Digital Preservation Policy: Executive Summary
Middlebury College is principally an undergraduate, liberal arts institution of higher learning; its mission is to ensure that student educational experiences in the liberal arts are both broad and deep. The College offers students a curriculum that exhibits wide representation of academic disciplines, and privileges classroom teaching over scholarly research, although it supports both endeavors aggressively.
It is the aim of Library to build and preserve print and digital collections in support of teaching, learning, scholarship, and research at Middlebury, as well as to engage in curation of those object for future generations.
The digital preservation policy describes the use of standards and best practices to ensure that digital preservation is implemented consistently, maintaining integrity of and access to digital resources for the life of the College, and arranging for the transfer of their care thereafter. It describes roles and responsibilities, refers to specific, detailed procedures, and allows for periodic evaluation and adjustment to keep pace with changing technologies and institutional demands.
We intend to preserve data with a combination of approaches, coordinated with and complimenting current information management policies and procedures within the Library, in conjunction with ITS. These approaches include:
- Adopting of file type and format standards – standards improve the likelihood of digital objects being managed consistently and efficiently, and help ensure that digital objects are not made inaccessible through format obsolescence, version incompatibility, or lack of interoperability.
- Monitoring for and adapting to changing technologies and standards.
- Adoption of consistent and standardized metadata schema such as Dublin Core and METS. Consistent metadata and associated values promote discovery, access, and retrieval, as well as providing a record of a digital object’s authority and provenance.
- Regular checking for integrity both upon access and as part of any migration processes.
- Monitoring for and adapting to changing technologies and standards; providing for updated storage media, emulation software, and migration to new hardware and standards in order to best sustain access and integrity.
- Applying OAIS reference protocol and OAI-PMH to facilitate interoperability and promote sharing of information as appropriate.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Digital preservation is the responsibility of the Library and ITS. The Library will draw on the skills and expertise of its Library, ITS archives, and information services staff to support the digital preservation needs of the College. The Library will engage in continuous training and continuing education to maintain a degree of expertise.
The preservation policy, and its supporting procedures, will be assessed annually to align with evolving College needs and technological change.