackle would be the Scope statement which Audrey & Nicole would draft for discussion next week, Dec 13.  This would be to define the universe of “what” and emphasizing the role of the selector in the process. 


Kevin agreed to tackle the financial sustainability statement for Dec 20.  Future meetings will work on the Life Cycle statement (going to the complexity of the resources) and Documentation statement based on Kevin’s point 8.


Notes taken by B.Pilette