Role of Long Term Storage in Digital Collections: From Digital Dark Ages to Digital Renaissance

Store - How should digital content be stored for the long term?

Vicki Gruzynski- Organizer/Presenter Laura Osterhout- Rochester Regional Library Council Erin Rhodes- Colby College, Special Collections

Presentation Slides and handouts


  • Webinar will help:
    1. Provide a better understanding of storage requirements
    2. Provide a better understanding of useable metadata for long term storage


What are storage needs

  • Manage content (files + metadata=objects) as objects
  • Includes any type of content (images, text etc.)
  • Need at least 2 copies of objects in at least two locations

Well managed collections

  • Basic information for each deposit
  • Minimal metadata for objects
  • Common (or normalized) file formats
  • Controlled and known storage of content
  • Multiple copies

Importance of Metadata

  • How do you know what the object is?
    • Metadata identifies the objects
  • How do you use the content in the future?
    • Metadata makes the objects understandable
  • How do you know the object is authentic
    • Metadata will allow you to trace the object over time
    • Metadata= Long term preservation

Object level metadata

  • PREMIS metadata=Preservation metadata=Administrative (Management), Structural (Understandable and useable) and Descriptive (findable and useable)
    • Content (What it is)
    • Fixity (Has the object changed)
    • Provenance (Audit trail, chain of custody)
    • Reference (Identified as this content)
    • Context- Preserve linkages with other objects

Number of copies

  • Minimum 2
  • Optimum 6
  • Example: Video files are too large to store 6 copies, possible legal restrictions on storage and locations

Storage Media Options

  • Content (objects) are kept on storage media
  • Options include: online (networked PC), near-line (external hard drive), offline (DVD)
  • Factors for choosing options include:
    • Cost: available resources for preservation
    • Quantity:  Number and size of files
    • Expertise: skills required to manage
    • Partners: archiving geographic distribution
    • Services: Outsourcing

Storage Considerations

  • Multiple, geographically distributed copies
  • Storage partners
  • Hosted services such as DURACLOUD