We are very grateful to those people and organisations who have helped make translations of this resource available.


  • La traduction française a été réalisée en collaboration par la Cellule nationale de veille sur les formats, Valene Jouvet de la Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume-Uni et révisée par Roxana Maurer de la Bibliothèque nationale du Luxembourg. Lancée en 2019, la Cellule nationale de veille sur les formats (CNVF), sous l’égide de l’association française Aristote et de son groupe de travail sur la Pérennisation de l’information numérique (PIN), regroupe à ce jour une dizaine de partenaires, principalement des institutions publiques nationales. Ces principaux objectifs sont la mutualisation des activités de veille sur les formats, la sensibilisation des professionnels sur le sujet, la contribution ou l’influence sur les outils associés. Elle ambitionne d’être un interlocuteur francophone reconnu dans les travaux internationaux sur ces sujets.


  • Document translated by: Akiko Kimura, British Library
  • Document reviewed by: Etsuko Watanabe, National Archives of Japan
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We are very grateful to those people and organisations who have helped make translations of this resource available.


  • Document translated by: UNESCO
  • Document reviewed by: Valene Jouvert, British Library


  • Document translated by: UNESCO
  • Document reviewed by: Mirerza González (University of Puerto Rico), Georgina Sanabria and Perla Olivia Rodriguez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México).
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Translation Initiative



Over the years, the DPC's work has included the production of many guides and reports which have supported the development of digital preservation tools and standards, as well as the professional community engaged in digital preservation. These resources have been produced in English although they are of universal relevance.

The creation of multi-lingual DPC material is therefore a vital way of supporting the digital preservation community across the world, and a key part of the DPC’s internationalization strategy. 

The DPC's Translation Strategy sets out our plans for identifying, translating and making available a set of DPC resources in different languages. It accompanies the Translations Policy which describes the essential practices and processes for the provision of translations.

Translations of DPC resources are made available thanks to the hard work and efforts of our multi-lingual digital preservation community, and we thank them very much.

For questions relating to translations; opportunities, uses, or improvements please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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What is digital preservation?

This page provides definitions and explanations for anyone new to digital preservation who would like to take practical steps forward in sustaining their digital assets

I'm new to digital preservation, what is it?

The Digital Preservation Handbook provides the following definition:

Digital Preservation Refers to the series of managed activities necessary to ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary  ...(digital preservation) refers to all of the actions required to maintain access to digital materials beyond the limits of media failure or technological and organisational change.

Without frequent attention, digital content is at the mercy of many different risks, such as :

  • Rapid technological change may leave content unusable or unintelligable as the software that interprets it becomes obsolete.
  • Without committed resources, the storage and management of digital content will not be possible.
  • Organizational change might leave digital content without a committed custodian. Digital preservation requires a series of actions over time to ensure digital content remains alive, discoverable, accessible and usable.
  • For more information see the DPC's Bit List of digitally endanged species.

Typical digital preservation activities to address these risks might include:

  • Maintaining a register of digital content that records where data is stored, what it's purpose is and who is responsible for it
  • Developing policy and process to guide the acquisition, preservation and provision of access to digital content
  • Maintaining multiple copies of digital content to provide insurance against loss
  • Frequently checking the integrity of digital content to ensure it has not decayed or become damaged
  • Examining digital content to understand it's characteristics, assessing it for preservation risks and taking action to mitigate those risks

Digital preservation is usually delivered most effectively in a dedicated repository that provides specialist functionality to meet digital preservation requirements. However, the technology is only one piece of the puzzle. Getting effective organizational engagement and ensuring appropriate resourcing for the long-term, are often the biggest challenges.

Ultimately, digital preservation is about making an investment in properly managing digital assets with common sense, consistency and an attention to detail. Careful planning for digital preservation will safeguard your assets and avoid the need for costly intervention further down the line.

Read more in this two page primer: What is digital preservation?

Why does digital preservation matter?

Vast amounts of information are produced as a matter of course during our daily lives. Some of it is temporary or transient, but much has a longer term value. Without attention it may be lost, incurring costs in it's regeneration or preventing it's future value from being realised. Digital assets might be cultural - data that enriches our lives. They might be the record of scientific research, where there is significant benefit in being able to share, reproduce, verify and build on past work. They could take the form of business data that can drive forward revenue generation. They might be the record of government, where the statements of our political representatives are part of the public record. Or they might just be the digital information we create as part of our own lives, from our holiday snaps to our email and social media conversations. Preserving this digital record has the potential to enrich our lives, to advance science, to support the economy, to underpin democracy and hold politicians to account, and to ensure our personal digital lives can be passed on to the next generation.

Read more in the Digital Preservation Handbook: Why digital preservation matters.

Find out how to communicate what digital preservation is to senior managment.

What about digitisation, is it the same thing?

No! Digital preservation typically refers to the preservation of digital content over time. Digitisation is a related discipline that focuses on creating digital content from non-digital mediums, such as paper or analogue sound recordings. This is quite an involved process in itself, with it's own dedicated best practice (for example see Impact). Note however that when creating new digital content, it's important to plan for how it will be preserved over time. A common mistake with many digitisation activities has been a lack of forward thinking and planning for maintaining and sustaining the results of these activities.

How do I get started in digital preservation?

Getting started in digital preservation is not straightforward! It's a complex and multi-faceted challenge and can be overwhelming. But help is at hand, and these are some suggestions on where to start:

  1. The DPC's Digital Preservation Handbook is the ultimate guide to digital preservation, providing primers on all the key topics and a multitude of links to further information. It's the best place to begin to learn about digital preservation good practice and begin taking some small practical steps forward.
  2. Developing your digital preservation capability will be a challenging journey, so it's important to get your bearings and set off in the right direction! Resources may be limited, so good prioritisation will be essential. Measuring your maturity and setting realistic goals will help immensely. The DPC's Rapid Assessment Model can help you do this in no time at all.
  3. Engaging across an organization and getting them onboard with digital preservation can be a real challenge. What language should you use? How do you engage senior management effectively? How do you put together a digital preservation policy? The DPC's guide to internal advocacy is a great place to start, along with our Executive Guide and Digital Preservation Policy Toolkit.
  4. You've got your organisation on board and you've established a preservation policy, now you need a digital repository to store, manage, preserve and provide access to your digital content. But what are your requirements, and how do you navigate the market place to find the right product for your needs? Check out the DPC Procurement Toolkit.
  5. It's widely acknowledged that no single person or organization can tackle all of the digital preservation challenges on their own. Engaging with and drawing on the support of the wider community is going to be essential. The Digital Preservation Coalition provides a friendly and knowledgeable community of over a hundred organizations. Find out more about joining the DPC.
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Styles test

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text alignment demo

The spacing between headings and paragraphs is about right, but is in the wrong place. As it stands, there is the same gap between a heading following a paragraph, as there is between a paragraph and the next heading. A heading should be half as close to following paragraph text, but anything preceeding a heading should be half again as far further away. In other words, there should be a smaller gap between a heading and a following paragraph, and a bigger gap between a paragraph and a following heading.

I've tried to show this in the example column with an image, rather than trying to hack the HTML



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Collaborative Projects



Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM)

 Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs


Novice to Know-How

The Novice to Know-How learning pathway aims to provide beginners with the skills required to develop and implement simple digital preservation workflows within their organisation and is part of The National Archives’ digital capacity building strategy, ‘Plugged In, Powered Up,’


Reliable, Robust and Resilient Digital Infrastructure for Nuclear Decommissioning

This project is a two year partnership (starting November 2018) with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The project draws upon the experience of the DPC and its members to leverage good practice and to advise, guide and develop digital preservation policy at the NDA.


Completed Projects

 Collaborative projects that have been completed.

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Train your staff

A key role for the DPC is to empower and develop our members’ workforces. Our members operate in a competitive and dynamic knowledge environment where roles and responsibilities of staff are constantly changing. It is crucial, therefore, that staff remain informed of, trained in and confident with the new developments and tools which are released and made available. This is particularly important when existing staff are retrained to embrace a new skills set.The DPC provides training and personal development facilities to address these challenges:

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Novice to Know-How online training 

 The Novice to Know-How learning pathway aims to provide beginners with the skills required to develop and implement simple digital preservation workflows within their organisation and is part of The National Archives’ digital capacity building strategy, ‘Plugged In, Powered Up,’

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Career Development Fund

Provides support for DPC members to undertake training and personal development opportunities. These scholarships and grants are offered through regular calls for applications, but members are also welcome to nominate relevant opportunities .

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Aus Preserves Ingest and Pre-Ingest training modules

Materials for delivering face to face training focused on a range of skills relating to various aspects of receiving, handling, and managing digital content.

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Getting Started and Making Progress training modules

Reference materials for DPC face to face training. On-site training is available on requrest.

