"...an enabling policy and regulatory environment including organisations and technical infrastructure which is appropriately resourced"

While each organization will robably prioritize these elements differently, essentially all organizations require the same four things to enable effective digital preservation:

  1. An Enabling Policy and Regulatory Environment

    1. Broad understanding of the issues - policy-makers, regulators, and legislators need to understand the importance of digital preservation and the potential impact of inaction on all areas of government and society, e.g. health, economy, culture.
    2. Supporting Legislation - absence of this creates a barrier which people, procedures and processes and technology cannot overcome. Digital preservation concerns must be folded into legislation covering issues such as copyright and legal deposit.
  2. Organizational Infrastructure

    made of:
    1. Institutional Buy-In – digital preservation must ultimately become core business, with project transitioning at the appropriate point in time. Effective digital preservation benefits the entire organization through sustained, efficient access to reliable, useful and useable data.
    2. People – a multi-disciplinary team is required with skills including information management and/or research data management, project and change management, software development, user engagement, and networking and storage maintenance amongst others.
    3. Procedure and Processes - identifying and developing policy, good practice and standards makes digital preservation achievable. It is essential to develop a risk management statement which supports prioritization of preservation actions and assigns roles and responsibilities for managing key digital materials in a transparent and professional manner.
  3. Technological Infrastructure

    made of:
    1. Systems and Services - maintain high quality and sustainable digital preservation services by understanding the shifting technological landscape, the options available, workflow management, and the people required to support the processes and systems.
    2. Information Security – ensure digital materials are stored securely, only accessed by authorized users, and authenticity and integrity are maintained.
    3. Accountability – digital preservation systems should support organizations in being transparent in how they deploy their strategies. Where contracts and procurement processes allow, communicate with other preservation stewards to understand the value and costs of services offered.
  4. Resources:

    1. Financial - sustainable, targeted and long-term funding is key to successful digital preservation. It must be funded as a part of core business rather than relying on grant/project funding to enable effective planning and consistency.
    2. Human - an appropriately skilled workforce must be created. Staff should have the skills to communicate their knowledge and the importance of digital preservation to different audiences. Invest in capacity, training and development to create a competent and responsive workforce ready to address the challenges of digital preservation. Ensure all staff have sufficient knowledge in digital preservation relevant to their roles to enable us to develop and maintain robust digital materials.

For hands-on practical guidance on getting started with digital preservation as well as an introduction to some of the organizational strategies you could adopt, take a look at the Digital Preservation Handbook.

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