Preservation Strategic Plan

Preservation Strategic Plan #

The purpose of the Preservation Strategic Plan is to outline the preservation strategy used by Scholars Portal to ensure continued access to its collections by the Designated Community.

Objectives: The primary focus of Scholars Portal’s preservation activities is on preserving the intellectual content of the objects acquired and ingested into the repository. This means that SP will prioritize the preservation of the content of all objects ingested, as opposed to their look and feel.

The following properties are those which will be prioritized in all preservation activities:

  • The intellectual content of the object in the repository This will be defined on a collection-level and type-by-type basis, and includes all supplemental materials and the relationships between objects, as can be determined from metadata or other contextual information at the time of ingest.
  • Metadata included with the object at the time of ingest, especially that which relates it to other objects within the repository, or to the context of its collection type overall.
  • The intellectual rights to the object held by SP and members of its Designated Community. While these properties are used to control access to the content and to determine its preservation level, they are also preserved themselves.

While not strictly a part of the intellectual content of an object, secondary properties are necessary to ensure their preservation and as such must be tracked as well. Secondary considerations for preservation include the following items:

  • The object’s chain of custody starting as early as possible but at the very least from the time it entered the repository. This information is necessary in order to understand the history of the object, and to denote any transformations or changes that have occurred to the content.
  • Representation information: For every digital object, some level of information on its interpretation is necessary in order to transform the object from binary data into a human interpretable item.
  • Fixity information: The repository will keep sufficient metadata on the object to ensure at any point in the future that the object remains in a complete and uncorrupted state.

The preservation of the above properties will be carried out using a transformative approach. The formats used in the repository, both at the file level and the metadata level, will be constantly monitored (per the Environmental Monitoring of Preservation Formats policy) in order to ensure their suitability for long term preservation. In instances where a format is deemed to present an unacceptable level of risk to the long-term viability of objects in that format, an appropriate successor format will be chosen, with input from the Designated Community, and all objects in the existing format in question will be migrated to the successor format. Given Scholars Portal’s mission of providing access to OCUL-licensed or acquired scholarly collections, additional transformations may be made on an object in order to increase its findability. Such transformations will never be made in such a way as to endanger the long-term preservation of an object, and in situations where this would occur, the object so transformed will not be considered as part of the preservation plan.

Scope: Scholars Portal commits to preserving the collections for which it has accepted responsibility to the greatest degree possible. However, there are a number of criteria necessary to the repository’s ability to carry out this mission. In order to provide some level of preservation of materials for which not every criteria is met, SP has defined multiple preservation levels which indicate a set of allowable preservation actions that will be used upon the content in question. For additional information on preservation levels, see the Preservation Implementation Plan.

The criteria to be assessed when determining preservation level include:

  • Rights: SP should have appropriate rights to preserve objects in a matter consistent with its preservation strategies. At a minimum, SP should have the right to locally load collections for archival purposes. In most cases, this should also include the ability to transform objects into new formats in the event that an existing format should become obsolete.
  • Appropriate metadata: Objects to be ingested into the repository should be accompanied by metadata sufficient to provide meaningful context, as understood by the Designated Community. This can include information describing and contextualizing the object (e.g., keywords, bibliographic metadata) or information contributing to an object’s usability and understandability (e.g., dataset codebooks). The criteria for acceptability under this measure will be defined on a Content Type basis.
  • Validity: The object must be a well-formed and valid instance of the type of object that it purports to be.
  • Format appropriateness: SP will, for each Content Type, maintain a list of formats that are deemed acceptable for long-term preservation. This list will be based on the needs of the Designated Community, as well as the suitability of the format for possible future migration.

Compliance with all of these criteria is necessary for an object to be subject to the full extent of preservation activities, as defined in the Preservation Implementation Plan. Failure or partial compliance does not necessarily mean that an object cannot be ingested into the repository, but an inability to meet these criteria will result in the use of a less robust preservation plan.

Approved #

May 12, 2011 by the OCUL Directors

Review Cycle #