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Electronic Records & Digital Preservation Management

The goal of this page is to present resources and background materials that can help your organization start to plan for, or further your digital preservation management program for electronic and born-digital records. Resources will be updated as new best practices are shared and scholarly publications are made available on this topic. If you know of additional resources or digital preservation links that should be added to this site, please contact the EAS Coordinator.        

Funding for research and development of this section of the Archivist's Toolkit was provided as part of a DHCP grant from the Government of Canada.

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Planning, Frameworks and Policy Development 


Digital Preservation Management workshop tutorial:

Digital Preservation Coalition Handbook: advice/handbook-2

Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)

Preserving Access to Digital Information (PADI), National Library of Australia

Checklist for Cloud Service Contracts, InterPARES Trust

Example policies:

Simon Fraser University Digital Preservation:

Scholars Portal Trusted Digital Repository planning:

Harvey, Ross. Digital Curation, A How-to-do-it Manual (review of book you can order)

Digital Preservation Metadata

Metadata should be captured which reflects the digital preservation actions which have taken place as well as technical metadata about the objects being preserved.


Preservation Metadata Implementation Standard (PREMIS):

Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS): 

Digital Preservation Actions

There are a number of discrete actions that may take place as part of digital preservation workflows. Below, tools and resources are broken down into the type of action taking place. There is an emphasis on free and open-source tools.

General Resources:

POWRR (Preserving Digital Objects With Restricted Resources):

COPTR (Community Owned digital Preservation Tool Registry): Main_Page

Checksums/fixity - Tools to create checksums:

* md5deep: 
* md5summer: 
* Built into various preservation systems/tools: Archivematica, Preservica, Bagger, DuraCloud, etc.

Tools to check checksums:
* Fixity: 
* Built into various tools/systems as above

Virus scanning - Tools to scan viruses:

* Clam AV:

Virus scanning is typically built into preservation systems.

File format identification - Tools to identify file formats:

*Format Identifier for Digital Objects (FIDO): 
*File Information Tool Set (FITS): 
(Bundles together many other tools and acts as a wrapper)


PRONOM, National Archives of the UK:

Library of Congress Format Description Documents:

File formats wiki:

Characterization/metadata extraction - Tools for metadata extraction/characterization:

*File Information Tool Set (FITS): 
*Metadata extraction tool: 

Validation - Tools for validation:



*DPF Manager: 

Normalization/migration - Tools for normalization/migration:



Preservation systems

There are a number of digital preservation systems that combine all or some of the preservation actions described above:

Open source:


Physical Preservation of Digital Carriers


Guidelines on the Production and Preservation of Digital Audio Objects International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives 

Determining Digital Preservation Costs and Staffing Needs 

Digital Preservation Business Case Toolkit - A comprehensive toolkit to help practitioners and middle managers build business cases to fund digital preservation activities. Created by the Jisc funded SPRUCE Project.

Staffing for Effective Digital Preservation - results of a Survey of Organizations Preserving Digital Content (Dec 2013)

Towards Developing a Framework of Cost Elements for Preserving Authentic Electronic Records into Perpetuity by Shelby Sanett (Sept 2002)

A Comparison Between Migration and Emulation in Terms of Costs - Erik Oltmans & Nanda Kol (April 2005)

Getting to the Bottom Line: 20 Cost Questions for Digital Preservation - the MetaArchive Cooperative

Cost of Inaction Calculator - digitization can be expensive...but what is the cost if you don't start? Developed by AVPreserve

Curation Costs Exchange - a community owned platform which helps organizations of any kind assess the costs of curation practices through comparison and analysis

E-journals, Podcasts and Blogs

D-Lib Magazine - a focus on digital library research and development, including new technologies, applications, and contextual social and economic issues

First Monday - a peer-reviewed journal about research on the Internet

Digital Preservation Coalition  (DPC)

The International Journal of Digital Curation

Library of Congress podcast series on digital preservation

Society of American Archivists #Try5SAA initiative to get you ready for digital practice


Presentations and Publications

  • Moments of Risk: Identifying Threats to Electronic Records by David Bearman. Archivaria 62 (Winter 2006): 15-46.
  • Managing the Long-term Preservation of Electronic Archives or Preserving the Medium and the Message by Jacques Grimard. Archivaria 59 (Winter 2005): 153-167.
  • Access to Information in a Digital World by Karen Adams and William Birdsall (eds.) (Ottawa: Canadian Library Association, 2004)
  • Preservation of the Integrity of Electronic Records by Luciana Duranti, Terence M. Eastwood and Heather MacNeil. (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002)
  • Managing Electronic Records, 2nd ed. by William Saffady. (Kansas: ARMA International, 1998) 

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The Archives Association of British Columbia acknowledges that it carries out its work on the land of Indigenous nations throughout British Columbia. We are grateful for the continuing relationships with Indigenous people in B.C. that develop through our work together.  

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