Digital Preservation Management Tools and Techniques

Organizations that are responsible for managing digital content across generations of technology are expected to demonstrate conformance with community standards and practice for digital curation and preservation, which continue to evolve. To assist organizations in demonstrating good practice and becoming recognized as a trusted digital repository (TDR), this set of digital preservation management tools and techniques has been iteratively developed and tested in the course of presenting nearly 50 Digital Preservation Management (DPM) workshops since we offered the first course in 2003.  


In demonstrating organizational readiness, there is a tool or technique to assist organizations in addressing and developing documentation in each of these areas:

  • Principles : Adopt standards-based principles (DCP principles)
  • Policy: Develop a high-level policy framework (DP model document)
  • Scope: Complete a digital content review to define program scope (DCR process)
  • Workflow: Document workflows to improve and automate (DCM workflows)
  • DP Storage: Plan with Levels of Preservation Commitment (Levels)
  • Preparedness: Extend disaster preparedness to include digital (disaster planning)
  • Self-assessment: Engage in self-assessment to gauge progress (self-assessment)


The cumulative results of these digital preservation activities produce not a single digital preservation plan document, but substantial documenation and curation data to guide sustained digital preservation planning that is right-sized for an organization. We are providing these management tools to assist organizations in building up then maintaining current, comprehenisve, correct, and compliant documentation and curation data to support informed decision-making about digital content managmenet and standards-based practice across generations of technology.

Each organization is expected to engage in these activities - and each organization should not have to start from scratch. These management tools and techniques are intended to help organizations get started on achieving these objectives - and keep going to sustain their efforts. If we approach achieving good practice for digital preservation with an open source perspective, organizations should be able to benefit from the successes and experiences of other organizations then contribute their results back to the community to help other organizations also move forward. 

Five Stages Context for the Tools and Techniques

As with the DPM workshop online tutorial and curriculum, the overview of each tool and technique is grounded in the DPM model, the three-legged stool (Organizational Leg, Technological Leg, and Resources Framework) with the five stages of development for a sustainable digital preservation program. For each of the tools or techniques, there is a five stages section to suggest the progression of activities an organization should engage in to achieve each objective. The Five Stages article explains the model in depth and the introduction of the Aligning National Approaches to Digital Preservation (ANADP) volume provides an example of how the DPM model is applied. Here is a quick overview of the stages: 
  1. Acknowledge: understanding that digital preservation is a local concern
  2. Act: initiating digital preservation projects
  3. Consolidate: segueing from project to basic program
  4. Institutionalize: rationalizing local efforts to establish a comprehensive program
  5. Externalizeembracing inter-institutional collaboration and dependency

The DP Tools and Techniques are a work in progress - we update them as we go along, for each workshop, as we can. Please do share your experiences and suggestions!

Last updated: 2 March 2016