Improving library and archive preservation management
- Developing policy and strategy for physical and digital preservation of information archives
Preservation management research has contributed to improvements in international and national policy and practice for the preservation of materials and data in libraries and other information collections.
Research into preservation practices at UK libraries, initiated in 1994, identified good practice and significant gaps in understanding among funding bodies and senior professional leaders.
This led to a greater understanding and recognition of UK national needs in preservation management and ultimately led to the introduction of evidence-based international and national policies and practice.
The first comprehensive research into disaster management in British libraries was also undertaken. Libraries and a range of non-library stakeholders were consulted including fire service personnel, local authority emergency managers, insurers, and disaster recovery company experts.
This work identified a number of issues and the key findings were incorporated into guidelines for policy and practice.
With the evolution of digital publishing, a reconsideration of legal deposit arrangements and long-term preservation of – and access to – digital materials was required.
Issues relating to copyright were found to pose a barrier to preservation and led to a major project with libraries and publishers to research international copyright issues in digital preservation.
IMPROVING POLICY AND PRACTICE
Several organisations – including the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions – incorporated the outcomes of the research into their policy statements and guidelines.
A Preservation Needs Assessment tool developed by the research team has been applied in libraries and archives throughout the UK.
Now, 62% of UK libraries and archives have disaster management plans – an increase from 30% in 1996. The research has also been used by English Heritage in their training programmes.
In 2012, the UK government formally indicated its intention to update current preservation exceptions to facilitate digital preservation.
The results of a scoping and feasibility study were used by Edinburgh University Data Library in the development of the Piloting an E-journals Preservation Registry Service which is now successfully operating.