Both high level strategic documentation and practical procedures and workflows are required to implement digital preservation successfully. 

When writing a preservation policy, don’t start from scratch, use what is out there already. For us this included the DPC Preservation Policy Toolkit (focusing in particular on the required elements) and digital preservation policies from other organizations which were available online. The time we have taken to write our policy has been well spent - it demonstrates why we are doing what we are doing.” -  Samantha Case, Barcardi

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  • Writing a digital preservation policy is one of the key requirements for moving up the levels of DPC RAM and can be a valuable advocacy exercise in its own right. As described in the DPC’s Preservation Policy Toolkit, writing a policy generally involves many different stakeholders and will need to be read and signed off at a high level. 

  • Writing a policy can be a daunting task, so start off small and simple. As a minimum you should explain what digital content you are keeping and why. Write a short draft to circulate and get reactions early on. It is important to get colleagues engaged and talking and feedback received will help to frame the direction of travel.

  • Start with an aspirational policy - this can be helpful in pushing things forward and reaching agreement of what you should be doing (even if the reality is quite different).

  • Schedule in regular reviews of your policy, particularly if it is aspirational in the first instance. As your digital preservation programme moves from theory to practice, check back on your policy frequently to make sure it accurately reflects what you are doing.

  • If your organization needs persuading that a digital preservation policy is needed, consider what drivers you can use to change their mind - for example a preservation policy may be needed if your organization would like to apply for digital preservation certification or accreditation in the future.

  • Consider what other policies your organization has that relate to digital preservation. Can you build on these or further develop them?

  • Consider how you will communicate any policy, strategy or procedure that is created. Consider who needs to know about it and what they need to know. It may be helpful to have a clear idea of any action or behaviour change you might be looking for. It is one thing to encourage people to read and understand a document, but a more impactful outcome is to encourage them to take steps to put it into action. 

  • Document any digital preservation procedures and workflows that are in place and ensure staff are aware of them as appropriate.

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