Will your research assets survive the ravages of time, redundancy, mismanagement and decay? Planning for digital preservation within higher education institutions
This paper presents a content analysis of a selection of existing literature about digital preservation policies. The researcher examined the digital preservation policies that are currently being implemented by four representative institutions on four different continents and arrived at specific conclusions. The institutions reviewed in this paper are Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Asia); University of Texas Library (United States of America); National Library of Australia (Australia); UK Data Archive, University of Essex (United Kingdom). Although the survey was undertaken in April and May 2010, the primary purpose of the content analysis was to provide a rational basis for a sound digital preservation policy for the institutional repository of the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. The paper defines digital preservation, examines the rationale behind digital preservation policies, elucidates issues that need to be resolved before long-term access to digital research objects within higher education institutions can be guaranteed. It also describes all the essential elements that need to be included in a digital preservation policy. The researcher illuminated the digital preservation policies of the abovementioned institutions by comparing them with the requirements that have been documented by the PARS working group. The paper concludes with recommendations about which elements should receive particular attention when a digital preservation policy is constructed for the use of institutional digital repositories.