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ResearchWorks Archive Digital Preservation Policy

What is digital preservation?

Digital preservation is the series of managed activities necessary to extend the usable life of computer files and protect them from media failure, physical loss, and obsolescence. Digital preservation can be divided into activities that maintain the bitstream or file and activities that maintain access and functionality essential to the purposes for which the original digital material was created or acquired (allowing the file to be opened and viewed with the same look and feel as the original creator intended). At this time, ResearchWorks Archive is committed to preserving the bitstream of the digital object. Further measures to maintain access and functionality over time will be taken as resources permit.

What ResearchWorks Archive does to support digital preservation

To preserve and provide access to the bitstream, ResearchWorks Archive:

  • Maintains multiple copies of each digital object across multiple sites
  • Maintains the authenticity of the bitstream through integrity checking
  • Maintains data security according to industry standards
  • Monitors storage media and copies data to new storage media as needed
  • Provides sufficient metadata and persistent identifiers to provide reliable access to digital objects
  • Supports multiple file formats but the level of preservation support will vary depending on the file format

Levels of Preservation Support

The level of preservation support will depend on the file format, the application used to generate the content, and the set of features used. While efforts will be made to preserve work in any digital format, submission in a recommended file format is strongly encouraged.

File formats with the following characteristics will more likely be able to retain their functionality over time:

  • Complete and open documentation
  • Platform independence
  • Wide adoption
  • Non-proprietary (vendor-independent)
  • No “lossy” or proprietary compression
  • No embedded files, programs or scripts
  • No full or partial encryption or password protection

In addition to the ResearchWorks Archive List of Preferred File Formats, guidance for creating “preservation-friendly” digital resources is available from the following sources:

Digital preservation strategies are still evolving. To insure discovery and interoperability, the UW Libraries will follow standards and best practices where they exist, from creation throughout the lifecycle of the digital resource.

An effective digital preservation program will ensure continued access to digital materials for as long as necessary.Preservation decisions will be made within the context of the Collection Policy, balancing scholarly and historical value, user accessibility, and cost constraints.


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