Illustration by Jørgen Stamp CC BY 2.5 Denmark

Development of the Handbook

The Handbook was first created in 2001 as a print publication Preservation Management of Digital Materials: a Handbook, printed by British Library Publishing (Jones and Beagrie, 2001). A limited edition CD of the Handbook was produced in February 2002 for the launch of the DPC at the House of Commons. The online digital version of the Handbook was made available on the DPC website shortly after this in May 2002. An archived version of this "first online edition" of the Handbook is available in the UK Web Archive (UKWA, 2009).

For over a decade subsequently, the online edition of the Handbook has provided an internationally authoritative and practical guide to the subject of managing digital resources over time and the issues in sustaining access to them. However, only a few small additions have been made to the Handbook since it was made available online. The DPC set itself a strategic target to raise research grant funding to completely update the Handbook and integrate it more closely with the Technology Watch series to maintain its future currency and ease of updating.

In 2014, The National Archives (TNA) as lead funder with supplementary funding from the Archives and Records Association, British Library, Jisc, and National Archives of Scotland, provided a research grant to begin the full revision of the Handbook and promoting its use and uptake. This work was undertaken under the direction of William Kilbride Director of the DPC and the editor Neil Beagrie, and has been supported by an extensive advisory board and set of contributors.

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) is a not-for-profit organisation that makes the Digital Preservation Handbook freely available as an online resource: it is heavily used for Continuous Professional Development, by university students, and for training in digital preservation. A review of digital preservation training by the APARSEN project has highlighted the narrow range of topics covered by most initiatives (APARSEN, 2012). It highlights current gaps in topic coverage that suggested an updated revised edition of the Handbook would meet ongoing needs.

As part of preparation for the 2nd edition, a mapping was undertaken between the Handbook and Aparsen recommendations and also to the DigCurV Curriculum Framework for Digital Curation (DigCurV, 2013). Extensive audience research informed the Handbook's proposed development and this included input from 285 members of the community via an online survey (DPC, 2014a) and a public consultation on a draft content outline (DPC, 2014b).

The Harvard System has been used for references, in the same style as the DPC Technology Watch Reports.

This focus on engaging the digital preservation community to ensure the Handbook represents the needs of a broad range of organisations and sectors, has continued through its revision via use of collaborative "book-sprints" and its Advisory Board.


The Second Edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook was delivered from a collaborative research project based on a consortium agreement between The National Archives, The Archives and Records Association, the British Library, Charles Beagrie Ltd, the Digital Preservation Coalition, and Jisc.  

  • The project funding was initiated by The National Archives.  Aware of the digital preservation challenge faced by the archives sector and responsive to its role to provide strategic sector leadership, it offered 50% of the estimated required project funds (ie Gold Sponsorship) on the understanding that the DPC should either find the remaining funds by attracting additional sponsors or underwrite the costs directly.  
  • The DPC Board, eager to revise the Handbook, agreed to the offer from The National Archives, offering DPC staff time and ensuring that material costs (such as the website) would be supplied at no cost. The DPC also made a cash contribution from member funds. 
  • Charles Beagrie Ltd joined the consortium as the editorial partners to undertake original research, develop content and design, and co-ordinate quality assurance.  Charles Beagrie Ltd provided an in-kind contribution of staff time (equivalent to Bronze Sponsorship), helping to underwrite the final editorial tasks to complete the Handbook.  
  • Jisc joined the collaboration early recognising that archivists and research data managers in higher education would be well placed to use the Handbook.  Jisc’s funds (Silver Sponsorship) enabled the  development of the three content specific preservation sections and the ‘book sprint’ methodology.  
  • The British Library also joined the collaboration early, reflecting their role in the original Handbook.  Funds from the British Library (Silver Sponsorship) enabled a comprehensive needs assessment and survey which formed the basis of the revised table of contents.  
  • After a period of content development and proto-typing, the Archives and Records Association (ARA) joined the collaboration offering funds (Silver Sponsorship) from their own research grants, ensuring that draft texts were systematically and comprehensively peer-reviewed prior to release, and that the DPC was able to take the Handbook ‘on the road’ in a series of training events accessible to ARA members.
  • Finally funds were supplied from the National Records of Scotland (Bronze Sponsorship) to enable wide dissemination and timely launch.  

The DPC Board formally thanks the partners, noting also the many additional contributions, introductions and encouragements that they made to the successful completion of the project.


