Where to Begin?

technology, organization, and resources are the three legs of digital preservationAn organization's digital preservation program:

>> needs to fit defined needs, requirements, and resources
>> requires ongoing and iterative development
>> should reflect best practices and standards

Core Components

A fully implemented and viable preservation program addresses organizational issues, technological concerns, and funding questions, balancing them like a three-legged stool.

Organizational Infrastructure includes the policies, procedures, practices, people—the elements that any programmatic area needs to thrive, but specialized to address digital preservation requirements. It addresses this key development question:

What are the requirements and parameters for the organization's digital preservation program?

0101 Technological Infrastructure consists of the requisite equipment, software, hardware, a secure environment, and skills to establish and maintain the digital preservation program. It anticipates and responds wisely to changing technology. It addresses this key development question:

How will the organization meet defined digital preservation requirements?

$$$$ Resources Framework addresses the requisite startup, ongoing, and contingency funding to enable and sustain the digital preservation program. It addresses this key development question:

What resources will it take to develop and maintain the organization’s digital preservation program?

A concrete place to begin is with an assessment of your institution's capabilities. We have developed an Institutional Readiness Survey that provides a checklist to help you think about your organization's digital assets in terms of scope, priorities, resources, and overall readiness to address digital preservation concerns. Don't be alarmed if you answer "no" to most or all the questions. This survey should help you take stock of the requisite components of a digital preservation program so as to shape your institutional planning.

Cornell developed and offered an intensive weeklong Digital Preservation Management workshop in Ithaca, N.Y. from 2003-2006 that was in part developed with funding from two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) hosted the workshop and extended the curriculum with funding from a third NEH grant for DPM workshop development. MIT Libraries is now hosting the DPM tutorial and workshop series. The workshop curriculum is intended for managers who are contemplating or implementing digital preservation programs in libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions. The goals are to foster critical thinking and decision making in a technological realm. It also provides the means for exercising practical stewardship of digital assets by emphasizing short-term solutions to long-term problems.