Implement digital preservation

The following tools provide detailed guidance on advancing or refreshing digital preservation capabilities within an organisation. Please note that elements of some of these resources are available to members only, so please log in to access them.


DPC Rapid Assessment Model

Use this to benchmark your digital preservation maturity and inform planning and prioritisation of future preservation activities


Digital Preservation Policy Toolkit

Use this to help develop a new or revised digital preservation policy


Executive Guide on Digital Preservation

Use this to help advocate and communicate effectively with senior managment. Also see Make The Case for Digital Preservation in Your Organisation


Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit

*Currently under revision*
Use this to discover additional resources to enhance your procurement experience


Digital Preservation Procurement Toolkit

Use this to help deliver a successful procurement of third party digital preservation services or infrastructure

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Digital Preservation Procurement Toolkit

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Use this to help deliver a successful procurement of third party digital preservation services or infrastructure

This Toolkit does not aim to provide a guide to procurement itself, but instead to provide advice on how to get the best result possible out of a procurement process with a minimum of pain. It has been designed primarily for DPC Members who are procuring services, but it will also provide benefits to vendors/suppliers by improving communication, clarity and efficiency throughout a procurement. Consultation with both DPC Members and DPC Supporters suggests that both parties have much to gain if this taxing process can be improved.

Please note that the Lessons Learned section is available to DPC members only, who should login to use it.




A foreword and introduction to this Toolkit, with thoughts on future development
Use this to find out more about the toolkit and how to apply it.


Lessons learned in digital preservation procurement

DPC Members only

A detailed guide providing lessons learned on procurement based on DPC Members experiences.
Use this to focus your procurement process on choosing the right solution, and avoiding common pitfalls.


Common requirements for repository procurement

A set of resources to support the creation and communication of requirements for repository procurement.
Use this to help develop your requirements and communicate them clearly. Avoid reinventing the wheel.


DP Futures Webinars with DPC Supporters

DPC Members only

Recordings of the DPC team questioning our DPC Supporters on key issues identified by DPC Members.
Use these recordings to get a feel for the different offerings, outlook and ways of working of key vendors - essential research.


Resources for procurement from DPC Supporters - coming soon

A list of resources to help with procurement, provided by DPC Supporters.
Use this to discover additional resources to enhance your procurement experience.


University of Melbourne case study - coming soon

DPC Members only

Experiences from the University of Melbourne in procuring a preservation repository.
Use this to learn from the experiences of another organisation in building a team to deliver an effective procurement.


Further resources

A list of additional guidance materials relating to procurement.
Use this as a reference point for further reading on the subject.

The Digital Preservation Policy Toolkit was collated by Paul Wheatley, and was the built on the wealth of knowledge offered by DPC Members and Supporters - many thanks to them for their generous contributions to this toolkit. 

Thanks to Tom Woolley for the illustrations.

Please note that the "Lessons Learned in digipres procurement section is made available for DPC Members only and is not CC-BY-NC.

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Digital Preservation Policy Toolkit

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DPC Members only: please login to access all of the sections below.

This Toolkit provides information to assist in the construction of a digital preservation policy. It will help guide you from initial research and preparation phases, to drafting your policy, gathering feedback and, finally, polishing and communicating the finished policy. 

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for writing a digital preservation policy. How you write your policy will depend on your own context and will need to take account of the intended audience and purpose, the drivers within your organization and its digital preservation maturity. This Toolkit seeks to guide you through a process which will help you to understand this organizational context, and then communicate a policy that is fully relevant to it.




An overview and introduction to preservation policies and this toolkit.
Use this to find out more about the toolkit and how to apply it.


What makes a good digital preservation policy?

Experience pooled from within the DPC on what makes a good (and bad) policy.
Use this to set off in the right direction for creating your new policy.


Step-by-step-guide to building a preservation policy

A step by step guide to the researching, drafting, establishing and sustaining a preservation policy.
Use this to plan out how you will develop and establish your new policy.


Template for building a preservation policy

A detailed guide for building a preservation policy, with lots of references to existing policies.
Use this to establish the structure of your policy and to guide the development of its content.


University of Bristol Case Study

An exemplar policy that was developed alongside this Toolkit, and a details of how it was created.
Use this to learn from the experiences of another organisation.


Further resources

A list of additional guidance materials relating to preservation policies.
Use this as a reference point for further reading on the subject.

The Digital Preservation Policy Toolkit was delivered through the collaborative efforts of Stephen Gray, Emma Hancox, Debra Hiom, Hannah Lowery and Julian Warren from the University of Bristol; William Kilbride, Sarah Middleton, Jenny Mitcham and Paul Wheatley from the Digital Preservation Coalition; and invited experts Adrian Brown (Parliamentary Archives), Neil Grindley (Jisc), Edith Halvarsson (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford) and Natalie Harrower (Digital Repository Ireland).

