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Preserving the Mystery (Box)

Eleanor Dumbill

Eleanor Dumbill

Last updated on 8 May 2020

Eleanor Dumbill is the Library Support Officer (Research Repository) at the University of Loughborough.


Shortly after joining the repository team at Loughborough, I was presented with a mysterious cardboard box. My colleagues were only able to tell me that the contents were generally related to past doctoral theses and that the box had been sitting under a desk in the office for at least ten years. I’ve been able to use some of my experiences investigating this box in training as an illustration of preservation formats and data management. 

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University of Bristol Case Study

Emma Hancox

Emma Hancox

Last updated on 4 May 2020

Emma Hancox, Digital Archivist at the University of Bristol, explains how we went about developing a new preservation policy for her institution, alongside the development of the Digital Preservation Policy Toolkit.


Our three-day digital preservation policy ‘Book Sprint' grew out of the University of Bristol’s need to create a digital preservation policy to support the preservation of digital collections in Special Collections and the Theatre Collection, and the Digital Preservation Coalition’s awareness that its members would benefit from support with writing their own policies. The DPC Team, a group of invited domain specialists from other DPC members and University of Bristol stakeholders assembled in Bristol to draft the policy’. The plan was that by the end of the process Bristol would have its policy and the DPC would have a Toolkit for other organizations to use in developing their preservation policies.

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First Steps in Digital Preservation

Helen Fisher

Helen Fisher

Last updated on 1 May 2020

Helen Fisher is the University Archivist at the University of Birmingham.


We were asked to write a blog post this time last year but we postponed it because we didn’t really know what to say about our digital preservation journey at that stage. Our turn has come round again, and we can’t put it off any longer, so here goes!

Since 2017 colleagues from different divisions of Library Services at the University of Birmingham have been working together to try to deal with our digital preservation challenges. I’m the University Archivist and am based in the Cadbury Research Library which manages the University’s rare books and archives. I had been concerned for some time about the growing gaps in the University Archives, with digital copies of committee minutes and other record series not being transferred to us, and about the amount of born-digital material scattered across our collections on USB sticks and floppy disks of various sizes

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The Greatest Hits: Vol 4 - Stop, Collaborate and Listen

Sarah Middleton

Sarah Middleton

Last updated on 13 May 2020

DPC staff have been involved in very many events and webinars over the years, responding directly to members’ needs and filling the gaps where other advice and support was lacking. The ‘Greatest Hits Collection’ will play that back over the coming months while colleagues and members are working from home and perhaps not able to access other development opportunities. And of course, we’re always open to proposals from members who want to put together their own digital preservation themed mixtape.

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Winter School for Audio-Visual Archiving 2020

Ivan Dimitrovski

Ivan Dimitrovski

Last updated on 27 April 2020

Ivan Dimitrovski is a Digital Archives Assistant at UNIRMCT. He attended AV Winter School 2020 with support from the DPC's Career Development Fund which is funded by DPC Supporters.


The 2020 Winter School for Audiovisual Archiving, the fifth edition of this unique annual training where participants are taught to design and implement a preservation plan for their audiovisual collections, took place at the Sound and Vision Institute in Hilversum, The Netherlands. This year, I was fortunate enough to be granted a full scholarship by the Digital Preservation Coalition, enabling me to attend this prestigious training.

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If These WARCs Could Talk: Learning from Archived Web & Social Media Covid-19 Collections

Sara Day Thomson

Sara Day Thomson

Last updated on 27 April 2020

A Note from the Editor, Sara Day Thomson

As the coordinator of the DPC’s Web Archiving & Preservation Working Group, it has been my absolute pleasure to work with some of the most enthusiastic, creative, and persevering professionals in the field. The community of archivists, curators, librarians, researchers, and enthusiasts who do the work of capturing and preserving web resources has always displayed a collaborative spirit and a willingness to try new approaches and learn from each other.

The coronavirus pandemic has truly and profoundly put that spirit to the test, and the web archiving community has not disappointed.

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Teaching, outreach and advocacy for the NDSA Levels of Preservation

Jenny Mitcham

Jenny Mitcham

Last updated on 23 April 2020

In October 2019 after several months of collaboration and hard work, the NDSA was pleased to announce the publication of version 2 of the Levels of Preservation (LoP).

A follow up blog post on the DPC blog highlighted in particular the work of the Revision Working Group and flagged up some of the main changes that were made in moving the original Levels to version 2.

Of course the Levels of Preservation reboot effort was more than just the work of the Revision group. Bradley Daigle describes in ‘Levels of Preservation Reboot Overview and Update’ just how many working groups were beavering away behind the scenes and contributing to this wider community effort.

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The Greatest Hits: Vol. 3: Good Practice is all around us

Jenny Mitcham

Jenny Mitcham

Last updated on 13 May 2020

A couple of weeks back, on a mission to resurface some of the great content we have hidden away on the DPC website, William Kilbride kicked off the ‘Greatest Hits’ blog post series with a ‘mix tape’ of resources relating to OAIS.

Being that my remit is Standards and Good Practice, and William has already covered what is arguably the biggest digital preservation standard there is, I thought I’d better try and cover the topic of ‘Good Practice’.

But first a confession...

As Head of Good Practice and Standards I’ve always found it harder to describe or quantify the ‘Good Practice’ part of the job. I see Good Practice everywhere across the DPC Membership and beyond ...so much so that I find it impossible to keep track of it or feel I have any sort of a handle on it. And of course this is ‘A Good Thing’.

It is everywhere, yet it is almost impossible to quantify or describe.

So I thought I would pick up the ‘mix tape’ challenge with an attempt to highlight some resources on the DPC website that, in my opinion, help define and represent some of this Good Practice across the community.

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The Greatest Hits: Vol. 2, Storage

Sharon McMeekin

Sharon McMeekin

Last updated on 13 May 2020

DPC staff have been involved in very many events and webinars over the years, responding directly to members’ needs and filling the gaps where other advice and support was lacking. The ‘Greatest Hits Collection’ will play that back over the coming months while colleagues and members are working from home and perhaps not able to access other development opportunities. And of course, we’re always open to proposals from members who want to put together their own digital preservation themed mix-tape.


You know you’re a real digital preservationist when you’ve uttered the words “digital preservation is not just storage” (or similar) so many times you’ve developed the verbal equivalent of muscle memory. It’s one of the key messages we aim to get across in our “Getting Started….” And “Making Progress with Digital Preservation” training courses, when trying to arm learners with the knowledge they’ll need to discuss digital preservation requirements with colleagues in the IT department. It’s certainly something I’ve said more times than I can count. I’ve even found it falling from my mouth in social situations outside of work!

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How do you preserve records from within an EDRMS?

Jenny Mitcham

Jenny Mitcham

Last updated on 14 April 2020

Last month the DPC kicked off a new task force. A group specifically focused on considering how to preserve records from within an Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS).

According to Wikipedia, “Electronic document and records management is used by organizations to manage documents and records throughout the document life-cycle, from creation to destruction.” 

...but what if ‘destruction’ isn’t appropriate? What if preservation is required? In many organizations it is likely that some records require longer term retention or may even need to be kept in perpetuity.

In these situations the records may need to be transferred to an institutional digital archive to be managed (in a slightly different way) for the long term.

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