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Decision Tree

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Decision Tree for Selection of Digital Materials for Long-term Retention

Note:  The Decision Tree has been modified and updated by Deborah Woodyard-Robinson and the interactive version and PDF prepared by Jackson Web Services. [March 8th 2006]
PDF of the Decision Tree (47KB)


Clearly defined selection policies will enable cost savings in terms of time taken to establish whether or not to select and also potential costs further down the track of needing to re-assess digital resources which are either in danger of becoming or are no longer accessible.

This Decision Tree may be used as a tool to construct or test such a policy for your organisation. The decision process represented in the tree should be addressed by your policy for selection of digital materials for the long-term.

Assuming a digital resource is being considered for selection, the questions and choices reflected here will assist the ultimate decision to accept or reject long-term preservation responsibility. The flow of the questions represents a logical order of evaluation. If the response to early questions is not favourable there is little point in accepting preservation responsibility for the resource or continuing it’s evaluation, for example if the content does not meet your collection policy then the response to questions on the technical format will be irrelevant. The structure of the tree aims to reflect this process.


When a policy is in place, to be effective it must also be:

  • Endorsed by senior management
  • Actively promulgated throughout the organisation
  • Reviewed at regular intervals
  • Allocated appropriate resource commitment

Go to Decision Tree Interactive Assessment

The interactive version requires javascript to be enabled on your computer if this is not the case please go to non-javascript version.