2013 – 2015

2013 – 2015 Preservation Tips

In honor of Preservation Week and the 30th Anniversary of the Preservation Standing Committee, the Committee introduced a monthly feature, the “Preservation Tip of the Month,” in April 2013. The monthly tip, sent as an e-mail via the TS-SIS discussion list, highlights tricks, resources, and collections to help you reach your preservation goals.



Is your library looking ahead to a couple weeks of quieter hours as the end of the year approaches? With lower patron traffic, it could be a great time to head into the stacks to make progress on physical preservation needs.

This month, the Preservation Committee highlights the Northeast Document Conservation Center’s excellent Preservation Leaflets. If end-of-year re-filing or shelf-reading projects are in the works, why not also incorporate some cleaning of books and shelves, or assess your current storage methods and handling practices?


Is your institution interested in Web Archiving? Are you trying to decide what parts of your website warrant preservation and which parts don’t? Have you already developed policies that you’d like to share with the greater community?

This month the Preservation Committee is highlighting a resource in progress, a community spreadsheet created to provide a centralized location for publicly available web archiving policies. This list was initially shared via the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Web Archiving Roundtable email list, but is now publicly available in Google Sheets and open for anyone to add additional policies.


Has your library considered crowdsourcing as a way to expand description and access to your digitized archives or historic collections? Do you need some help determining its feasibility?

This month the Preservation Committee is highlighting a recent blog on the topic of crowdsourcing. While at face value this may not seem like a preservation tool, it is important to remember that access is an essential component of what we do in libraries and creating access to digitized versions of items not only validates the conversion process, but preserves the integrity of the original while reaching a wider audience. Creating more detailed and interlinked descriptions of the items in our collections also helps to collectively preserve the history of our institutions.

In the blog Cultural Institutions Embrace Crowdsourcing not only are examples of successful crowdsourcing projects in libraries given, but there are a wide variety of activities that allow for volunteer participation – some of them even include games! Tagging items with descriptive metadata and transcription are two of the biggest uses for crowdsourcing, however, activities such as correcting OCR or subtitling videos, adding geospatial coordinates, and cross-referencing data are also important tasks that can be accomplished by users across the web. If you are not sure how to implement a crowdsourcing project keep an open mind and check out what other institutions are doing.


Is your institution prepared for a disaster, natural or otherwise? While we hope that this year presents a quiet hurricane season, the Preservation Committee would like to share an article on 6 disaster recovery do’s and don’ts from Hurricane Katrina survivors. As important as our analog materials are, hopefully we all have a stable plan for protecting those materials already in place. This article focuses more on protecting digital assets and provides insight from those that had to learn the hard way.


This month the Preservation Committee highlights the updated Library of Congress Recommended Formats Statement. This is an update to the Recommended Format Specifications that were first published last summer. Please note, that due to the dynamic nature of digital formats these standards will continue to be updated on an annual basis and the period for comment for next year’s revisions will open soon. A brief synopsis of the changes appears in The Signal.

JULY 2015

Are you working on digital projects this summer? Do you need some guidance in digitization, best practices, standards, or metadata? To assist with those new and ongoing digital projects, the Preservation Committee highlights a collection of Digital Preservation Links. Julie C. Swierczek has amassed an impressive collection of documents related to the specifics of digitization and preservation of digital objects, as well as more general resources for archives in general. If you’re working with digital objects of any type, this is a good resource to utilize to assist in answer questions as they arise.

JUNE 2015

This month the Preservation Committee highlights a blog that really lets someone else do the work in collecting information about digital preservation/archiving/curation and long-term access to digital materials. Chris Erickson has developed the blog Digital Preservation Matters. Whether you sign up for the feed or just check the site occasionally it is a treasure trove of information on these topics. Any given month will show a variety of studies, scholarly articles and news articles on digital preservation topics throughout the globe that he has collected in one convenient location.

MAY 2015

As the summers months arrive and the potential for natural disasters such as tornados, hurricanes, or wildfires increases, it’s a good time to make sure your institution has a disaster plan in place. If you do have a plan in place, it’s a great time to review it to make sure policies and procedures are up to date. And whether your plan is current or not, it’s also a great time to review procedures, or even run some drills, with your potential staff. If you don’t know where to get started, check out the Society of American Archivists’ MayDay activities. These activities can be performed throughout the year to make sure that staff and collections stay safe in the event of the unpredictable. You can also look at these templates and examples if you need a starting place for developing a disaster plan.

