​Digital preservation, as defined by the ALCTS Preservation and Reformatting Section, "combines policies, strategies and actions to ensure access to reformatted and born digital content regardless of the challenges of media failure and technological change. The goal of digital preservation is the accurate rendering of authenticated content over time." Visit here for additional definitions of digital preservation.

This page lists resources for individuals or institutions getting started with digital preservation, and links to standards, tools, and further resources for learning more about preserving digital content.

Getting started

Definitions of Digital Preservation, ALCTS Preservation and Reformatting Section, Working Group on Defining Digital Preservation

The definitions were developed to promote a common understanding of digital preservation across professions. The short, medium, and long definitions provide different levels of detail on defining digital preservation. 

Digital Curation Lifecycle Model, Digital Curation Center (DCC)

The Digital Curation Lifecycle Model defines digital curation and the different phases of managing data over time.

Digital Preservation Readiness Webliography, Liz Bishoff, 2009.

This list of web resources provides links to background information on digital preservation, information on metadata, standards for digital preservation, copyright, and sample plans and policies.

Free resources for Digital Preservation, Northeast Document Conservation Center

This list of free resources includes a digital preservation policy template, information on planning for digitization, and further resource for digital preservation information.

National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA)

NDSA is a consortium of organizations that are committed to the long-term preservation of digital information. The NDSA has released a number of surveys and reports, notably the Levels of Digital Preservation here.

Personal Digital Archiving, Library of Congress

The Personal Digital Archiving site offers videos, informational sheets, and more resources on caring for your personal collections. Information is available specific to a variety of formats, including digital photographs, audio, video, email, records, and websites.

Preserving (digital) Objects With Restricted Resources (POWRR)

POWRR provides online resources and education on preserving digital content with limited budget or staff resources.

The Signal: Digital Preservation, Library of Congress, blog

The Signal consistently posts useful and thought-provoking information on digital preservation. Topics span the range of digital-preservation related content, including web archiving, standards for digitization, acquiring digital content, and more.

Further Resources


Interactive Assessment: Selection of Materials for Long-Term Retention, Digital Preservation Coalition

This interactive chart is one framework that can help an institution evaluate a resource or collection to determine whether it is appropriate for long-term preservation.

Unified Digital Format Registry (UDFR)

The UDFR is a publicly accessible knowledge base of file format representation information for use by the digital preservation community. The UDFR seeks to bring together the function and holdings of two existing registries, PRONOM and GDFR (Global Digital Format Registry)


Digital Repository Audit Method Based on Risk Assessment (DRAMBORA)

DRAMBORA is a toolkit "intended to facilitate internal audit by providing repository administrators with a means to assess their capabilities, identify their weaknesses, and recognize their strengths."

ISO 16363:2012: Space data and information transfer systems – audit and certification of trustworthy digital repositories

This international standard defined recommended practice for assessing the trustworthiness of digital repositories.

Abstract: "ISO 16363:2012 defines a recommended practice for assessing the trustworthiness of digital repositories. It is applicable to the entire range of digital repositories. ISO 16363:2012 can be used as a basis for certification."

ISO 14721:2012 Space data and information transfer systems – Open archival information system (OAIS) – Reference model

Abstract: "ISO 14721:2012 defines the reference model for an open archival information system (OAIS). An OAIS is an archive, consisting of an organization, which may be part of a larger organization, of people and systems that has accepted the responsibility to preserve information and make it available for a designated community. It meets a set of such responsibilities as defined in this International Standard, and this allows an OAIS archive to be distinguished from other uses of the term "archive". The term "open" in OAIS is used to imply that ISO 14721:2012, as well as future related International Standards, are developed in open forums, and it does not imply that access to the archive is unrestricted."

PREMIS: Preservation Metadata Maintenance Activity, Library of Congress

The PREMIS Data Dictionary for Preservation Metadata is the international standard for metadata to support the preservation of digital objects and ensure their long-term usability.


"Meeting the challenges of digital preservation: The OAIS reference model," Brian Lavoie

This article describes NASA's Open Archival Information System model and its applicability and use in digital preservation.

"Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information," Final Report of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access

The Blue Ribbon Task Force investigated challenges in preserving digital content, and details them in this report along with recommendations for achieving digital sustainability. 

"Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities," An RLG-OCLC Report

This report defines a trusted digital repository (TDR), including the attributes and responsibilities associated with a TDR. It also includes a technical overview of OAIS and a useful glossary of digital preservation terms. 

"The Incentives to Preserve Digital Materials: Roles, Scenarios, and Economic Decision-Making" Brian F. Lavoie, OCLC, 2003. http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/research/activities/digipres/incentives-dp.pdf

Appropriate incentives are fundamental to the development of economically sustainable digital preservation activities. This white paper identifies the key decision-making roles in the digital preservation process, characterizes a core set of organizational models under which decision-makers might undertake digital preservation, and examines the implications of these models for the incentives to preserve digital materials.