Thanks are owed to the University of Bristol for funding and hosting the Toolkit Book Sprint, and in particular for feeding the Sprint team!

Thanks go to Joost van der Nat at DDHN for very kindly translating the latest policy work at the DDHN for us, which was fed into the melting pot of information from which we built the Toolkit.

Thanks to Tom Woolley for the lovely illustrations - it was great to work with Tom again, after we last worked together on the Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit as part of the SPRUCE Project.

Thanks go to Martin Klein and Herbert Van der Sompel for advice on using Robust Links and to Colin Armstrong for implementing them.

And finally, a big thank you goes out to all the authors of existing resources on this subject which we have attempted to distill, enhance and build into this Toolkit.

Please note that the Preservation Policy Toolkit is made available for DPC Members only and is not CC-BY-NC.

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How to level up with DPC RAM

The following resources are provided to help you to move forward with digital preservation. They are organized into the DPC RAM sections so you can see what will be relevant if you want to focus on making progress in a particular area.

We welcome suggestions of other resources to add to this list.

A - Organizational viability

Governance, organizational structure, staffing and resourcing of digital preservation activities.

  • DPC Executive Guide - generic and specific messages and motivators designed to communicate with senior executives, legislators and budget holders.
  • Business Case Toolkit - A comprehensive toolkit to help practitioners and middle managers build business cases to fund digital preservation activities.
  • Staff Training and Development (Digital Preservation Handbook)

B - Policy and strategy

Policies, strategies, and procedures which govern the operation and management of the digital archive.

C - Legal basis

Management of contractual, licensing, and other legal rights and responsibilities relating to acquiring, preserving and providing access to digital content (e.g. licencing, copyright, terms and conditions of use, data protection regulation).

D - IT capability

Information Technology capabilities for supporting digital preservation activities.

E - Continuous improvement

Processes for the assessment of current digital preservation capabilities, the definition of goals and the monitoring of progress.

F - Community

Engagement with and contribution to the wider digital preservation community.

G - Acquisition, transfer and ingest

Processes to acquire or transfer content and ingest it into a digital archive.

  • COPTR (Community Owned digital Preservation Tool Registry) - a great source of information about tools that can be used to support all the stages of the digital preservation lifecycle, including tools for functions that typically occur on ingest.
  • COW (Community Owned Workflows) - information about workflows that institutions have employed to carry out digital preservation activities (note that this resource will be further developed in 2020).
  •  Acquisition and Appraisal (Digital Preservation Handbook)

H - Bitstream preservation

Processes to ensure the storage and integrity of digital content to be preserved.

I - Content preservation

Processes to preserve the meaning of the digital content and ensure its continued accessibility and usability over time.

  • COPTR (Community Owned digital Preservation Tool Registry) - information about tools that can be used to support all the stages of the digital preservation lifecycle, including tools for activities such as file identification, validation and quality control.
  • Preservation Planning (Digital Preservation Handbook)
  • Preservation Action (Digital Preservation Handbook)

J - Metadata management

Processes to create and maintain sufficient metadata to support preservation, management and use of preserved digital content.

K - Discovery and access

Processes to enable discovery of digital content and provide access for users.

  •  Access (Digital Preservation Handbook)
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How often should DPC RAM be used?

DPC RAM has continuous improvement at its core!

Though it can be used for a one-off exercise it is recommended that it is applied on a more regular basis to highlight progress or demonstrate where further resource is required. It has been designed to provide a rapid assessment of current capabilities so it should not be too onerous a task to apply it on a regular schedule.

DPC Members will be encouraged to complete the DPC RAM on an annual basis.

"The DPC RAM was an easy tool to understand, straightforward to implement, and took around an hour of my time to complete. The RAM itself was incredibly useful in helping identify our digital preservation strengths, but also areas for future development and work. The RAM is written in such a way as to encourage reflection at an organisational and strategic level, and I found it a useful addition our existing policy and procedural documents."

Tim Evans, Deputy Director, Archaeology Data Service 

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How should DPC RAM be used?

Applying DPC RAM should be fairly straightforward but there are a few important things to note:

  • The bulleted lists provided within a level for each of the criteria are provided as illustrative examples only - you don’t have to tick them all off before you have attained a level. They may not all apply to the context in which you work, or you may have other things that you do that help you reach that level.
  • Make an honest and realistic assessment which level best fits your current capability. If you partially meet a level but would like to do some more work in order to sit comfortably within it, the score (for now) should be the level below. You can always plan to hit the higher level next time around!
  • It is up to you to define the scope of what you are measuring - you may decide to carry out one DPC RAM assessment for all digital content of long term value held by your organization or you may find it more useful to focus on one stream of content or one department within a larger institution. Use it in whatever way is useful to you and your institution!
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How long will it take to use DPC RAM?

