DPC icons surveyThis section provides example benefit and risk statements for four typical digital preservation scenarios. Use this to build a convincing and realistic proposal.

The four scenarios are:

  • Developing a digital preservation strategy/roadmap

  • Increasing staffing complement

  • Repository migration

  • Procuring a new digital preservation system

The statements provide suggestions that can be developed into fuller descriptions that take in your particular organizational context. Note that these examples are not considered to be comprehensive and should not be included in a business case without careful consideration. Many of the risks may need careful consideration that results in changes or mitigations in your Implementation Plan rather than explicit articulation as a significant risk to the project.


Developing a digital preservation strategy/roadmap

Potential benefits and risks associated with developing a new strategy or roadmap for digital preservation within a particular organization.

  • Identifying digital preservation priorities for use in other contexts, such as policies and business cases.

  • Creating a solid foundation for moving forward with digital preservation and subsequent critical digital preservation developmental actions including:

  • Advocating internally for digital preservation.

  • Providing evidence for a later business case.

  • Help with writing a digital preservation policy.

  • Help with identifying requirements for procurement.

  • Establishing institutional knowledge around current digital preservation capacity and maturity, providing data for better planning and prioritization. 

  • Opportunity to undertake a landscape review/market analysis.

  • Ensure pre-procurement due diligence.

  • Providing a framework for advocacy work.

  • Facilitating conversations with stakeholders.

  • Getting clarity around organizational priorities and how these relate to digital preservation.

  • Highlighting organizational commitment to digital preservation.

  • Enhancing the reputation of your organization.

  • Opportunity to draw upon external expertise.

  • Loss of credibility if your roadmap is seen to depart from reality over time.

  • Any aims and objectives may prove unachievable or badly scoped.

  • Your selected models and standards prove not fit for purpose.

  • There may be a lack of follow-through following initial excitement, and the strategy may fail to become business as usual. 

  • There may be a lack of staff to fulfil the strategy/roadmap.

  • The strategy or roadmap may underestimate the resources or time required to implement it.

  • The strategy or roadmap may lose alignment with related strategies over time and require refreshing/replacing earlier than expected.

  • There is a risk of reputational damage if the strategy/roadmap cannot be fulfilled.

  • The analysis/research phase may be conducted poorly if staff have insufficient skills and experience in this area.

  • Poor or uncollaborative workplace culture may inhibit necessary fact-finding.

  • Other functions within your institution may feel threatened by emphasis placed on digital preservation at apparent expense of their own priorities.

  • Appropriate external expertise is not obtainable or affordable.

  • Consultation and advice from external companies/personnel may prove unhelpful and incorrect. This may be reputationally, legally and/or financially damaging.

  • Consultants may not fully engage with your organizational context.


Increasing Staffing Complement

Potential benefits and risks associated with increasing the digital preservation staffing levels with new roles.

  • Brings new skills and knowledge to the organization.

  • Increased capacity for addressing prioritized digital preservation challenges.

  • Reduces risks to digital content.

  • More opportunities for sharing of knowledge and expertise amongst colleagues.

  • Increased continuity if a member of staff moves on to a new opportunity.

  • Digital preservation program is more resilient.

  • Improved staff well-being due to more manageable workloads.

  • Provides capacity to allow existing staff to undertake development opportunities.

  • Enhances the reputation of the organization by demonstrating commitment to digital preservation and providing expertise to the community.

  • Raises the profile of digital preservation within the organization.

  • More support for colleagues working with digital content in other areas of the organization.

  • Unable to clearly articulate the skills and knowledge required in an appropriate role description.

  • Too few applications received to form a suitable pool of candidates.

  • Unable to recruit an individual with the required skills and knowledge.

  • Increased staff complement is still insufficient to meet the organization’s digital preservation needs.

  • Other staff disengage with digital preservation now a specialist is in role as they consider the issue “solved”.

  • New staff not integrated fully into the organization.

  • Recruitment of digital preservation staff requires the loss of another role.

  • Onboarding/training new staff reduces capacity to meet other commitments.

  • Expectations are raised too high in relation to the potential increase in digital preservation capabilities.

  • New staff member does not have the required skills/is disruptive to team dynamics.


Repository migration to cloud

Potential benefits and risks associated with migrating from a home grown and on-premise digital preservation system to a cloud hosted system.

  • The organization’s digital preservation capacity is enhanced by the introduction of new tools and functionality.

  • Cyber security risks are lowered by ensuring that systems can be routinely patched and maintained.

  • Increased productivity and throughput, due to less system downtime.

  • Reduced staff intervention and human error, as the system can be integrated with other library platforms.

  • Better usability and accessibility for staff, as the new product meets web accessibility standards.

  • Environmental footprint reduced, due to move to cloud storage.

  • Ability to meet deposit and storage demands, as the new system can be scaled. 

  • Data quality is improved when records are cleaned as part of the migration process.

  • The organization is not able to hire/allocate staff with appropriate skills to undertake the migration.

  • Service levels depend on the relationship with the supplier which might deteriorate.

  • The supplier goes into administration.

  • Valuable data is lost as part of migration process.

  • The migration process, notoriously complicated, overruns the allocated time.

  • Components of the current homegrown system go out of support during the migration process, increasing security risks.

  • Other business functions are negatively impacted, as staff are allocated to the migration project.

  • Integration of library/catalogue system with other platforms does not work as expected.

  • Some functionality in the old homegrown repository is not available in the commercial off-the-shelf product.


Procuring a Digital Preservation System: Benefits and Risks

Potential benefits and risks associated with procuring and establishing a new digital preservation system.

  • Enhances the reputation of the organization by demonstrating a commitment to digital preservation and a willingness to invest in this activity.

  • Reduce basal costs (initial development costs) for the organization, as the procurement of a new system will make it easier and cheaper for the organization to achieve its digital preservation goals.

  • Protect existing investment in digital asset, as the new system will reduce the likelihood of loss or damage to its digital assets

  • Protect the organization’s reputation with improved digital preservation capability and capacity as a result of procuring the new system (offering greater resilience and protection of assets).

  • Unlock the potential for greater usage, exploitation or monetization of digital assets as the new system enables the organization to derive new/additional benefits from the digital assets in its care.

  • Procuring a new digital preservation system will enable regulatory or legal compliance which is essential for maintaining or enhancing the reputation of the organization.

  • Facilitate future planning for collections, by tracking storage growth and access requirements. The new system may offer improved reporting and enhance the organization’s ability to manage and provide access to preserved digital assets.

  • Streamline workflows and reduce manual tasks, saving staff time and reducing likelihood of human error. The organization will benefit from efficiency savings and greater resilience in its management of digital assets.

  • Bring in further funding and/or donations by enhancing trust in the organization. Procuring the new system will demonstrate organizational commitment to digital preservation and lead to enhanced trust in the organization.

  • The new digital preservation system is not compatible with existing systems. It fails to integrate effectively with existing systems, metadata, or processes.

  • System is not fit for purpose as the newly procured system does not offer the benefits that were anticipated and/or promised by the vendor.

  • Insufficient use of the system by staff post-implementation, through lack of awareness, training, and/or capacity. The potential benefits and value of the system are not fully realized due to other factors.

  • Intractable technical problems for preserving some kinds of digital content. The new system is unable to store/manage certain digital assets that are important or valuable to the organization.

  • The organization is unable to update and maintain the system with the result that it becomes obsolete and presents a risk to the proper preservation of the organization’s digital assets.

  • Commitment/investment in the system makes it difficult to switch to other solutions that emerge over time. The new digital preservation system ultimately results in vendor lock-in or other undesirable outcomes.


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