Montana State University Library

Digital Preservation Policy

Last updated by Sara Mannheimer on 21 October 2021

1. Introduction

Montana State University (MSU) Library's digital collections comprise many of our most valuable assets, and they are growing in size and complexity. The MSU Library is therefore committed to a policy of active preservation, aiming to ensure that its digital content is authentic, accessible, meaningful, and usable for the long-term.

2. Context

Digital collections at MSU Library support its mission to “support and advance teaching, learning, and research for Montana State University and the people of Montana by providing access to information and knowledge.” By supporting preservation of digital collections, this policy supports the ongoing pursuit of MSU Library’s mission. This policy also aligns with the MSU Library’s Collection Development Policy for Digital Collections and Special Collections and the MSU ScholarWorks preservation policy.

3. Attributes and Responsibilities

This policy follows digital preservation standards as defined in OCLC’s Trusted Digital Repositories: Attributes and Responsibilities. Accordingly, the attributes of a trusted digital repository are:

  • Adherence to community standards. Follow the best practices defined by the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) Reference Model.
  • Administrative responsibility. Accept responsibility for the long-term maintenance of digital resources on behalf of its depositors and for the benefit of current and future users.
  • Organizational viability. Establish an organizational system that supports not only long-term viability of the repository, but also the digital information for which it has responsibility.
  • Financial sustainability. Demonstrate fiscal responsibility and sustainability.
  • Technological and procedural suitability. Develop policies, practices, and performance that can be audited and measured.
  • Systems security. Ensure the ongoing management, access, and security of materials deposited within it.
  • Procedural accountability. Dependably carry out its long-term responsibilities to depositors and users openly and explicitly.

4. Preservation Objectives

The primary purpose of digital preservation at MSU Library is to (1) preserve digital content representing intellectual and cultural heritage important to MSU, and (2) to ensure that this digital content is authentic, accessible, meaningful, and usable. These objectives are met using the following strategies (adapted from Ohio State University):

  • Protect MSU Library’s digital assets through a fully-implemented digital preservation program.
  • Identify digital content to be preserved across new generations of technologies. MSU Library uses a tiered prioritization model to conduct systematic appraisal and selection for digital preservation (See Digital Preservation Procedures, Appendix D)
  • Preserve the bit-level data representing the Library’s digital assets, and maintain access to the intended contextual and intellectual meaning of those digital assets.
  • Ensure that digital preservation strategies are financially sustainable through means such as collaboration through the TRAILS partnership; shared responsibilities between library departments; and automation of human-intensive efforts when possible.
  • Comply with prevailing community standards for digital preservation and access, and continually expand and develop digital preservation methods.

5. Content overseen by this policy

For a detailed identification of all digital content at the MSU Library, see Digital Preservation Procedures, Appendix A.

Born-digital content in Archives and Special Collections. Born-digital materials acquired from individuals and organizations within archival collections and special collections.

Acoustic Atlas. Born-digital sound recordings acquired from researchers, primarily Jeff Rice.

Digitized content. Digital content created through digitization of analog materials by the Digital Production team.

ScholarWorks content. Open Access scholarly work created primarily by MSU faculty and graduate students.

6. Procedural Accountability

This policy demonstrates MSU Library's commitment to creating transparent and accessible policies and procedures for digital preservation. Digital preservation policy and practice are led by Archives and Special Collections, with collaboration from the Digital Library Initiatives department, and with support from the TRAILS Digital Preservation Committee.