Managing Digital Content Over Time: An Introduction to Digital Preservation (Moorhead)


Organizations of all kinds create and use a wide variety of digital resources in the course of business. These resources represent each organization’s intellectual capital and, as such, have value and need to be carefully managed and preserved. While many of the traditional resources found in libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions--books, photographs, objects--can survive for years with no intervention, digital content is much more fragile. Managing it requires ongoing care and preservation activities to ensure continued access far into the future.

This in-person workshop--based on the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) Program curriculum--introduces fundamental concepts for managing your digital content over time through a series of six modules. There will be in class exercises to reinforce the concepts discussed during each module. Below is a detailed description of the modules that will be covered.

"Identify" addresses the importance of identifying what types of digital content you have within your institution, introduces steps and techniques to prepare a basic digital content inventory, and prepares you to address digital content that might come your way.

"Select" focuses on the process of selecting content for preservation from the body of digital content you hold. This process is known by different terms in different domains--what some might call appraisal in archives, selection in libraries, or curation in museums--but there are common principles and outcomes. You will learn about using selection criteria to choose materials for long-term preservation, how these decisions affect the preservation program, and why it is important to make and document these decisions.

Digital content that has been selected for preservation needs to be stored in ways that align with good practice. From the Store module, you will develop an understanding of long-term storage requirements and learn about possible options for meeting those requirements, gain awareness about trends in storage management and ways to track those trends, and learn more about factors that your organization will need to weigh in order to develop a long-term storage management policy and practice.

The Protect module will cover the steps that need to be taken to protect digital content at your institution. Protection includes everyday concerns (e.g., controlling who has access internally and externally to content, assuring fixity of files through error checking, and ensuring that confidential information has sufficient access controls) and emergency contingencies (e.g., disaster planning). Organizations need to manage roles and responsibilities for physical and virtual access to digital content throughout its life cycle.

The Manage module will cover the essentials of program planning, implementation, and sustainability for the long-term management of digital content. A core component of preservation management is planning (policy development, resources and support), however, practical considerations of an organization's current and future environment must also be taken into account. Management of content depends on decisions made throughout the digital preservation life cycle as discussed in previous modules.

The Provide module will examine considerations for long-term access to your digital content. Long-term access is the core purpose of digital preservation--organizations preserve content to be able to make it available as needed or desired over time. This module addresses issues and challenges involved in making digital content accessible in the future (a separate issue from providing real-time access now).

The workshop will:

- Provide an overview of digital content management stages
- Suggest concrete steps for each stage
- Help identify specific next steps
- Recommend additional sources to consult after the workshop

The content will be presented by the following trainers who are certified as part of the DPOE National Trainer Network.

Carol Kussmann, University of Minnesota Libraries
Sara Ring, Minitex

Who Should Attend?

This introductory series is for staff of any library, archive, museum, or other organization concerned about the long term care of their digital resources. No previous knowledge about the topic of digital preservation is assumed.


There are no prerequisites to attend this series, but you will be asked to complete a short informational survey before you attend the workshop and a summary of the results will be shared with the group.