SPEC Kit 325: Digital Preservation  · 11
all formats, reporting either baseline bit-level pres-
ervation or some combination of format migration
and bit-level preservation. Those that are not setting
such limits provide credible reasons for preserving a
broad range of files, including that they can preserve
all formats at bit-level and consider this worthwhile
for valuable resources, regardless of format. As one re-
spondent stated, “We anticipate being able to provide
bit-level preservation for any file format contributed
by a member of the community that falls within the
archiving scope for the repository, but will not be
able to provide a full suite of preservation services
for all file formats due to practical limitations such
as inability to locate and implement migration tools.”
Preservation Strategies: Metadata
Fifty-one institutions reported having or creating a
broad range of preservation metadata for their digital
collections. Nearly all reported that they create some
item-level metadata (48 or 94%), and many also cre-
ate some collection-level metadata (42 or 82%). All 51
respondents reported collecting administrative meta-
data (e.g., access privileges, rights, ownership of mate-
rial), and all but one also collect technical metadata
(e.g., information describing the production process
or digital attributes of the work). Slightly fewer (ap-
proximately 84%) report collecting metadata about
structure or provenance at this time.
Fifty respondents reported using multiple schemas
to describe their digital collections. Of these, the most
popular metadata formats are Dublin Core (40 or 80%),
Qualified Dublin Core (35 or 70%), and METS (35 or
70%). Slightly more than half (26 or 52%) also reported
using PREMIS. As is typical in the ARL community,
many reported using additional metadata schemas in
their digital collections management practices, includ-
ing EAD, NLM, FGDC, IPTC, MIX, TEI, RDF, MARC,
VRA Core, PBCore, AESS, and Darwin Core.
Preservation Strategies: Policies
The survey sought to gauge progress toward the de-
velopment and adoption of formal digital preservation
policies that have been well researched in regard to
prevailing standards, are developed with key stake-
holders, and have a goal of securing support from
upper administration.
Collaboration is a significant factor in current pres-
ervation planning and activities. A solid majority
of respondents (42 or 70%) are working with other
stakeholders within their parent institutions as they
make decisions about digital preservation policies
and investments. Most of these are working with cam-
pus IT, faculty, and administration.
Policy development is underway in a large major-
ity of the responding libraries, but only two institu-
tions have approved digital preservation policies in
place. Discussion of preservation policies is underway
at 27 of the responding libraries (44%), and 13 (21%)
have written drafts. Of those libraries that are in dis-
cussion and draft stages, the majority are approach-
ing policy development as a campus-wide initiative,
inclusive of stakeholders beyond the library such as
campus IT, university archives, offices of scholarly
communication, offices of strategic initiatives, and
digital services, among others.
On the whole, the responding libraries are consult-
ing well-developed, community-derived digital pres-
ervation standards. These include resources such as
the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information
System (OAIS), the Trustworthy Repositories Audit
& Certification: Criteria & Checklist (TRAC), JISC’s
Digital Preservation Policies Studies, along with the
Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social
Research (ICPSR) and Cornell’s Digital Preservation
Policy Framework, among others.
Based on respondents’ comments, it is much more
likely that a group within the library, rather than an
individual, will have primary responsibility for re-
searching and developing the library’s digital pres-
ervation policies. These groups are not likely to have
membership from outside the library. In the relatively
few libraries that give an individual policy develop-
ment responsibility, it is typically a digital initiatives
librarian or special collections head.
Similarly, the authority to approve the library’s
digital preservation policies and investments resides
with a library group, which usually includes a library
administrative team. A majority of respondents (60%)
indicated that library administration has primary
responsibility for authorizing and approving digi-
tal preservation policies. Only a few explicitly indi-
cated that an authority external to the library (e.g.,
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