Digital Preservation

Category: Governance
Number: GOV-070-007
Audience: All University employees
Issued: March 14, 2019
Revised: March 14, 2019
Owner(s): AVP (Information Services), Executive Director (University Governance), University Librarian
Approved by: President and Vice-Chancellor
Contact: Associate University Librarian (Content Management and Discovery) - 306-585-5428

Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to outline the role, responsibilities and accountabilities of the University in preserving digital assets deemed to have long-term operational or archival value. Unlike paper, which can sit on a shelf without near-term risk of degradation, digital assets require active management in order to ensure their longevity. Bit rot, equipment failure, and hardware and software obsolescence can render digital files inaccessible or unreadable, and the authenticity of information can be called into question as a result of accidental or unauthorized alteration of digital files.

Since much of the textual and media content produced by University employees is now created in a digital format (e.g. documents, data, images, video), this policy is necessary to help mitigate the risks associated with maintaining digital files, to ensure that content of importance to the University’s mission remains accessible in the future.

The policy applies to both unique digital assets owned by the institution as well as those for which the University plays a stewardship role (e.g. digital assets donated to the University Archives or added to University-based content repositories (e.g. oURspace) under a licensing agreement).

Policy

The University of Regina affirms the importance of preservation of its digital assets.  All digital assets deemed to have long-term operational or archival value by the University Records and Information Management Committee or the University Library and its Archives shall be managed, where possible, in accordance with this policy and related procedures. 

Broadly speaking, digital assets must be:

  • Stored in a managed storage system with appropriate levels of backup and replication, using industry standards to mitigate against risk of technological failure or natural disaster.
  • Stored in or migrated to accessible file formats.
  • Protected against alteration, deletion, corruption or degradation through active monitoring strategies and security measures.
  • Accompanied by appropriate metadata to ensure that they remain authentic and usable over time.

The University will implement different preservation strategies over time as required.  These strategies will be selected according to the requirements of particular digital assets, ongoing risk assessment, evolving best practice, and reviews of the resources required to execute the strategy in accordance with this policy.

 

Roles and Responsibilities

University Administration – provide resources to address this institutional issue

Library – provide advice and expertise on long-term digital preservation strategies and approaches, and communicate risk of inaction to campus.  The Archives will maintain and preserve digital archival records in its custody and/or control in accordance with this Policy and associated procedures.

Information Services – Manage infrastructure and provide advice on system migration, storage, and software platforms in accordance with this Policy and associated procedures.

Custodians of digital assets – Manage, maintain, and preserve their assets in accordance with accepted policies, procedures, records schedules, and contractual obligations.

Consequences for Noncompliance

Mismanagement of University digital assets has financial, legal and/or reputational consequences for the institution.

Any University employee who does not manage digital assets in accordance with this policy may be subject to disciplinary action.

Related Information