Digital Preservation Program

Digital Preservation Policy


The purpose of the Southern Methodist University Libraries Digital Preservation Policy is to provide guidance on the preservation of digital materials managed by or donated to Southern Methodist Libraries. This policy ensures Southern Methodist Libraries’ commitment to the authenticity, reliability, and long-term accessibility of our digital materials. This commitment will allow Southern Methodist Libraries to collect a wide range of diverse and unique material now and into the future which will benefit students, faculty, and researchers from around the world.


This document addresses the preservation of digital materials belonging to the Southern Methodist University Libraries and units within its organization. Southern Methodist University Libraries does not accept the responsibility of preserving materials for which it is not the primary custodian. Southern Methodist University Libraries will work with other university units to help educate and promote digital preservation best practices and standards.

Risk Assessment

Southern Methodist University Libraries’ digital holdings are currently at various levels of risk (low to high depending on the nature of the material) because the libraries are in the early stages of developing a digital preservation strategy. Southern Methodist University Libraries have collections with a wide range of formats, some of which have become obsolete and lack adequate storage options, and the libraries do not currently have a workflow to capture important technical and preservation metadata.


The objective of the Southern Methodist University Libraries Digital Preservation program is to provide long-term access and integrity to digital and born-digital material under its purview though the use of current library resources and the acquisition of new and emerging technology. 


The Southern Methodist University Libraries digital preservation program will adhere to the following principles:

  • Comply with the Open Archival Information System (OAIS) reference model.
  • Adopt the requirements for the Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification to the best of its abilities.
  • Develop guidelines and procedures for the entire lifecycle of digitized and born-digital material (i.e., creation, selection, ingestion, preservation, storage, and access and use).
  • Follow the goal of providing long-term access to digitized and born-digital material through the digital preservation program.
  • Use necessary tools and techniques to ensure the integrity of digitized and born-digital material. Material will be unaltered and original metadata will be properly captured and maintained.
  • Plan and implement guidelines and procedures, as well as acquire and manage resources that support the sustainability of the digital preservation program.
  • Communicate regularly with library and campus stakeholders about the digital preservation program and seek input for its continual improvement.


  • Technology is ever evolving and the Southern Methodist University Libraries will have to keep pace with changes and new developments with regard to the digital preservation program.
  • Staffing, equipment, storage, and training will be needed throughout the life of the digital preservation program.
  • Obsolescence of technology will impact access to some material held by Southern Methodist University Libraries.
  • Digital and born-digital material will exist in a wide variety of formats. Each format type will come with its own complications and software and hardware needs.

Roles and Responsibilities

Southern Methodist University Libraries accept responsibility for preserving its digital and born-digital material. The Digital Preservation Librarian will coordinate with the Norwick Center for Digital Solutions and the Digital Preservation Advisory Group in the creation of policies and procedures for the digital preservation program. All high-level polices will be evaluated by the management team of Southern Methodist University Libraries.

Evaluation and Updating

The Digital Preservation Policy will be reviewed and updated at least annually by curatorial staff with assistance from OIT and advisory staff.
Copies of this policy will be available on the website and SharePoint.

Source Materials

“NEDCC Digital Preservation Policy Template,” Northeast Document Conservation Center

"Digital Preservation Policy," Woodson Research Center, Rice University

 “Digital Preservation Policy,” Dartmouth College Library

“PURR Digital Preservation Policy,” Purdue University Research Repository

 “North Carolina Digital Preservation Policy,” North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources

“UNT Libraries’ Digital Preservation Policy Framework,” UNT University Libraries


Click here for the Policy in PDF.