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Digital Preservation Principles

These ten principles encapsulate the fundamentals of prevailing community standards and practice for digital preservation and are in use at MIT Libraries to develop and maintain the digital preservation program.

  1. Identify the digital content within our scope of responsibility
    MIT Libraries has produced a high-level inventory of our existing and anticipated digital content.
  2. Specify the digital content we intend to preserve
    MIT Libraries is determining the portion of our digital content that needs to be preserved.
  3. Establish requirements for storing files in preservation formats
    MIT Libraries is identifying preservation requirements specific to each digital content type.
  4. Determine (and review) our best option(s) for storing our digital content
    MIT Libraries is specifying storage requirements that are appropriate to our content and feasible.
  5. Verify that our digital content is secure during day-to-day activities
    MIT Libraries is addressing the rights, confidentiality, and security requirements for our content.
  6. Ensure that our digital content is prepared for an emergency
    MIT Libraries is extending our disaster planning program to explicitly include digital content.
  7. Develop (and review) plans for managing digital content over time
    MIT Libraries has established and will sustain effective preservation planning for our digital content.
  8. Define a standards-based framework to develop and manage our lifecycle program
    MIT Libraries is finalizing for approval and will maintain a compliant digital preservation framework.
  9. Demonstrate that long-term access to digital content is the purpose of digital preservation
    MIT Libraries is identifying steps to enable access for as long as needed to its selected digital content.
  10. Stipulate that the means to deliver digital content to users will remain current
    MIT Libraries will ensure that access to its content leverages contemporaneous technologies

Developed and approved in 2013; updated December 2015

Document administration and provenance:

These principles were developed by Nancy McGovern in 2011 for the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) program, sponsored by the Library of Congress.  

The MIT libraries adopted these principles in August 2013.  They are using them as a frame for developing and maintaining a sustainable program for digital preservation.  They are also available on the Management Tools section of the Digital Preservation Management website that MIT Libraries hosts.

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