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Program Digital Collections Management Compendium

Maintenance of Original Formats

This guidance clarifies the Library's approach to maintaining digital collections file formats upon ingest as received.

The Library’s policy is to manage and maintain an authentic and accurate copy of digital content in the form originally received by the Library. Acquisitions are informed by collections policy statements and ideally the acquired digital content is composed of formats identified as either Preferred or Acceptable in the Recommended Formats Statement.

In some cases, the Library will take appropriate preservation actions, such as the modification of digital content during processing or format transformation after materials arrive at the Library. Ideally, once content is moved into inventoried storage, only appropriate preservation actions are taken to repair content or migrate formats. In certain cases, however, content may be stored in long-term preservation storage before it is processed or made available. For example, the Library may receive multiple donations over time or embargo content according to donor agreements, resulting in time periods when content may be stored in an unprocessed state. In many cases, internal Digital Content Managers act as format specialists who inform digital preservation planning, who may be consulted prior to the acquisition of digital content that may require format transformation during maintenance over time.

Digital surrogates created by or for the Library (i.e., "digitized content") to provide access to permanent collections or for preservation reformatting purposes should be created according to the Library's specifications.