It is easy to lose an important file among the thousands of files stored on computers and frustrating to find out that files created just a few years ago can no longer be opened. The Digital Preservation Service is a first step for the cultural and natural heritage organizations at Yale towards eliminating potential loss of access to significant digital collections through technical obsolescence. Digital content is fragile, and the risk of losing valuable investments grows exponentially as time passes. Digital preservation requires an organizational and technical approach to ensure the stability and accessibility of digital information now and into the future.
At this time, the Digital Preservation Service allows any digital files, documents, images, audio and video stored in Yale’s Media Manager to be marked for bit-level digital preservation by content stewards. Once files are flagged for preservation, they will get a regular “checkup” to make sure they are healthy, extra copies will be written to tape and one of those copies will get stored off-site to protect against a local catastrophe.
Yale is not the only University tackling the issue of preservation. James Hilton (CIO, University of Virginia) recently pointed out that the scale of digital preservation is daunting so you need to start with what is solvable now but can evolve and scale over time. With this service, Yale now has a baseline infrastructure on which to build capacity and to engage with broader community collaboration to fulfill the the core academic mission to not only create and disseminate knowledge, but to preserve it for future generations.
Digital Preservation For Content Stewards
In collaboration with Yale’s libraries, museums and archives, the YDC2 sponsored the Digital Preservation Planning Committee (DPPC) and charged it to act as an advisory group for projects and systems development within the Yale Digital Commons (YDC) that pertain to digital preservation. The DPPC members used the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System as a framework to define the initial Digital Preservation Service Level 1. At this level, the integrity of digital files is maintained over time in order to ensure long-term access to digital content.
Download the Digital Preservation Service Level 1 Architectural Diagram
Read the Digital Preservation Service Guide to learn how to take advantage of Yale's commitment to preserve its digital content through this service.