Digital Preservation Policy Framework

Version 3.1 - date last updated: 2 March 2016


The DPM workshop team developed this model document  to help organizations develop a high-level policy document that explicitly states the scope, purpose, objectives, operating principles, and context of the organization's digital curation and preservation programEvery TDR needs to have a high-level policy. This model document identifies the recommended sections of a digital preservation policy framework with descriptions and examples for each section to guide the policy development process. 


The outline for the framework is third version of a model document that was developed by the Digital Preservation Management workshop team to assist organizations in developing the high-level policy document that is necessary to meet the requirements of being recognized as a TDR. A model documents identifies and describes the sections of the document to be developed and provides examples of what to include in the section, adopting conventions used in the development of the Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification (TRAC) document released in 2007. This third version of the model document for the digital curation and preservation framework adds curation and updates the section descriptions and examples.


Benefits of developing a digital preservation policy framework:

  • Forming and building a digital preservation team
  • Raising awareness about your program and its objectives
  • Managing expectations of team members and stakeholders
  • Defining a path for future developments
  • Demonstrating alignment with good practice

Suggestions for developing your policy framework:

  • convene a team with essential members - distinguish between who has to participate and who has to be inform
  • as the lead, share iterative drafts for review by team members - avoid word smithing as a team activity
  • define a timeline with phases and share updates to raise awareness and manage expectations
  • distinguish between planning (things you intend to do in the future) and policy (things you are doing now)

Five Stages Context for a DP Framework

  1. Acknowledge: recognize that developing a high-level digital preservation policy framework is essential
  2. Act: define the scope and purpose of the program the policy framework will address
  3. Consolidateestablish a project to develop a basic policy framework (approx. 1-2 page )
  4. Institutionalize: develop a comprehensive policy framework (approx. 4-5 pages)
  5. Externalize: share your policy framework externally as well as periodic updates


This model document reflects the findings of the Digital Preservation Management workshop curriculum development project (co-developers, Anne R. Kenney and Nancy Y. McGovern, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities); lessons learned in the development of similar frameworks for the Cornell University Library  and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR,  as well as samples of frameworks developed by organizations that participated in the DPM workshop, e.g., the Library and Archives of Canada, N.C. State Library.