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2022 DPCMM: History of the DPCMM

By Michelle Gallinger posted 10-19-2021 08:36 AM

by VeronicaMartzahl

Since 2011, the Council of State Archivists has made a targeted effort to assess and support state and territorial electronic records management and preservation programs through its State Electronic Records Initiative (SERI). A key tool in the assessment component of CoSA’s work is the Digital Preservation Capability Maturity Model (DPCMM). Developed by Lori Ashley and Charles Dollar, the DPCMM supports organizations charged with preservation of permanent electronic records to rate their current capabilities to support digital preservation in fifteen key areas. The DPCMM highlights that digital preservation is not just a technical challenge, but also involves policy, planning, and relationships with the people creating and accessing the records over time.


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CoSA originally administered  a self-assessment survey based on the DPCMM in late 2012 as part of their early SERI grant projects. The response rate was incredible with all 56 state and territorial archives and the District of Columbia participating. The results provided a baseline to assess digital preservation in state and governmental archives from which to grow. The tool was administered again in mid-2015 and showed growth in 77% of institutions. Not all the news was good with 9% of respondents maintaining the same score and 14% reporting a decrease.  

The results of the 2015 CoSA cohort Digital Preservation Capacity self-assessments are now six years old, and no one could have guessed the changes and challenges that state and territorial archives have faced in that time. New data is needed to see where our programs are, where they are going, and how CoSA can best support this work. As part of CoSA’s new IMLS grant, BACKER: Building Archival Capacity for Keeping Electronic Records, the DPC self-assessment survey will be administered in January 2022 and again in late 2023.  

To support survey takers in getting the best, most accurate and actionable information from the self-assessment effort, CoSA is launching a series of blog posts delving deep into the concepts, standards and questions covered by the survey. Stay tuned to this site over the next three months as we explore questions of policy and strategy, ISO 14721, the OAIS model, and other topics that will help make taking the state and territorial archives Digital Preservation Capability self-assessment a positive and useful experience.