Organizational Viability

4a. Trusted Digital Repositories:

The organization can demonstrate that its mission, legal status, and operations are sufficient to support a Trusted Digital Repository. You may also refer to Tutorial Section 5: Challenges, Selecting Assets for Preservation.

Organizational requirements:
>> demonstrate viability and trustworthiness
>> reflect commitment to long-term retention/management in mission statements
>> have appropriate legal status, staff, and professional development for responsibilities
>> establish transparent business practices, effective management policies
>> define comprehensive written agreements with depositors
>> review and maintain policies and procedures
>> undertake risk management, contingency and succession (trusted inheritors) planning

Like Administrative Responsibility, meeting the requirements of this attribute is primarily an organizational responsibility. The result should be a comprehensive policy framework that addresses all essential areas in which the organization has to be authorized, prepared, and ready to act. This requires immediate action to get the program up and running, and long-term planning to sustain it.

$$$$ Costs for the organizational side of digital preservation may be underestimated or invisible, and are often distributed across the organization. As the digital preservation program develops, the resources committed to it should be consolidated as this becomes a mainstream rather than ad hoc activity.

0101 There is a more active technological role in establishing Organizational Viability than in Administrative Responsibility, but it is still a secondary role. Examples of activities include defining feasible technical requirements (transfer protocols and specifications) for depositor agreements, and advising on and providing text to address the technical aspects of policies, procedures, and practices.


Background note: The top-level support and commitment inherent in administrative responsibility may be the most crucial success factor for a digital preservation program. The effective day-to-day operation of the program fundamentally hinges on fully addressing organizational viability. Establishing a successful program requires translating the intent of administrative responsibility into long-term and sustained practice that integrates the technological infrastructure within the requisite policy framework.


The list of requirements for this attribute is closely associated with portions of the institutional readiness survey. Consider the evidence your organization could provide for compliance with those requirements.