Gold sponsor

Silver sponsors

ARA Logo 1

Bronze sponsors

cbeagrielogo has kindly given permission for use of the illustrations in the section headings of the Handbook and the icons in the Resources and Case Studies, produced by Jørgen Stamp. These are copyright of and shared under a CC BY 2.5 Denmark licence (illustrations) , and a CC0 1.0 licence (icons)

Handbook Managing Editor: Sharon McMeekin (from June 2016)

Previous Managing Editor: Neil Beagrie (until June 2016)

Handbook Contributors

Matthew Addis

Arkivum Ltd (book sprint 1)

Neil Beagrie

Charles Beagrie Ltd (book sprint 1, book sprint 2, book sprint 3, book sprint 4, Cloud services, Glossary, Handbook 1st edition, Introduction, e-journals preservation case study, Resources and case studies)

Daphne Charles

Charles Beagrie Ltd (Handbook web content design and input, desk research and audience research for Handbook)

Andrew Charlesworth

University of Bristol (Cloud services)

Tracey Clarke

University of Sheffield (book sprint 3)

Glenn Cumiskey

British Museum (book sprint 2)

Stefanie Davidson

West Yorkshire Archive Service (book sprint 1)

Michael Day

British Library (book sprint 1)

Matt Faber

Jisc (book sprint 1, book sprint 2)

Chris Fryer

Parliamentary Archives (book sprint 1)

Dave Govier

Manchester Met Archives Network (book sprint 3)

Stephen Grace

University of East London (book sprint 2)

Alex Green

The National Archives (book sprint 2)

Edith Halvarsson

British Library (book sprint 3)

Anna Henry

Tate Gallery (book sprint 1)

Sarah Higgins

University of Aberystwyth (book sprint 3)

Jeremy Leighton John

British Library (Digital forensics)

Maggie Jones

formerly Digital Preservation Coalition (Handbook 1st edition)

William Kilbride

Digital Preservation Coalition (book sprint 1, book sprint 3, book sprint 4)

Gareth Knight

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (book sprint 2)

Sharon McMeekin

Digital Preservation Coalition (book sprint 2, book sprint 3, book sprint 4)

Paul Miller

Cloud of Data (Cloud services)

Jenny Mitcham

University of York (book sprint 3)

Laura Peaurt

University of Sheffield (book sprint 3)

Maureen Pennock

British Library (Web archiving)

Ed Pinsent

University of London Computer Centre (book sprint 1)

Virginia Power

Jisc (book sprint 1)

Vicky Stretch

Network Rail (book sprint 3)

Susan Thomas

Bodleian Library University of Oxford (book sprint 1)

Dave Thompson

Wellcome Trust (book sprint 3)

Paul Wheatley

Digital Preservation Coalition (book sprint 2, book sprint 3, book sprint 4)

Simon Wilson

Hull University Archives (book sprint 3)

Richard Wright

formerly BBC (Moving picture and sound)


Management board

CHAIR: William Kilbride

Digital Preservation Coalition

John Chambers, Chris Fryer

Archives and Records Association

Maureen Pennock

British Library

Neil Beagrie (editor)

Charles Beagrie Ltd

Neil Grindley, Virginia Power, Matt Faber


Emma Markiewicz, Matt Greenhall, Jane Anderson, Isobel Hunter

The National Archives


Advisory board

CHAIR: William Kilbride

Digital Preservation Coalition

Nancy Y McGovern

MIT Libraries

Marcel Ras

NCDD, Dutch National Coalition for Digital Preservation

Timothy Gollins

The National Archives and National Records of Scotland

Stefanie Davidson

West Yorkshire Archive Service

Sarah Higgins

Department of Information Studies, Aberystwyth University

Joy Davidson

Digital Curation Centre, University of Glasgow

Virginia Power & Matt Faber


Anna Henry

Tate Gallery

Chris Fryer

Parliamentary Archives

Simon Tanner

King's College London

Michael Day

British Library

Susan Thomas

Bodleian Library University of Oxford

Carla Shields

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland

Marion Downie

The National Archives

Hania Smerecka

Lloyds Banking Group Archives

Peer reviewers

We would also like to record our thanks to the 26 individuals who have contributed to peer review of draft sections of the Handbook relevant to their areas of expertise and interest. We are grateful to members of the advisory board and in addition to Hugh Campbell (Public Record of Northern Ireland), Andrew Charlesworth (University of Bristol), Carey Clifford (Grosvenor Group), Lee Hibberd (National Library of Scotland), Neil Jefferies (University of Oxford), Catherine Jones (Science and Technology Facilities Council), Naomi Korn (Naomi Korn Copyright Consultancy Ltd ), Ingrid McDonald (Queensland State Archives), Laura Molloy (University of Oxford), Barbara Sierman (KB), Charlene Taylor (Worcestershire Archive & Archaeology Service), Kate Watson (Dorset County Council), Rebecca Webster (UCL Institute of Education), and Cathy Williams (The National Archives) for their reviews and suggestions that have made very significant contributions to the Handbook.


APARSEN, 2012. D43.1 Survey for the Asssessment of Training Material/Assessment of Digital Curation Requirements. Available:

DigCurV, 2013. A Curriculum Framework for Digital Curation. Available:

DPC, 2014a. Report on the Preparatory User Consultation on the 2nd Edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook. Available:

DPC, 2014b. Draft Outline of the 2nd Edition of the Digital Preservation Handbook. Available:

Jones, M. & Beagrie, N., 2001. Preservation Management of Digital Materials, A Handbook. The British Library

UKWA (UK Web Archive), 2009. 8 captures (April 2008-December 2009) of the first edition of the online version of the Handbook. Available: