Added on 14 May 2024

The National Archives (UK) and the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) are pleased to announce the launch of a new toolkit, and related online course, to help organizations develop Digital Asset Registers. A Digital Asset Register (DAR) is a high-level resource that captures information about digital content held by an organization. As such, developing a DAR is an important step towards gaining intellectual control of that content and planning for its preservation.

A DAR can be a useful tool for:

  • Understanding the digital content held by an organization.

  • Managing the content over time.

  • Making preservation decisions.

  • Providing information to help with advocacy for digital preservation activities.

The new toolkit has been produced as part of the capacity building element of the Our Digital Century program from The National Archives (UK). Caroline Catchpole, Digital Capacity Development Officer with The National Archives (UK), said “the creation and maintenance of a digital asset register is a key part of an organisation’s digital preservation activity. We wanted to create a resource that provided everything needed to get started, enabling practitioners to build their organisation’s digital preservation resilience and capacity. We’re delighted to have been able to collaborate with the DPC on this new resource.”
The DPC was commissioned to deliver the toolkit and accompanying resources, with work starting in November 2023. “In creating the toolkit, we wanted to make sure the guidance it contained was representative of real-world experiences and requirements”, stated Sharon McMeekin, Head of Workforce Development with the DPC. “With this in mind, the toolkit development included a series of focus groups with practitioners who already have, or are in the process of building, a digital asset register. These produced a fabulous amount of real, practical advice that forms the backbone of what we hope is a very useful resource. This has been another productive partnership with The National Archives (UK), and we thank them for their continued generous support for the development of digital preservation practice.”

The toolkit includes an introduction to what a DAR is and why it is useful to have one, a step-by-step guide to building and maintaining a DAR, a recommended basic set of information elements to be captured, and guidance on how to capture the information to complete your DAR. It is also accompanied by a template to help plan how to build your DAR, as well as a template for a DAR itself. The DAR template includes descriptions of the information to capture in each field (including example entries), a dashboard that automatically generates stats on your digital content, and guidance on how to edit the template and dashboard. The self-directed online course provides an additional way to consume the guidance, for those who prefer modular learning to reading a longer document. 

The toolkit is now available online at the DPC website and as a downloadable PDF, and registration is open for the self-directed course via the DPC’s learning portal. There is also an upcoming #DPClinic event which will delve into the production of the toolkit, its contents, and how to use the accompanying resources. 

About The National Archives (UK)

The National Archives is the official archive of the UK government, and of England and Wales. It is the sector leader for archives in England and approaches its leadership role collaboratively, supporting partnerships and working to encourage a sustainable and innovative sector. The National Archives works with all archives including national institutions, local authorities, universities, businesses, charities and private collections.

About the Digital Preservation Coalition 

The DPC is an international charitable foundation which supports digital preservation, helping its members around the world to deliver resilient long-term access to digital content and services through community engagement, targeted advocacy work, training and workforce development, capacity building, good practice and standards, and through good management and governance. Its vision is a secure digital legacy.

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