Any policy should clearly explain how it supports the overarching strategy or mandate of the organization. If your organization has a mission statement or defined strategic objectives you may find it useful to establish the policy within the context of this overarching statement, particularly if this helps to justify the preservation of digital content. A mission statement or organizational strategy document usually sets out the organization’s main drivers or motivators, so it is useful to help identify what these are and explain how digital preservation supports this mission.

Organizations preserve digital content for different reasons – this may form part of a statutory role (such as legal deposit), to comply with legal or regulatory requirements, or to support organizational or business functions. The policy should therefore briefly explain the drivers which underpin this policy including, where it may not be obvious, why they necessitate digital preservation. It may be helpful to clarify whether this mandate is obligatory or discretionary.

Mission statements are generally one, or a maximum of two, sentences, so this section of your policy may not need to be much longer. More detailed examples do exist and are also worth looking at. Note in particular:

Note that there is much variation in how organizations structure this information. It may not always sit under its own heading for example. As it provides important context to the policy and the preservation work that it describes, it is recommended it is included in every policy, ideally within one of the introductory sections of the document.

Example policy statements

Library and Archives Canada

As set out in the LAC Act ​​preamble, LAC’s primary objectives include preservation of documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and serving as the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions. LAC is mandated in section 7(a) to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada, and in section 7(c) to act as the permanent repository of publications of the Government of Canada and of government and ministerial records that are of historical or archival value.

Library and Archives Canada Preservation Policy Framework (2022)

Bodleian Libraries

Bodleian Libraries collects, creates and provides access to collections on behalf of members of the University of Oxford and the wider world of scholarship. Through preserving its unique digital collections, Bodleian Libraries enables the University of Oxford’s vision to support research and education on a national and global scale.
As a legal deposit library, Bodleian Libraries has a legal mandate to collect digital collections acquired under UK non-print legal deposit legislation (2013). In collaboration with the UK’s other five legal deposit libraries, Bodleian Libraries is committed to contributing towards the preservation of non-print legal deposit collections on behalf of current and future generations.

Bodleian Libraries Digital Preservation Policy (2022)

 Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

ICPSR fulfills its role as a trusted steward of the heritage of the social sciences by capturing the results of past and current social science research for future researchers. The Digital Preservation Policy Framework supports that mission and is the highest level digital preservation policy document at ICPSR. It makes explicit ICPSR's commitment to preserving the digital assets in its collections through the development and evolution of a comprehensive digital preservation program. The framework reflects the goals defined in the ICPSR Strategic Plan and contains references to other relevant ICPSR policies and procedures. The audience for the framework includes ICPSR members, staff, digital content depositors, funders, and users.

ICPSR Digital Preservation Policy Framework (2018)

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