The model is designed to be relatively quick and easy to use for any organisation charged with preserving digital information for the long term. Some institutions have applied this model in less than 1 hour. For others it may take longer, particularly if wider consultation with a range of colleagues is required or if multiple streams of digital content are being assessed.

Note that though establishing where your organization is using DPC RAM may be a relatively quick process,  it may take longer to consider where you would like to be and to plan actions for moving forward.

“DPC RAM seems straightforward, offers stepwise improvements and covers a broader range of capabilities, not just technical ones. I think that teams with limited resources can be put off undertaking an assessment because they don’t feel they have sufficient time to read through the guidance, understand the model and then carry out a detailed assessment, so they never get round to it. The DPC RAM is much less daunting to complete so I think staff would be encouraged to try it out.”

Alison Spence, Research Information Administrator, University of Glasgow

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Who can use DPC RAM?

The model can be used by any organisation with a need to preserve digital information for the long term. It should be possible to apply it regardless of the sector in which you work or the type of information that you are preserving. The maturity levels are based on existing good practice and try to be agnostic to particular preservation strategies or approaches.


DPC RAM for DPC Members

Whilst the model is freely available for anyone to use, DPC Members will have the additional benefit of the ability to benchmark and compare their results with that of other members. The model when applied across the DPC membership will also help facilitate DPC Member Support activities and work planning, enabling the capture of basic information on member needs and highlighting areas where additional support is needed.

“We can see the benefits of the possibility of DPC sending members trends and analysis of members' assessment results. You'd get a feeling of whether you were heading in similar or different directions to your peers and it would potentially pave the way to collaborative working.”

Laura Giles, Digital Archivist, Hull History Centre 



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What to do after DPC RAM

After completing your DPC RAM assessment you may want to follow up with some further activities:


  • Share your assessment with colleagues and senior managers within your organization. A copy of the assessment can be used as a conversation starter to talk about where you are now and what areas would benefit from improvement.
  • Use the results of your assessment as evidence within a business case for digital preservation as it will help to effectively illustrate gaps and priority areas for improvement. The Business Case Toolkit may also help with this.
  • Establish a roadmap or plan of action for the year ahead. If there is a mismatch in your current level and target level for any of the sections of DPC RAM, consider what incremental steps you can start to take in order to improve. How to level up with DPC RAM (DPC Member login required) provides some useful resources related to each section of DPC RAM.
  • Set priorities, establishing which sections of the model you want to work on first and where you would like to see improvement over the next year.
  • Include some of the actions coming out of this assessment in your organization's forward planning or staff development processes.
  • Revise your preservation policy or strategy to ensure it accurately reflects your aspirations.
  • If you are a DPC Member: Speak to the DPC if you would like to benchmark your own digital preservation capability against that of other member organizations. We will be able to provide you with anonymized comparative information about the membership as a whole that may be of use to you for internal advocacy.
 “We think that this tool will be useful for us in terms of advocacy and will be using it for benchmarking as part of our roadmap going forward.”

Edith Halvarsson, Polonsky Fellow - Digital Preservation, Policy and Planning, Bodleian Libraries 


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DPC Rapid Assessment Model

What is DPC RAM?

DPC RAM homeThe DPC Rapid Assessment Model (RAM) is a digital preservation maturity modelling tool that has been designed to enable rapid benchmarking of an organization’s digital preservation capability.

This model aims to be:

  • Applicable for organizations of any size and in any sector
  • Applicable for all content of long-term value
  • Preservation strategy and solution agnostic
  • Based on existing good practice
  • Simple to understand and quick to apply

DPC Members, login to watch the introductory webinar on the DPC RAM

Where is DPC RAM?

The model is freely available to all. DPC Members login to the website to access online data entry form and additional member benefits.

DPC Members login to see the online form for submitting your results


How was it developed?

The model is primarily based on Adrian Brown's Digital Preservation Maturity Model (published in Practical Digital Preservation: a how-to guide for organizations of any size, 2013). It has been developed, tested and refined with input from DPC Members and Supporters including those who make up our Research and Practice Sub-Committee. Particular thanks go to Adrian Brown for his support throughout the process. Work on the DPC RAM was carried out in conjunction with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as part of a two year collaborative digital preservation project.


How are DPC Members using DPC RAM?

Here are some examples of how DPC RAM has been used by Members to help benchmark their progress in digital preservation.


Need to know more?


How to submit comments and feedback on DPC RAM

If you have any suggestions for updates or additions, please email info[at]dpconline[dot]org, or contact us via Twitter at @dpc_chat.


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This model was developed in conjunction with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Image adapted from licensed under CC BY 4.0

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