Added on 19 September 2019

The Digital Preservation Coalition has launched its new maturity model, the DPC Rapid Assessment Model, at iPRES2019 in Amsterdam this week.

Designed to enable rapid benchmarking of an organization’s digital preservation capability, the DPC RAM is a digital preservation maturity modelling tool which aims to be applicable for organizations of any size in any sector, and for all content of long-term value. Developed in conjunction with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in the UK, and based on existing good practice, it is preservation strategy and solution agnostic, simple to understand and quick to apply.

The model is based on Adrian Brown's Digital Preservation Maturity Model (published in Practical Digital Preservation: a how-to guide for organizations of any size, 2013) and has been developed, tested and refined with input from DPC Members, Supporters and the DPC’s Research and Practice Sub-Committee.

“One thing we particularly liked about Adrian’s model was the fact that it allows an institution to select where they are on a scale for each of the different areas and gives examples as to how that organisation may be meeting each of the levels,” explains Jenny Mitcham, the DPC’s Head of Good Practice and Standards.

“We think this gives the model greater flexibility and resilience as the field of digital preservation evolves in the future. We are indebted to Adrian for allowing us to take his model and develop it further and have appreciated his helpful comment and feedback as we have done so.”

The DPC RAM is free for all to access and use: any organisation with a need to preserve digital information for the long term may use the model, and it is possible to apply regardless of sector or the type of information being preserved.

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

With continuous improvement at its core, the DPC RAM supports progress in digital preservation – neither a one-off exercise nor a challenge that can be quickly solved. Understanding where an organisation is in terms of its digital preservation activities, where it wants to be, and how it can incrementally move forward towards its goal is key to achieving good practice. The DPC recommends applying the RAM on an annual basis to check progress and assess goals.

This tool is available for anyone to use, but DPC members will gain exclusive access to additional services. These will enable comparison of their assessment with the wider Coalition in order to support activities such as setting realistic goals, peer evaluation and support and the application of assessment data in business cases.

The not-for-profit DPC is an international advocate for digital preservation, and the DPC RAM is just one of the ways it helps the digital preservation community around the world to deliver resilient long-term access to digital content and services. The Coalition also supports its Members 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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