Developments in Preservation Policies

Often it is unclear whether results from European projects have any follow-up after the project is finished. If so, how can one monitor this? With regard to our work in SCAPE, including the Catalogue of Policy Elements and the list of Published Preservation Policies, however I am under the impression that these tools are still supporting organisations in creating preservation policies. People sometimes tell me this directly and sometimes I see references in articles and presentations.


One initiatives I’m involved in myself is a Dutch working group under the flag of the Network Digital Heritage, that will use the SCAPE Catalogue to create Dutch Guidelines for creating preservation policies, with a focus on smaller organisations in various domains. Not only libraries and data centres – which were involved in the creation of the SCAPE version – but also archives, museums and organisations collecting digital art and architectural materials. These Guidelines should support these organisations and also help them to not only write the preservation policies, but to also implement them in their organisations (often it is the other way around: policies are not written down but actions are based on implicit “policies” ).

The Institute for Sound and Vision is partner in this working group.. Annemieke de Jong, whom I mentioned earlier in a blogpost about their work to become a TDR , created Preservation Policies for their institute. I’ve read all the preservation policies collected here, but this policy is exemplary and should be high on the list of Best Preservation Policies. This is the first preservation policy that looks good, reads well and covers all main topics mentioned in the SCAPE catalogue. The design of this policy shows that this document is not seen as an obligatory task, but as way of communicating with the Producers and Consumers of the content of the digital archive. From what I’ve seen of policies so far is that they are seldom attractively designed. In this case, the text itself is understandable and clear, without too much jargon, but instead explaining the concepts and approaches in a clear language. And as said it covers all topics we identified as Guidance Policies in the SCAPE Preservation Policy model and added much information to it that is part of the Procedure Policies, the middle level in which you translate the high level policies into practical approaches. Based on this policy you will get a good overview of what the Institute is collecting and how this is preserved. With additional internal guidelines, referred to in the text, it should be clear to the employers of the Institute what is expected from them and as I mentioned earlier at iPRES 2014, this is one of the goals of a good policy. A new item on your reading list!

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