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Digital Preservation Policy

To preserve digital content which underpins learning, teaching and research practice at the University in the long term.
The Library currently preserves digital content in the public interest under the terms of the Data Protection Act (2018), including - 

  • Research Outputs - UCA-authored articles, books, theses, and creative outputs.
  • Images - from museums, libraries and archive collections.
  • Archives and Special Collections - rare or unique materials, such as rare books, original letters and artwork, and zines held by the Library.

Due to the speed of technological change as well as the fragility of digital content, there is an ongoing risk that this digital content will become obsolete, lost, corrupt, or unreadable.  Digital loss and inaccessibility would impact on the Library’s long term ability to support learning, teaching, research practice and the reputation of the University. 

This Policy sets out the principles for managing the Library’s digital content on a long term basis in order to mitigate these risks.  This Policy does not apply to digital content that is purchased and licensed by the Library from publishers and other third parties, such as books, journals, digitised readings and databases.

The Library will manage and preserve digital content and associated metadata in accordance with this Policy and will provide information, support and guidance about digital preservation to stakeholders.

Selection and Appraisal
The selection and creation of digital content will be carried out in line with the collection criteria of related policies including the Archives and Special Collections Policy, the Digitisation Policy, and the submission section of the UCA Research Online Policy.  Content selected for long term preservation will additionally need to satisfy the conditions of the Data Protection Act (2018) that they can be archived in the public interest.

The Library will provide advice and guidance on digital preservation best practice, such as the choice of file formats and metadata requirements to internal and external creators, depositors, and donors of digital content to the Library’s collections.

The Library appreciates that holding good quality metadata in the long term is an essential component of digital preservation to ensure the authenticity, provenance, and usability of its digital content.  The Library will seek to create and manage descriptive, technical, administrative, rights, and preservation metadata according to current standards and good practice and in accordance with the Library’s Metadata Policy.

File Formats
The Library recognises the importance of standards in digital preservation to facilitate the preservation, access, sharing, and discovery of its digital content. As far as possible, the Library will create and manage its digital content in accordance with internationally recognised standards and best practice.

The Library will undertake due diligence with donors to confirm they have the right to deposit digital content and that the University has the right to preserve it.

Technical Infrastructure and Data Integrity
The Library will develop a technical infrastructure for the preservation of its digital content including the use of suitable software and hardware.  The key component of this will be to investigate the implementation of a dedicated digital preservation system to ensure long-term, standards-compliant storage of the Library’s digital content and associated metadata, with appropriate migration capabilities and exit strategies.

The Library recognises that digital preservation is an ongoing and active process since digital files can change and become corrupted. The Library will explore the use of fixity measures such as checksums to provide the assurance that a digital file has remained unchanged and has not become corrupted.

Ongoing Review
The Library recognises that the wider technological landscape is also constantly evolving, and the Library will monitor the wider technological landscape for developments that may impact on the on-going preservation of its digital content.

The Library will document all digital preservation procedures, standards, processes, and workflows that are developed for its digital content. The Library will update the documentation for its technical workflows and processes as these change over time.

A fundamental purpose of digital preservation is to ensure that digital content is kept accessible to Library users.  This access will be provided through the Library’s wider resource discovery systems, and content will be made openly available where possible. 

The Library will promote and advocate for digital preservation across the Library and wider University to ensure that it can support the University’s learning, teaching, and research, and that it has adequate funding and resources to do so.

Continuing Professional Development
The Library will actively ensure that staff with responsibility for managing digital content will have professional development opportunities to ensure that they can deliver and comply with the Library’s Digital Preservation Policy.

The Library will undertake a periodic review of its preservation collections to ensure they are compliant and aligned to strategic and operational priorities of the university.

Take Down
The Library has a Take Down Notice, which outlines the process by which requests can be made and are investigated when digital content may have inadvertently infringed copyright, or contains personal or sensitive data, or may be regarded as factually incorrect, offensive or defamatory.

The Library will need to control access and to embargo certain content to comply with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) and the Data Protection Act (2018), and other relevant legislation and licence agreements.

Withdrawal and Deletion
If preserved content is no longer required the Library will offer to return to donor in the first instance.  If this is turned down the Library will endeavour to seek an alternative host elsewhere if appropriate.  If this fails the Library will securely delete content. 

The Library will review this Policy every year and any significant changes will be considered and approved by the Director of Student Services.


January 2024
Review: January 2025