Score Model Digital Sustainability

Digital sustainability is a concern for any organisation investing time and money in preserving digital files. But digital files are vulnerable: hardware ages, errors can be made when copying files and file formats can become unreadable in the future. On top of that there is always the possibility that the integrity of digital files is affected as a result of human errors.

PACKED vzw, centre of expertise in digital heritage (Belgium) and DEN, foundation Digital Heritage Netherlands have developped a score model that helps you escape from the digital minefield. It helps you to map the possible risks and threats that may occur when using and storing digital information. The result will be a report that brings out the strong and weaker points of the way you have organised your digital information. Recommendations in order to minimise both the risks and threats are provided where possible.

The possible risks and threats are grouped in seven clusters:
1. Organisation and policy: does the preservation of digital files fit the structure and policy of your organisation?
2. Preservation strategy: has a system been set up to register correctly what is being preserved, for whom and how? Expertise and organisation: is the right expertise present in your institution and is it put to good use?
3. Expertise and organisation: is the right expertise present in your institution and is it put to good use?
4. Storage management: are the digital files stored in a reliable place?
5. Ingest: are the right measures taken whenever a digital object is ingested into your storage system? Has any kind of procedure been developed for ingesting digital objects into your storage system?
6. Planning and control: is the management well prepared? Is it possible to retrace all the actions that are and have been taken?
7. Access: is access to the digital files properly regulated?

It is important to address the risks and threats in a systematic way. First start for each cluster with trying to get out of the ‘red zone’. Often major threats can already be eliminated by taking some targeted measures. In a next phase some less urgent measures can be taken. This way, the safeguarding of your digital repository will grow systematically until an acceptable level of security is achieved.

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