Digital Preservation Policy


The organization charged with preservation and access to permanent electronic government records should issue its digital preservation policy in writing including the purpose, scope, accountability, and approach to the operational management and sustainability of trustworthy digital repositories.

The Archives/RM unit does not have a written digital preservation policy.

Move Up to Level 1:

Analyze existing policies and mandates that relate to government records preservation and access. Review digital preservation policies from other archival institutions. Establish a working group with staff and stakeholders to draft a digital preservation policy.

The Archives/RM unit has a digital preservation policy in development, but it has not yet been approved or issued.

Move Up to Level 2:

Circulate a draft policy on how the state/territory Archives approaches preservation for permanent government records. Circulate the policy for feedback and advance it through a formal review, approval, and issuance process. Distribute widely to internal and external stakeholders. Schedule engagement and education sessions to explain the scope, purpose and approach described in the policy for establishing and sustaining digital repositories for permanent electronic government records.

The Archives/RM unit has issued a digital preservation policy and it is widely disseminated to stakeholders.

Move Up to Level 3:

Assess how well the Archives can implement its digital preservation policy. Gather feedback on policy implementation from stakeholders, and document areas for improvement, engagement, education, and funding.

The Archives/RM unit periodically conducts a self-assessment and reports its adherence to its digital preservation policy.

Move Up to Level 4:

Measure and report on conformance to the digital preservation policy. Conduct an environmental scan to determine if any new or pending legislation, regulations, standards, good practices, or other drivers necessitate an update.

The Archives/RM unit reviews and updates the digital preservation policy at least every two years.

Sustain Level 4:

Review the Archives’ digital preservation policy on a regular basis to determine if the requirements and approaches remain applicable and aligned to current business needs and circumstances. The frequency of review should be stated in the policy.


Policies define responsibilities and accountabilities of units and individuals, address access restrictions and privileges, and help protect the security of government records. Policies should make clear the priorities and limitations of your archival institution’s mission to stakeholders.

A digital preservation policy sometimes takes the form of a framework document which lays out key policy elements. One proven approach is to work on one element at a time until the entire framework is built out.

Existing guidance documents that address specific aspects or activities of government records such as retention, transfer, accession, description, and preservation are all good places to get started.