Illustration by Jørgen Stamp CC BY 2.5 Denmark


Applying it in practice


The needs of institutions regarding the digital materials they create and acquire vary considerably. This Handbook is intended to provide a bridge between broad, high level overviews and explicit, detailed guidelines applicable to the needs of a specific institution. The strategic overviews are intended to link to operational activities in order to reinforce the need to develop practical procedures grounded firmly in the business mission of the institution. The Handbook provides pointers to where to find further guidance and to assist in developing policies and practices which are most applicable to the individual institution.

Ideally, the Handbook should be used to help focus thoughts, increase overall understanding, promote training, and act as a catalyst for further action. Nothing will preclude the need for each organisation ultimately to commit the necessary resources to an action plan but this Handbook is intended to oil the wheels of that process.


Handbook resources


The Handbook is advocating an overall approach to preserving digital resources based on sound principles and policies rather than prescriptive formulae. As the crucial importance of digital preservation becomes more widely recognised, an increasing number of valuable sources of guidance are appearing at a rapid rate. While potentially incredibly valuable, their proliferation can make it bewildering to decide which ones are likely to be most applicable for a given situation.

By selecting key Resources and Case Studies in each section, the Handbook should make it easier to navigate through existing sources of advice, guidance and options. As well as pointing to existing sources of guidance, we have used a combination of decision tree, summary checklists, selected exemplars and case studies, and commentary. These are intended to stimulate and promote further thought and discussion but above all, to stimulate action by institutions to develop digital preservation management policies and strategies appropriate to their needs.

Resources have been grouped into categories and denoted by the following icons:



Web resources

Video and webinars

Case studies



Introductory overviews


The Handbook is intended for a wide and diverse audience, from those who are only beginning to consider managing digital materials to practitioners who have already accumulated considerable theoretical and/or practical experience. It has been written with the intention of allowing quick and easy access to the most appropriate sections.

Each section is preceded by an 'at a glance' guide to its intended primary audience, their assumed level of knowledge, and the purpose of the section. The table below will help you decide which sections are likely to be most relevant. to you. It is however not intended to be rigidly prescriptive and anyone wishing to, can of course read the Handbook in its entirety!

The Executive Lens, Manager Lens, and Practitioner Lens of the DigCurV Curriculum Framework for Digital Curation (DigCurV, 2013) have been used within the wider Handbook as primary audience classifications.

All readers are encouraged to read the Introduction.

The Glossary provides concise explanations of key concepts and definitions of acronyms and initials used by organisations and projects throughout the Handbook.



Recommended sections and audiences



Recommended sections

Anyone requiring an introduction to the subject

Digital preservation briefing

Getting started

Creators and publishers

Digital preservation briefing

Organisational activities

Technical solutions and tools

Funding agencies

Digital preservation briefing

Operational managers (DigCurV Manager Lens)

Institutional strategies

Organisational activities

Technical solutions and tools

Operational staff (DigCurV Practitioner Lens)

Getting started

Organisational activities

Technical solutions and tools

Content-specific preservation

Senior administrators (DigCurV Executive Lens)

Institutional strategies

Third party service providers

Institutional strategies

Organisational activities

Technical solutions and tools


Re-use of the Handbook


Re-use in English


The Handbook text is made available in English under an Open Government licence v3.0 so that it can be re-used as widely as possible. You are welcome to incorporate Handbook sections locally into training manuals and other materials. Please use this form of acknowledgement in re-use: Digital Preservation Handbook, 2nd Edition,  Digital Preservation Coalition © 2015 licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. 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) They can also be re-used if the relevant credit line and acknowledgement used in the Handbook are included.

However please be aware that the Handbook will continue to be updated, and assist users by:
  1. Providing a url link back to the latest online edition of the Handbook on the DPC website so that users can check for latest updates.
  2. Joining the Digital Preservation list on Jiscmail so that you will receive future notifications of the latest changes and updates to the Handbook. To subscribe to the list go to
  3. Citing use of the Handbook
As well as being good practice, it will be helpful for the DPC in reporting back to the funders and sponsors of the Handbook and showing its impact.



Translations and re-use in other languages

We welcome requests to translate the Handbook into other languages. The DPC will follow the principles and agreements made for translations of its other publications and will arrange a formal agreement for the translation so that all arrangements are clear for the longer term. Typically we would want:

  • To upload the translation on to the DPC website. The use made of our publications is one of our core impact measures so there is a need to ensure the resulting web analytics are available.
  • To assign a DOI to the translation. This means that users would not need to know the report was served from the DPC website: other organisations could link to it from any source page. It also means we would be committed to maintaining the url indefinitely (meaning the translator does not need to do so).
  • To retain existing branding and credits in the publication. We would propose a special foreword or introduction which could include a description of the translation and would be happy for additional logo and branding to be prominent on the front page and throughout.
  • To retain a final say in the finished outcome as the DPC also has a stake in the quality and reputation of the translated version of the Handbook. This may include sending it to a native reader for an independent peer review.




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