Digital preservation can be seen as a monumental endeavor, but implementing even basic steps that position your organization in a better place for continued digital preservation into the future will no doubt benefit the legacy of your materials and the shared history represented in public broadcasting archives. This questionnaire aims to help others transform the “want” of ideal things and positive energy into a multi-year plan, action items, and deliverables.
Answers to following questions are helpful when considering a long-term digital preservation plan.
State of the Archives
What is the estimated physical and digital storage of your holdings?
How complete is your inventory (percentage)?
Does your inventory document the storage location of each item?
What percentage of your inventory do you have rights to share (percentage)?
Do you have a defined scope or collection development policy for archival materials? I.e. what are you keeping? Why? For how long? Do any materials require an embargo?
Are any of your physical items at risk?
Do you have a plan for prioritizing your work? If not, create one.
Do you have a digital preservation plan? If not, create one.
Do you have a dedicated, secure, backed-up storage?
What are you (and your stakeholders) willing to do?
(From the cost of inaction calculator) If all your materials were in a natural disaster today, would you do everything you could to save your collection? Would I raise funds to rescue the collection? How much would I do or spend before I thought it was too much? Would I be inspired/shamed by the passion of others to save my collection?
Where are your items currently?
Because of the distributed nature of archival collections, items you produced may already be represented in other archival collections. Search for your institution name or archival collections in 1) ArchiveGrid.org, 2) americanarchive.org, 3) archive.org.
Scope of your project and future sustainability
What do you want to do?
Does your organization have or is planning on supporting a salaried archivist in the permanent annual budget?
What amount of staff will work with archives and preservation work (i.e. 1.5 FTE, .25 FTE)? Knowing the commitment of regular hours is required to know the scope and size of project possible.
Will your archives project have support from the organization’s information technology department?
Does the person charged with archives and preservation have the time, knowledge, or professional network resources to lead this initiative or will you need to hire additional consultants with specialized skills and knowledge?
Make a list of all potential partnerships that can be cultivated to support this project. For example, local historical societies, university library and archives, film societies, local broadcasting organizations. Trustworthy archives repositories are a good option for archival collections that cannot be maintained in their entirety by a public broadcasting station. Learn about archives in your area by searching ArchiveGrid: https://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/ Consider reaching out to repositories that hold portions of your content to form a partnership plan to preserve additional archival items.
Where in the institutional priorities is archives and preservation placed? I.e. can you make a plan for one stage of digital preservation, fund it, and implement it next year? 2 or 3 years from now?
Is writing your own archives-specific grants an option? Review some grant options (wiki reference)
If digitization is part of your plan, how will digitization money be secured?