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External training/education opportunities

A wide range of digital preservation training and development opportunities are offered by agencies and institutions around the world. A selection of courses offered by DPC members includes:

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Champion Digital Preservation


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Bit List

The Bit List reveals which digital materials are most at risk and which are relatively safe thanks to digital preservation. It celebrates great preservation endeavors as entries become less of a ‘concern’, and highlights the need for efforts to safeguard those still considered ‘critically endangered’.


Digital Preservation Awards

The prestigious Digital Preservation Awards is the most prominent celebration of achievement for those people and organisations who have made significant and innovative contributions to maintaining our digital legacy.

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World Digital Preservation Day

World Digital Preservation Day brings together our community to celebrate digital preservation achievements and raise the profile of this work in the wider world.

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Engaging with Public Policy

The DPC campaigns for digital preservation and long term access to be a feature of public policy and routinely advises Government and related agencies on issues that are relevant to our members and our mandate. We publish our responses as a commentary of public policy consultations relating to digital preservation.


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Digital Preservation

This page brings together all of the DPC's resources for supporting digital preservation activities in our Member's organizations and beyond.

If you're new to digital preservation, check out our beginners guide: What is digital preservation?


Discover good practice

Discover authorative guidance and good practice in digital preservation


Implement digital preservation

Tackle digital preservation challenges with our tools for maturity modelling, policy development, advocacy and procurement


Champion digital preservation

Raise the profile of digital preservation internationally and celebrate the successful work of our members in this field


Train your staff

Train your staff in digital preservation and get support for professional development


Collaborative projects

Discover the DPC's collaborative projects and completed work

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Common requirements for repository procurement

This section of the Procurement Toolkit provides resources for developing a set of requirements for a digital repository procurement project.

The aims

  1. Assist DPC Members in defining preservation system requirements, making the process simpler, more efficient and more effective (comprehensive, precise, understandable).
  2. Assist DPC Supporters in responding to customer requirements, typically in RFI/RFT situations. The main challenge identified previously (in DPC DP Futures discussions) is that each customer draws up their own requirements and communicates them in their own way (language, structure, etc). This results in a very arduous task in responding to each new set of requirements from a customer that might contain many common requirements (probably described in unique language) but also some unique or new requirements.
  3. Assist both Members and Supporters in coming to a common understanding around their needs and solutions, in order to minimise communication challenges and mis-matched expectations.

This work will categorize, uniquely identify and capture common requirements in order to meet these aims.

Why focus on requirements?

As noted in the "Lessons learned" section (DPC Members only), a requirements led procurement process is not the only way to proceed, and may not be the best fit for you. However, many of our members do use this approach and this area has been identified by both DPC Members and Supporters as being ripe for additional development and support from the DPC.

Again, as noted in the "Lessons learned" section, low level and granular requirements alone are unlikely to sufficiently articulate the needs of a customer to a potential vendor. Feedback from Members and Supporters has emphasized the need for effectively capturing and communicating the bigger picture. This is particularly relevant in the shape and scope of the system being procured but also in how it interoperates with related systems.

A draft structure for common requirements

The following provides a simple structure for repository requirements which will be populated with specific common requirements as this work progresses. This aims to simplify communication of Members requirements while providing some indication of areas that should be considered for requirements gathing/coverage. Note that this observation is important. This work does not intend to imply that a particular organisation must document requirements in all of these sections. However, consideration should be given to whether coverage in each of these areas might be appropriate for the organisation in question. It has been developed based on requirements made available by DPC Members along with comparitive validation with related work and resources, such as DPC RAM and ISO16363.

  1. Acquisition, transfer and ingest
  2. Content preservation
  3. Bitstream preservation
  4. Management and administration
  5. Discovery and access
  6. Systems integration and interoperability
  7. System design
  8. Metadata management
  9. Security
  10. Disaster recovery and resilience
  11. Export/exit strategy
  12. Training
  13. Usability/help/documentation
  14. Contractual
  15. Supplier profile
  16. Implementation
  17. General/other

A more detailed list, incorporating a second level of requirement topics can be found in this downloadable Word document: Common Requirements Structure v1.0 .

Common requirements

This is currently a work in progress that will be examined in the associated launch event and workshop for this Toolkit.

Status and feedback

This section of the Toolkit is a work in progress. Developments will be made iteratively in conjunction with DPC Members and Supporters, particularly via workshops and interactive discussion.

Please send any comment or feedback on this work to Paul Wheatley (see contact details).


Note that this work is made available under a CC-BY Licence.

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Ongoing collaborative projects that the DPC is an active member of. These are typically externally funded.

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