SPEC Kit 325: Digital Preservation  · 13
Despite real and perceived barriers to digital pres-
ervation progress, the responding libraries are mov-
ing forward—planning to preserve more content,
improve their strategies, and develop policies that will
better ensure the long-term viability of their digital
Future Digital Content
Only a few of the libraries responding to the survey
are satisfied with maintaining their current levels of
digital preservation. As mentioned previously, most
libraries do want to preserve more, especially col-
lections such as research data, geospatial data, vari-
ous media, faculty research, university history, and
web content. Those that are not already hosting and
preserving ETDs and digitized special collections
commented that these would probably receive their at-
tention in the future when additional resources allow
expansion of their activities. Most reported conditions
similar to one respondent who stated, “All areas will
require more, set by collection priorities and risk.”
Future Preservation Strategies
Compared to three years ago, most of the respond-
ing libraries are currently investing more staff, time,
and funding in their digital preservation activities.
The majority anticipate that this trend will continue
over the next three years. As one respondent said,
“Increased reliance on digital resources has made this
imperative.” Another commented, “As the library’s
digital collections grow in size and diversity, so too
will the need for staff working in all aspects of digital
preservation.” Only four libraries expect their invest-
ment to decrease. As one respondent stated, “It’s hard
to predict an increase in our funding/budget situation
going forward given the current climate. As a result,
we can only be pessimistic for purposes of this survey
and expect the worse: further budget cuts or at best,
level funding. We do continue to actively pursue re-
search grant opportunities, however.”
Currently, respondents use a range of strategies for
preserving most digital resources. Their first choice
solution is using a library-managed digital archive/
repository. This strategy is followed by collaborative
solutions, either with other administrative and/or
technical units in the institution, in a participatory
solution such as the MetaArchive, or in a hosted solu-
tion such as the HathiTrust.
While the majority of respondents predict that us-
ing a library-managed digital archive/repository will
remain their primary strategy, an increasing number
anticipate that participating in collaborative solutions
will be part of their future strategy. Nearly 25% of
those that expect to collaborate are not currently col-
laborating as part of their preservation strategy. A
vendor-based solution is the least likely future preser-
vation strategy. Among the “other” anticipated strate-
gies, respondents mentioned homegrown solutions
and institutional and statewide repositories.
When attempting to explain why future strategies
might be different from their current preservation
strategies, three reasons were cited most frequently: 1)
They are not now, but they plan to collaborate. 2) Their
repositories will develop further. 3) They will take
advantage of third-party or remotely hosted solutions
(HathiTrust usually). Also mentioned, but less often,
were changes due to centralization of efforts within
their institutions.
Research libraries are turning to institutional peer
staff and seeking broader community-based oppor-
tunities to improve expertise in digital preservation.
The vast majority of respondents reported that confer-
ences and workshops are the primary methods used to
increase staff expertise. Independent study is another
frequently used method. Thirty-six respondents (62%)
take advantage of training provided by professional
organizations. Fewer look externally to vendors or
consultants. Several rely on in-house training or pre-
sentations by library staff.
When asked what types of services their library
would find valuable for improving its role in preserv-
ing digital content, respondents identified standards/
best practices (81%), preservation planning (76%), and
policy recommendations (75%) as their top needs. A
slightly smaller majority expressed a need for techni-
cal training (71%) and conversion/migration services
(61%). Interestingly, slightly less than half would find
appraisal and selection training valuable, and one-
third want theory training. This may indicate that
research libraries are eager to move past conceptual
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