APRIL 2015

Are you working to develop a Digital Preservation Solution? Do you know what questions you should be asking of potential solutions? This month we highlight a list of potential questions to ask when you are considering short and/or long-term digital preservation solutions and the financial impact it will have on your institution. Cost is a big factor when it comes to preservation. Digital materials differ from analog materials in that all materials in a digital environment will have ongoing costs associated with their long-term preservation. To help assess and manage the costs of digital preservation and the solutions that ensure future access to digital content, the MetaArchive Cooperative has developed Getting to the Bottom Line: 20 Cost Questions for Digital Preservation. For more than a decade the MetaArchive Cooperative has worked with a variety of institutions to answer or respond to many of the questions on this list. They now offer the list as an open resource to all to assist in the decision-making process for digital preservation solutions.

MARCH 2015

This month’s preservation tip is a survey seeking to identify Law Library Archivists. The TS-SIS Preservation Committee is conducting this survey with the goal of developing a directory of Law Library Archivists from across the country. Our goal is to provide this resource to the community in the coming months and we have already seen an enthusiastic response. However, we know there are many of you that we have not heard from that have an archival component to your job, even if your title is not that of an archivist. If you would like to be included in the directory, please take a few minutes to complete the survey.


The preservation tip this month highlights an educational opportunity. On Friday, February 6, 2015 the Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA) hosted the webinar Digitization Is Possible: Identifying & Overcoming Barriers. The webinar focused on three topic areas: collection development, digitization, and digital asset management. Participants were polled about their perceptions of the most significant barriers in each topic category and the results steered the discussion. The webinar concluded with the development of a specific tool kit to overcome the barriers represented by attendees. Watch the webinar (1 hour, 2 minutes) and download the associated tool kit and documents.


This month’s resource is useful for those venturing into multimedia reformatting. Our institutions have gained experience and confidence in digitizing paper materials and with that, our goals have migrated to converting various types of multimedia. Digitizing photos presents its own challenges, but one can easily be overwhelmed when it comes to reformatting audio and video files. This is in part because there are fewer standards and resources available to those performing multimedia conversions in comparison to those digitizing books, manuscripts, and other written texts. In many cases doing something is better than nothing so that original media does not degrade beyond the point where it can be accessed. However, we all feel a little better about these conversions when there is some sort of consensus that we are using the correct formats, codecs, metadata, etc. To help guide decisions, the Still Image Working Group and Audio-Video Working Group of the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative (FADGI) have developed guidelines for using specific processes, methodologies, and/or metrics when working with a variety of multimedia. The members of these working groups are from federal agencies that share a common goal of developing a unified approach to digitizing historical content. The development of guidelines began in 2007, with the first approved by the working groups in 2009; several are still under review. See the FADGI standards.



The Northeast Document Center’s Digital Preservation Reading List (77 KB PDF) is highlighted this month by the Preservation Committee. If you are having trouble developing a digital preservation plan, or just understanding the terminology surrounding digital preservation, this annotated bibliography should point you in the direction of resources that address your concerns. The bibliography is divided into sections that discuss strategies, frameworks, file formats, metadata, and curation. Additionally, the resources it contains also take a look at some of the ambiguous terminology encountered when working with digital documents and resources.


This month the Preservation Committee is highlighting the Library Digitization Cost Calculator (beta version). Staff at Duke University are developing this tool to assist libraries as they prepare to digitize content. The calculator is based on data from several institutions and can be used to estimate the cost of digitization at your institution. Learn more about the data sources at the Notes on Data tab. Since the project is currently in BETA, you can contribute data and additional suggestions through the Feedback/Data Submission tab.


The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) is developing a bibliography of preservation standards and best practices. While this site is still under development, it does contain a variety of guides for different formats, including digital preservation and audiovisual preservation, as well as guides for disaster preparedness. Once you navigate into the site you have the option to browse by topic or organization. This site is a Zotero group, so Zotero users can add this page to their list.


This month the Preservation Committee highlights the Library of Congress’ Recommended Format Specifications. The Library of Congress identified six broad areas of creative works, and then further segmented the broad categories. They were able to narrow down the broad categories to specific recommendations and provide a framework that allows for the future accessibility of these items. This list of specifications was created to meet the needs for internal use at the Library of Congress, but also to function as an outreach tool to the greater library community regarding long term preservation and access of both digital and analog materials. It is important to note that this is a fluid document and at present the Library of Congress plans to revisit it on an annual basis.

You can also read an interview with Ted Westervelt, who oversaw the development of the Recommended Format Specifications.


AVPreserve has developed a free Cost of Inaction Calculator to help analyze multimedia collections. The calculator assists in making more educated decisions about what to digitize, what to perform lower levels of preservation on, and what to leave in its native state. AVPreserve is a firm that works with institutions to help them “better manage, use, distribute, and preserve their media assets and metadata.” According to their site, the Cost of Inaction (COI) Calculator “helps organizations analyze the implications of varying levels of preservation action when dealing with legacy audiovisual collections. COI adds a data point to ROI, or Return on Investment, and helps articulate what stands to be lost or gained in terms of access, intellect and finances based on different scenarios around digitization, physical storage, digital storage, and media longevity.” A short video (8:41 minutes) helps explain the goals of the Cost of Inaction Calculator.

