For a policy to be effective, roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined and agreed. Responsibilities should cover both the governance and the implementation of the policy, so may include internal staff and external users and service providers. As a minimum, responsibilities for ownership, oversight and escalation, implementation, and adherence to the policy should be included. In smaller organizations, individual staff may play multiple roles.

Roles and responsibilities should not only be defined, but also agreed and communicated. They should be realistic and achievable. The organization should ensure that staff have the appropriate skills and experience to undertake their defined roles and this should be reflected within relevant job descriptions for posts and/or terms of reference for groups.

Avoid referring to individuals by name within your policy since this information quickly goes out of date. Instead, to enable proper succession planning, allocate responsibilities to specific role titles, teams or groups within your organization.

Some organizations may find it useful to organize their roles and responsibilities using a RACI matrix. The RACI matrix defines responsibilities which fall into the following four areas:

  • Responsible: the role(s)/groups/suppliers who are responsible for adhering to the policy and for the practical implementation of it in day-to-day work.

  • Accountable: the role(s)/group(s) who are held accountable for the success of the policy and who provide high-level oversight (generally more senior roles or management groups within the organization).

  • Consulted: the role(s)/group(s) who provide input on issues or new processes relating to digital preservation.

  • Informed: the role(s)/group(s) who should be aware of the policy, but do not work directly with digital content in scope of the policy.

Example policy statements

When done well, this section of a digital preservation policy is typically quite long. Good examples include:

The Postal Museum Digital Preservation Policy (2022) is an excellent and detailed example of the use of a RACI matrix. 

Cambridge University Libraries Digital Preservation Policy (2021) formats this section with the use of tables, looking first at who has strategic oversight of the policy and next at operational roles and responsibilities. 

University of Glasgow Digital Preservation Policy (2020) takes each team or department in turn and lists their responsibilities (for example Library, Records and Information Management and IT Services). It then assigns certain responsibilities to all staff (as content creators). 

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