Introducing the Texas Levels of Preservation

By Courtney Mumma, Texas Digital Library Services Manager

Courtney Mumma introduced the Texas Levels of Preservation (TXLoP) at the Digital Library Frontier Forum in Pittsburgh, PA on October 24, 2017. TXLoP applies the NDSA levels of preservation framework at the state level to observe and magnify Texas institutions’ digital preservation efforts, and inspire them to work towards shared goals.

From the Hull History Centre: “The Levels of Preservation Framework was created by the National Digital Stewardship Alliance as a guide for institutions that are managing digital material. The framework breaks up the many various, and sometimes confusing, aspects of digital preservation into five easily understood functional areas: Storage, Integrity, Security, Metadata and File Formats. These areas can be graded into four levels of increasing preservation security, creating a visual reference grid that can be used as a checklist.”

Click to view in TDL’s archives

I applied the NDSA levels of preservation framework at the state level to observe and magnify Texas institutions’ digital preservation efforts and inspire them to work towards shared goals. To do so, I conducted interviews with 15 Texas Digital Library member institutions managing digital material.

Beyond the five accepted functional areas of Storage, Integrity, Security, Metadata and File Formats, I followed Hull University Archives’ example and included the two extra areas that have been proposed, Access (proposed by the Library of the University of California) and Physical Formats (by the United States Geological Survey). My poster illustrates where Texas institutions fall in the four level framework which I intend to use to guide collaborative efforts in Texas and to revisit annually. In the center of the image above, you can see areas of collaboration and resource sharing ranked from bottom to top to illustrate some suggested areas where Texas institutions can focus their energy to improve in functional areas that are not performing as well as something like Access. For example, improving File Fixity and Data Integrity could require adjusting workflows and preservation planning, and improving metadata might result from improved auditing and inventories.

The ability to be able to see at-a-glance how an institution is faring in its digital preservation efforts, and what should be our collective next set of goals, is an incredibly useful tool for distributing shared resources. TXLoP breaks down the sometimes confusing terms and stages of digital preservation into smaller points that are more easily manageable, making it much easier for institutions to begin focusing on areas of improvement through local work paired with collaboration and resource sharing. 

For information about digital preservation services with Texas Digital Library, please visit https://www.tdl.org/digital-preservation/ or email us at info@tdl.org.

FURTHER READING:

National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) Levels of Digital Preservation: http://ndsa.org/activities/levels-of-digital-preservation/

Library of Congress Expanding the NDSA Levels of Preservation: https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2016/04/expanding-ndsa-levels-of-preservation/

Hull History Centre Levels of Digital Preservation: http://hullhistorycentre.blogspot.ca/2017/03/ndsa-levels-of-digital-preservation.html

Digital Preservation Coalition Handbook for Preserving Legacy Media:

http://www.dpconline.org/events/handbook?start=25

US Geological Survey (USGS) Guide for Preserving Scientific Data: http://www.digitalpreservation.gov:8081/ndsa/working_groups/documents/USGS_Guidelines_for_the_Preservation_of_Digital_Scientific_Data_Final.pdf

USGS Levels of Archiving:

http://www.digitalpreservation.gov:8081/ndsa/working_groups/documents/NDSA_Levels_Archiving_2013.pdf

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