JULY 2014

The summer months cause many to start thinking about hurricane preparedness. It is also a good time to re-visit institutional Disaster Plans. Protecting resources from natural disasters, as well as how to implement recovery efforts for damaged collections are important aspects of a Disaster Plan. One sound resource is the Mid-Atlantic Resource Guide for Disaster Preparedness prepared in January 2013. This Guide provides contact information for national and regional organizations that can assist in preparing for or recovering from a natural disaster as well as supplies or equipment that should be made kept for recovery efforts.

Additional resources are available from the Library of Congress in the Emergency Preparedness, Response & Recovery section.

JUNE 2014

LYRASIS is sponsoring a Town Hall meeting about “How Practicing Professionals can get Hands-on Experience in Digital Curation” on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, from 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET. This is the final event in a series of NEH-funded Preservation Town Halls and will focus on ways that practicing professionals can access training in a hands on environment. A series of three speakers will present on different educational and training opportunities. These presentations will be followed by a panel discussion about existing training models and educational gaps that been to be filled. While the event will take place at the Georgia Tech Learning Center in Atlanta, it will be webcast live for those who are unable to travel to the event. Register to attend online.

MAY 2014

The Preservation Health Check Pilot sponsored by OCLC Research and the Open Planets Foundation seeks to demonstrate the value of preservation metadata and methods of improving preservation metadata through the publication of interim reports. The links provide a full description of the project and access to the resulting reports.


To celebrate Preservation Week, the TS-SIS Preservation Committee and Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA) have gathered preservation stories to share via the LIPA blog.

  • The Personal Digital Archiving 2014 conference was co-sponsored by the Library of Congress, the Indiana State Library and Indiana State University Library, in collaboration with the Coalition for Networked Information. The conference explored the intersection between individuals, public institutions, and private companies engaged in the creation, preservation, and ongoing use of the digital records of our daily lives. Margie Maes had an opportunity to attend and shares her experience in Personal Digital Archiving Resources.
  • Indiana University Maurer School of Law Library has been loading digital content into a Digital Commons (BePress) institutional repository over the last few years. Our primary purpose of the site was to collect, preserve, and disseminate the intellectual output of our law school. Having created procedures which result in quickly loading current “intellectual output” into the repository, the staff began thinking about what sort of older output could be loaded. This year the repository has been expanded to include a variety of historic documents related to the law school. Indiana’s process is outlined in Expanding the Past: Indiana’s Digital Collection of Historic Documents.
  • A new job at the Supreme Court of the United States turns into a series of disasters, leading to an understanding of how a library disaster plays out in real time and the importance of a disaster response plan. Get the details in My Disastrous New Job!
  • Louisiana State University (LSU) Law Library looks at all that has been accomplished since June 2013 when the library hired its first full time archivist to oversee the rare books and archives collections. The archivist’s first priority was gaining physical control of the collections. Read the rest of the story in A Year of Preservation Progress.
  • A severe storm on Graduation Day 2013 caused a leak in the West Virginia University College of Law Library storage area. Stewart Pleiin shares a disaster recovery success story in The Graduation Day Leak: Mitigation/Preservation/Conservation Efforts.

APRIL 2014

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the Preservation Tip of the Month and the celebration of Preservation Week from April 27-May 3. So, the tip this month focuses on tools for celebrating Preservation Week.

This handout from ALCTS gives easy and low-cost ways to highlight preservation in your library. These ideas are a great way to do just one thing in your library to help promote the preservation of your materials for the future.

ALA’s Toolkit will help you plan and promote Preservation Week events at your library.

Checkout posts on LIPA’s blog to see what other law libraries have done in the past to celebrate Preservation Week.

To share your preservation stories and experiences from this year’s Preservation Week, contact Margie Maes (LIPA Executive Director, mkmaes@gmail.com) or Lauren Seney (TS-SIS Preservation Committee Chair, lpsene@wm.edu).

MARCH 2014

The Library of Congress has an extensive preservation section on its website. The Care, Handling, and Storage of Books page provides general guidelines for anyone using the materials in your collection. It also provides links to resources for identifying the proper supplies to preserve damaged materials and a Selected Bibliography for the Care of Books.


The Digital Preservation entry in Wikipedia is a well organized page that serves as a solid resource for digital preservation standards and best practices. The content has been developed by NDSA’s Standards and Practices Working Group (see this post for more details). In addition to a very detailed entry on the topic, the page provides a wealth of external resources for those looking to learn more about a specific aspect of digital preservation.


Two recent publications are highlighted this month.

