It is important for managers as well as those designing programmes to know the responsibilities, functions and characteristics of comprehensive and reliable digital preservation programmes.
Preservation programmes have certain responsibilities and functions that have been defined, at least at a conceptual level. Comprehensive programmes must take control of appropriate digital materials and ensure they remain understandable and usable as authentic copies. This generally involves taking the materials, properly prepared, along with associated documentation or metadata, into an archival digital storage system of some kind, where they can be managed to deal with the threats of data loss and technological change. The characteristics or attributes of programmes that can be relied upon to deliver ongoing digital preservation have also been described, in terms of responsibility, viability, sustainability, technical suitability, security, and accountability.
Preservation programmes that aim to be comprehensive are responsible for:
- Negotiating for and accepting appropriate digital materials from producers
- Controlling the material sufficiently to support its long term preservation
- Working out for whom the material is being kept and who will need to be able to understand it
- Ensuring that the material will remain understandable to this defined community of expected users
- Ensuring that the material is protected against all likely threats, and enabling the material to be accessed and its authenticity trusted
- Making the preserved material available to the designated community of users as appropriate
- Advocating good practice in the creation of digital resources.