nestor (Network of Expertise in long-term STORage and accessibility of digital ressources in Germany) has just translated its guidelines on institutional preservation policies into English. The guideline provides digital archives with assistance in creating their own institutional policy on digital preservation. It address the questions:
- What is the purpose of a policy?
- What must a policy cover?
- How is a policy produced?
It also addresses policies in cooperative long term preservation and gives a generic example of a institutional policy. Some items of note:
- the publication of institutional preservation policies has emerged as a good way to increase transparency. A policy document helps an institution to understand the challenges and to commit to a task.
- It sets out lastingly effective basic strategic and organisational elements of a digital archive and helps to increase confidence overall. In this way policies help to preserve the digital information of yesterday and today in a reliable manner and to safeguard it for tomorrow’s users.
- Digital preservation is not an end in itself; it is always aimed at a "designated community".
- A digital archive needs a systematically developed and generally complex technical infrastructure.
- The construction of the technical infrastructure is thus dependent on the overall strategic and tactical planning of the institution as a whole, which ought to remain stable and as independent as possible from the rapid technological changes in the digital world.
- The establishment of preservation policies can, under both scenarios, make a significant contribution to clarity in relation to the areas for joint action, differences, opportunities and risks that can be created.