In 2012 the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) performed a survey of institutions with digital preservation mandates to investigate how they were meeting staffing needs. The results of this survey were published in December 2013 as Staffing for Effective Digital Preservation: An NDSA Report (1.8 MB PDF). Check out the report to see the trends in digital preservation and the personnel needed to perform these important tasks.

The Preservation Committee would also like to draw your attention to an article in this month’s Technical Services Quarterly that will hopefully motivate us to develop sustainable, and in many cases very cost-effective, preservation policies. The article is:

Ashley Jones (2014) “Sustainability in Library Preservation,” Technical Services Quarterly, 31:1, 31-43, DOI: 10.1080/07317131.2014.844631

Abstract: Many in the library world are embracing sustainability initiatives in an effort to better serve our communities and planet. In this article the author explores the need to integrate preservation within the broader approach to library sustainability, as well as the challenges presented by sustainable preservation practices. The author addresses concerns including reducing the amount of waste produced, recycling options, and availability of environmentally friendly supplies through the presentation of a case study. In addition, the article further explores the complexities of sustainable preservation by promoting continued discussion on finding the balance between accepted preservation best practices and emerging trends in sustainable solutions.4



One of the challenges of the digital world is how to best preserve materials in an ever-changing environment. A tool to help make decisions about the best format to preserve materials that lack a physical component is the Library of Congress’ plan for the Sustainability of Digital Formats. This site analyzes the technical aspects of digital formats and provides resources to help you determine the stability of a given format. It also provides descriptions of a variety of digital formats as well as links out to additional resources about related topics. The site will continue to evolve as formats evolve and/or disappear.


Preservation Underground is a blog, produced by the Preservation and Conservation Services Departments at Duke University Libraries, that highlights some of the preventative treatment and care that is given the library’s collections. Blog entries cover topics from conservation techniques to hurricane preparation and often include helpful videos and photographs.


The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources’ Digital Preservation Best Practices and Guidelines is geared toward NC state employees, but it provides solid guidelines for users all over the country. The website includes: Electronic Record Management Policies and Guidelines by State, best practices for the preservation of digital documents and files, and additional information that provides links to digital preservation resources, tutorials, webinars, and blogs.


The September highlight is an outreach tool of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA). The goal of the NDSA “is to establish, maintain, and advance the capacity to preserve our nation’s digital resources for the benefit of present and future generations.”

NDSA has developed Digital Preservation in a Box, a toolkit that introduces digital preservation to a broad audience of users. The toolkit offers a variety of resources that include links to preservation glossaries, resources for preserving materials in multiple formats, and information on digital storage options.


This month’s highlight the AALL webinar “Principles and Practices for Digital Preservation” scheduled for Thursday, August 29, 2013, from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. CST. The cost is just $30 for AALL members (with rates for non-members and site registration available). If you haven’t already done so, you can register until August 26.

Additional information about the webinar: Digital preservation deserves significant attention in this information age. Digital materials have a shorter lifespan and are more fragile than paper-based resources. Please join Fang Wang, Reference and Special Collection Services Librarian at St. Mary’s University School of Law and certified Digital Preservation Outreach and Education Trainer on Thursday, August 29 at 11 a.m. central as she outlines six principles and practices for preserving digital materials. Learn answers to questions about preserving legal information in the digital format, steps to protect your digital content and provisions for long term access and management. Program participants will learn:

  • Digital preservation basics in law libraries
  • Principles and practices of digital preservation
  • Learn how digital content should be stored for long term access

This webinar is sponsored by the American Association of Law Libraries and the Legal Information Preservation Alliance.

JULY 2013

A new resource has been added to the TS Website: Preservation Staff Awareness Guide. This guide provides resources for every library department to encourage the preservation of library materials. It also provides general tips and preservation education resources.

JUNE 2013

Tessella are world leaders in digital preservation solutions, technology, consulting and research. Customers in nine countries across three continents rely on its on-premise solution, a technology called Safety Deposit Box (SDB), to preserve their digital information. Visit the Tesella website.

Preservica is based on the advanced SDB technology in use at leading national archives and libraries and runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS), making the same level of digital preservation service available to businesses, organizations, and memory institutions that need to protect their digital wealth without incurring all the human and capital costs. Learn more about Preservica and watch a product walk through.

MAY 2013

The Preservation Standing Committee is highlighting an example of how you can promote preservation in your library. The University of Oregon Law Library celebrated National Preservation Week by creating an exhibit called “Partners in Preservation: Caring for Our Collection.” The exhibit, pictured below, highlights preservation services by providing photographs of preservation and processing techniques for sustainable access to materials and tips for preserving library and personal collections. It remained on display until July 2013.

APRIL 2013

This month we are highlighting the resources available on the TS-SIS website. Check out the Preservation Resources page for guidelines, tips, organizations, vendors, and digital preservation resources.