Self-assesment tools in DP

The Score Model for self-assesment

In the Dutch Digital Heritage Network we are working with a set of tools, usable by all Dutch organizations with a preservation task. One of those tools is the Score Model. The Score model is an easy self assesment tool, that was developed by the Dutch organisation DEN in cooperation with the Flemish organization Packed a few years ago. The idea is that this Score Model can be used to get an impression of the status of digital preservation in an organization. By identifying the weak and strong areas, the organization will be better equipped to plan a roadmap for improvements.

At the basis of it is a survey. The organization will answer 52 questions, related to seven topics. The questions are characterized by their importance for preservation by a weighing factor. The user is guided in preservation topics by the explanations by each question (the context) and typically related actions to achieve the “good practice”. At the end of the survey the user can print a report. In this report a spider diagram is shown, based on the answers and including the weighing factor. To stimulate improvements in the weak areas, suggestions about action to undertake are given. The Score Model is available in 2 languages, both Dutch and English.

The DPC-RAM for Self-assesment

Recently the DPC published their Rapid Assesment Model, created with a similar goal: to support organisations, who want to do a self-assessment and to improve themselves in digital preservation. The model is based on the concept of an assessment model by Adrian Brown, as described in his book Practical Digital Preservation: a how-to guide for organizations of any size, Facet Publishing, London 2013

In this model, the organization will fill in a Worksheet, describing and giving evidence of the current status and giving themselves a score, ranking from “Minimal Awareness” to “Optimized”. There are 11 topics that are taken into account. For all of them the organization also set their ambition to improve themselves in achieving a higher score. The results are visualized in a spider diagram, showing clearly the difference between the current situation and the target situation. The results are also given as bar charts. The tool comes with a separate document with background information and suggestions for each topic. Although the tool is freely available, there are some bonuses for DPC members.

Comparing the models

When comparing the topics in both models, they are mostly overlapping each other, with some exceptions, like for example the DPC-RAM “Continuous improvement” topic, that is not in the Score model. Also the DPC-RAM distinguishes between Organizational Capabilities and Service Capabilities.

The intended audience of the Score model are “small and medium sized organizations, managing a digital collection […] for a long time”. The DPC-RAM model “can be used by any organisation with a need to preserve digital information for the long term”.

Score Model DPC-RAM
  Organizational Capabilities
Mandate and policy Organizational viability
Preservation Strategy Policy and strategy
Knowledge and Organization Legal basis
Technical Infrastructure IT Capability
Ingest Continuous improvement
Planning and Quality control Community
Access Service capabilities
  Acquisition, transfer and ingest
  Bitstream Preservation
  Content Preservation
  Metadata and Metadata management
  Discovery and Access


For the sake of simplicity, it would have been nice if there was one tool to do a basic assesment. The more, while the Score Model and the DPC RAM have an overlap in the topics they address. But the fact is now, that there are two tools. Both support the organization to have a critical look at their own environment, both cover similar topics and give supporting information for improvement. And both come with a result that is visualized in a spider diagram (the DPC RAM with an additional bar chart with a score in numbers and I know that people like that particularly).

The Dutch and Flemish people having the advantage that it is also in their own language (apart from the English version) and that it is incorporated in the Dutch Digital Heritage Tool set. The DPC members having the advantage of the bonuses of the DPC membership. And all the other DP organizations will have a choice!

© 2020 Barbara Sierman