Self-assessment and Peer Review Audit

Version 1.1 - date last updated: 2 March 2016


The TDR self-assessment and audit tool assists  an organization in completing a perioidc self-assessment or peer review audits with cumulative results. The self-assessment tool developed for the DPM workshop (version 1 at ICPSR and version 2 at MIT) is downloadable from the Artefactual site as a standalone Drupal instance (an update to the current version is pending, though the current version can be installed then updated). 


The TDR self-assessmsent and audittool includes:

  • a main page that maintains a running total of your progress in addressing each requirement and a full list of the requirements with a link to each requirement and a status summary that is automatically updated as you work on individual requirements;
  • one page for each requirement with:
    • the full descriptive and supporting text from the ISO version
    • the option to assign roles at your organization for who addresses each requirements (e.g., digital preservation team, rights group, access group, human resources, senior management)
    • the option to assign responsibility for each requirement (using the RASCI project management roles: Responsible, Accountable, Supporting, Contributing, Informed)
    • the option to rank your compliance using a scale from 0 (not compliant) to 4 (fully compliant) based on your assessment of your compliance (e.g., can you make a compelling case and provide evidence or examples of your compliance); 
    • the option to document your progress as you work on each requirements (not started, in progress, ...); 
    • the option to develop natural language questions using your organization's terms and language to make providing evidence easier for TRAC review participants; and
    • responses from Aretactual indicating the ways in which Archivematica would help organizations comply with a subset of requirements it addresses (note: Artefactual has invited other tool and service providers to also indicate how they address TRAC requirements.
  • an audit role with a dedicated comment space for each requirement so you can freeze your results and allow a person  or group that takes the role of auditor to review your results and provide feedback as part of a test or peer review audit;
  • a mapping from the version of the requirements that became ISO 16363 back to the original 2007 TRAC requirements.


Self-assessment is an essential step for an organization that is striving to be a trusted digital repository (TDR). The process of self-assessment helps an organization to achieve its objectives, including align with standards, to demonstrate good practice, and to leverage the results of self-assessment to prioritize next steps for developing the digital preservation program. All organizations should engage in self-assessment in a way that is sustainable - establish a project, identify phases, measure progress, commit to interactively revisiting results on a regular schedule.

The tool is a standalone instance of Drupal containing everything you need to complete a self-assessment and/or audit - except examples of completed reviews that we hope to identify to share links. There is no development funding for the tool (e.g., the ability to extract formatted results for planning and doing), though suggestions are welcome. 

Organizations in the early stages of program development need to work towards formal audit and certification in a way that creates a sustained approach to periodic assessment and continual improvement.  It is one of many organizational decisions in developing a sustainable program to determine the appropriate timing and level of external review that will be needed as the program advances. Self-assessment and peer review audit are productive steps for an organization to take prior to considering and pursuing certification. 

Organizations should avoid treating self-assessment and audit as a one-time effort that exhausts those involved, rather than an ongoing component of developing and maintaining a digital preservation program. The results of the other management tools and techniques each contribute to your self-assessment process. 

A good step that an organization may take beyond self-assessment is a peer review audit, which could be an informal process (invite an objective third party expert to review your results) or a more formal process (convene a team to do online and onsite activities to review your current status based on your self-assessment results). 

An organization needs to commit human and other resources to complete a self-assessment and peer review audit. To justify the commitment of resources, these are some of the benefits to an organization realizes of completing a self-assessment and peer review audit:

  • Uses a checklist for self-assessment: identifying a standards-based set of requirements or principles for a self-assessment provides a frame for the process
  • Includes gap analysis: 1. what is my current status? 2. where would I like to be? 3. what are the gaps between 1 and 2?
  • Produces a development plan: prioritzes step 3 of a gap anaysis and determines what to achieve by when
  • Provides evidence for stakeholders: whoever stakeholders are for an organization
  • Enables transparency for the program: transparency is a core requirement for good practice in digital preservation

Benficial outcomes:

  • Formalize policies (identify and address policy needs)
  • Define roles and responsibilities (specify levels and scope of responsibility)
  • Consider succession planning
  • Designate funding (develop a description of 
  • Rationalize metadata (identify gaps and priorities)
  • Address preservation rights from the start of the life cycle (in submission agreements and at Ingest)
  • Prioritize technical developments (rank next steps to mazimize impact)

Five Stages Context for Self-assessment and Audit

  1. Acknowledge: be aware that self-assessment is an essential piece of developing a program
  2. Act: develop a project to begin a self-assessment process at a high-level (e.g., using the Ten Principles)
  3. Consolidate: engage in an baseline TRAC Review self-assessment to accumulate evidence
  4. Institutionalize: prioritize gaps from the baseline review and consider peer review
  5. Externalize: identify and review certification options and share your decision to proceed or not


About the TDR Self-Assessment and Audit Tool:

  • Version 2 (current version) was developed at MIT Libraries (2012-2014) for the ISO version of the TRAC requirements - lead: Nancy McGovern; Contributors: Courtney Mumma, Liz Francis; Drupal development: Matt Bernhardt
  • Version 1 was developed at ICPSR (2008-2011) for the 2007 version of the TRAC requirements - lead: Nancy McGovern, Drupal development: Matthew Richardson and Michael Iannaccone
  • There is no support for the TRAC Review tool. It supports a local need at MIT Libraries and is shared with the community in hopes that it will be helpful.